28 April 2011 | Atuona, Hiva Oa Island, Marquesas
Well, we’re here in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia. Paradise! Really.
The first thing that struck me was the smell of the land. A rich, heady, exotic, and fruit filled blast of land when we were about 5 miles out.
It seems everything that grows on these islands has some kind of exotic fruit hanging from it. There’s Mango’s in profusion, Papaya's, Guayaba, Peti, and a fruit called Noni that smells like urine and is used to treat cuts and scrapes.
Then there’s Durian that Yuka doesn’t like but I think if OK, just a little chewy, like fruity bubble gum, and breadfruit that these islands are so famous for. It’s a fruit, but with the consistency of a soft bread. It’s a staple here and when you pick it from the tree, it bleeds a sticky milk from the top.
Everywhere you look is tropical jungle and “lush” is a word totally lacking in potency to describe it. Especially after being at sea for so long. It overpowers the senses in the most uplifting way. I just want to sit and breath for awhile......
But I don’t because there’s so much to do. You might be tempted to think that living this life, with no one to answer to, no “job” to wake up for and no bills stacking up, that boredom is always just one step away. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and our lives have been chock full since we got here.
And almost all of it’s fun in a sweaty, and exotic kind of way. EVERYTHING you do, is sweaty. I mean, if you move, you sweat. And if there is no breeze, you sweat even if you’re as immobile as sitting monk in prayer.
So I decided to arrange the “jobs” I had to do, in an order so as to reduce the gallons of sweat I produced in a day to a manageable level. ANYTHING that involves any strenuous movements, is relegated to the 5am to 8am or the 7pm to 8pm shifts. Anything that has to happen in-between those times is interspersed with scrubbing the bottom as getting in the water is the one respite from the intense, humid, and relentless heat.
Just because this is my life right now, I started to give different jobs, different “quantities of sweat” ratings. It seems to help. For example, a walk into the main town at say 10am is about 3 liters. The same walk at noon, would get a rating of 5, for 5 liters of sweat of course. Filling the diesel tanks from the jerry cans, at 1pm, got a rating of .5 Gathering mangoes, 3pm, 1.2. Anything I have to do inside the boat after about 9am I simply double the rating. I actually lost 4 pounds just checking the oil level!
Other than leaking, and obviously going a little “balmy” because of it, we’ve made some incredible new friends and spend much of our time hanging out with them. We go on long walks and explore the islands, snorkel together, and get together on each other’s boats for drinks and dinners.
There seems to be one universal reason that people go cruising, and that’s to relax. I mean friggin get relaxed..... Shed the accumulated stresses of living in this day and age that have been building up for years.....
So everyone takes that into consideration. No one is running around trying to get everything done in a day. It’s definitely a slower pace of life, and I’m loving it.