Duck Hunting in French Polynesia
04 January 2021
One would think you need a gun to go duck hunting. Well, according to the French Polynesian Customs Agents, we have one on Uproar. We were boarded by customs agents almost two years ago in Tahiti. Five, courteous agents sat in our cockpit and asked for our documentation, entry papers and passports. All was in order, we are diligent about following our host country's rules.
The agent who spoke English asked if we had a flare gun. “Yes, we do.” There were anxious looks, “Please show it to us.” I produced our trusty flare gun and cartridges.
He said, “This is a gun, why didn't you declare it on your entry papers?” I replied, “No, it is a signaling device for emergencies, not a gun. If it was a gun, I would have declared it.” This went forth and back for awhile. Then he made a cell phone call. I could understand much of it, “Oui, plastic. Oui, orange.”
He hung up with a sigh of relief. “If you add that you have a signaling gun to your entry papers, it will be OK this time.” I added it and we both initialed it. Then they gave us “yelp” forms to rate their conduct and courtesy during the boarding. French courtesy and we gave them high marks.
Just how do I blast ducks out of the sky with my flare gun? Well that's not exactly what we mean by “duck hunting.”
It all started in Martinique, Caribbean. We were invited aboard Flip Flops for drinks. Drinks became dinner and we were treated to a fantastic duck curry. Flip Flops know how to cook! They have started an informative blog, www.becomeacruiser.com. Or facebook future cruisers. They have a lot about food on their website. Nikki, time for a duck article!
We learned from Flip Flops about the canned duck confit and horded it on Uproar. With it we make duck curry, roasted duck with carrots and potatoes, cassoulet, and our favorite, duck, duck bacon, tomato and lettuce sandwiches. In Martinique and Guadeloupe we could buy three pound cans of duck for under $10. Bonus! There is about a pound of duck fat in each can. I love the duck but if you simply threw away the duck, the $10 is worth it for the duck fat alone. Potatoes roasted in duck fat are the best. Duck fat popcorn anyone? Sounds gross but delicious.
Here in French Polynesia, we can buy canned duck confit but prices can be as high as $20/can. But if you look carefully, you can find the cans of manchons (drummies) for $10. We brag to Flip Flops when we find it and so do they. For us a successful shopping trip for duck confit is a successful duck hunt. Today in Papeete, we bagged only one can. But we will keep hunting. I can tell you a good supply will be stowed aboard Uproar when she is shipped back to the US.
Sorry, canned duck confit is just not readily available in the US. We have seen it on Amazon for $35/can but that's just too expensive. I am in contact with some duck product companies in France about importing it. Stand by.