Tuesday, August 25, 2009

free bananas and more

It sure was a treat to hop off the boat and walk the 50 yards to the grocery store. Had yummy pizza from a pizza truck and took a great hike with an incredible view, went to church and got groceries and gas and hung out on internet for a few hours. It was civilization! :) After our two nights on the free dock at Uturoa we left "civilization" for Baie Faaroa. There was a river flowing into the head of the bay that we dinghied up. We passed were pretty much covered by shade all the way up, it was so thick with green growing things. Pretty. We stopped at the public botanical garden with a dock in the river. There was no signage, we just were told how to recognize it by other cruisers. At the garden, a local named James met us at the falling down dinghy dock and started showing us around and telling us the names of the plants and giving us things to smell and look at, some weird round purple and green fruit called canela that has sweet pulpy white insides to eat. When I ate it I had to ignore the way the flesh reminded me of ripping out a living organ from a purple skinned animal. We smelled the fragrant lime green strings that grow on the oolang oolang tree. We received a free vanilla bean, and a flower that looked like a purple speckled balloon with a probiscus. Then, he chopped down a whole banana tree and gave us about 50 bananas. Next he rowed down the river ahead of us in his kayak and stopped on the side to climb a palm tree and retrieve for us 3 green coconuts, which he husked. He wanted nothing for it.
This morning we dinghied down a few bays to the Marae Taputapuatea. Here's how the guidebooks describe it, "The Taputapuatea archaeological area held great importance to ancient Polynesians. When constructing new marae on neighboring islands, a stone from Taputapuatea had to be used in the making of the new temple...." This temple was also the staging grounds for the ancient Tahitian explorers that ROWED and sailed to New Zealand, Hawaii, and the Marquesas. Rumor also has it that Captain Cook was present at a human sacrifice, held in his honor, at this marae. Allegedly he was offered the victim's right eye (usually reserved for the priests) to eat, and he swallowed it. I figure, if this is true, he was just grateful he wasn't the one on the chopping block. Today, the place didn't look quite so ominous.
After we returned to Nomad, we pulled anchor and for the first time in a long time, SAILED (instead of motoring everywhere) around the north end of the island, hooked up on a mooring ball and hope to find a welder nearby. We are near a good surf break where Brian has already enjoyed two sessions.

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