Fine Dining in Fatu Hiva

View of anchorage at Fatu Hiva from top of mast
Coming into our first anchorage in French Polynesia
We landed at Fatu Hiva, which is the southernmost island in the Marquesas Islands group after 3 full weeks at sea.  You cannot imagine the scenery - an amazing view, especially after seeing sea and sky for 3 weeks straight!  It was a different world in so many ways - language, culture, and landscape.  I hate to admit it, but I was a little anxious to even step ashore with so many unknowns.  Finally, though, I set out to explore and experience what this majestic island had to offer.

A few of the other boating families hiked to a nearby waterfall.  My muscles protested after being fairly complacent for the past weeks, but it felt energizing to stretch and get moving again.  The wall of the fall was at least 300 ft. tall and straight down!  When we got to the pool below, we surprised a group of naked French people!!  They scurried to get to their clothes, but not until everyone got an eyeful!!!  Elizabeth says, "Mommy, I feel weird with naked people all around me!" Oh, the education she's getting!!  The water was cool and refreshing, as was sharing stories with everyone about their voyage. 

The kids letting off some pent up energy!

Elizabeth modeling traditional tapas dress
 That same night we were invited into a local family's home for a traditional dinner.  That was another very unique cultural experience.  We walked through their humble home (mattresses on the floor, clothes folded neatly on a table, their meek possessions very well taken care of and put in their places). They had each gotten dressed up, including the kids, in colorful sarongs with their hair slicked back into thick side ponytails or buns.  In the kitchen area, they had set up two long tables, fully set with dishes and various plates of food.  There was octopus in a vinegar sauce, shredded green papaya salad, a raw marinaded fish, taro root (think starchy potato root kind of veggie), chicken wings soaked in coconut milk, and white rice (thank heavens for that white rice!!)  I tried everything - except the octopus :) - and the kids feasted on the rice and chicken. You could tell that the ladies took great care in their presentation, and I kept thinking about how long it must have taken the women to prepare all of this food!  What a privilege it was to be their guests.  After dinner, they gave us some fruit for dessert and then let the kids try on traditional costumes made from tree bark called tapa. This is the only place in the world where it is still made.  The kids finally started playing with their kids, as I did my best to converse with the ladies with my non-existent French!

Fine Dining in Fatu Hiva home
Our friends s/v Lil Explorers - 6 kids!

Before we left, we traded some rum for a huge stack of bananas and some pamplemousse (a kind of grapefruit).  And when we dinghied back to our boat in the dark, some local fishermen were tied to our boat with a bright light on, fishing.  We watched them for a while, amazed as they pulled up huge fish from the deep water and even caught a 3-foot shark!! Before they left, they gave us a fish as a thank you for letting them tie up to our boat.  The people here are very kind and I am loving learning all about how they live.


  1. Lisa and I are SO enjoying your (and Mark's) blogging. I really wish I could come try out my french there. I think you are doing a fantastic thing for your kids! It's an education (truly) like none other.

  2. Wow! We have waited for you to settle in and post the first blog. What a great time you must be having. We want to hear all about your experiences, that is when you get a chance.
    Tim Goddard

  3. We love reading your adventures! Addison asked me to say hello to Elizabeth and tell her she misses her!


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