Amazing Hospitality

After we had cleared the boat after the passage, cut the tuna and had breakfast it was still only 9 o’clock in the morning, so we contemplated what to do. Head straight for the bunk and catch up with sleep or use the sunny weather to explore the island? We decided to seize the day, launched the dinghy and headed to Vaipaee’s dock. There was quite a crowd on the dock cleaning fish and hammering open shellfish and we were informed about the upcoming New Year’s Eve Party for the whole island and immediately invited.

We wandered on through the little town that is mainly hiding under a dense canopy. The valley’s of Ua Pou are quite lush, but hitching a ride to Hane (the next village) we found that the mountains of Ua Huka are less impressive and much more arid than on the other Marquesan islands.
As our first ride had taken us 11 km through mountainous terrain we were a bit worried about how to get back, didn’t linger too long in Hane, but immediately started back on the same track hoping that at least a few cars would pass us.
A car coming from Vaipaee stopped and the friendly Polynesian woman asked us where we had started walking, where we wanted to go and then she waved us into the backseat. She would take us to the easternmost of Ua Huka’s 3 villages, where we’d have some time to look around before going back to Vaipaee with her. We gladly hopped in and were suprised when she made a detour to her house in Hane where her husband had just finished cooking lunch and insisted that we’d have sashimi, fried tuna and rice with the family. After lunch Karen took us over to Hokatu to meet her sister, chatting about Ua Huka and the Marquesan culture and waving to everybody from the open window–apparently everybody here is either related or close friends. Karen’s sister gave us some Marquesan apples and then sent us off with yet another sister to the local artisanat and museum (she opened both buildings just for us) and then we went on a fruit quest. Imagine us in a pickup truck with two giggling Polynesi
an middle aged women, a daughter in law with a long stick on the truckbed and all watching out for ripe mango. We soon spotted a branch right over the road with juicy mangoes, the daughter in law used her high position on the truck to quickly fill a woven basket with mangoes, then pamplemousse and a few breadfruit.
After a few more stops Karen delivered took us back along the coastal road (Ua Huka’s road system only connects the 3 villages in the south, the rest of the island is unpopulated) and right to our dinghy that we overloaded with fruit. Even after all the time we’ve spent here, the Polynesian hospitality never ceases to amaze us…

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