01 Apr Taiohae, Nuku Hiva – Sunday, 01 April 2001
We were up by 0630 on Sunday morning, but it didn’t seem that early. We had left out clocks on Los Cabos time for our passage and arriving in Nuku Hiva changed them to two and a half hours earlier (a total of 3 ½ hrs. earlier than Seattle, standard time). Church at 0800 was delightful. There are two churches in the village, one Catholic and one Protestant. We went to the Catholic Church. The service was in Marquesian and the music was marvelous. There was a parade of 4×4’s, with everyone dressed in their Sunday best and lots and lots of children, all headed to church. By the time that we arrived all of the seats were full, so we sat outside on the edge of the courtyard where it was much cooler anyway. All during the service moms or dads with their little kids would wander in and out of the church. Some would sit in the grass outside for a while and then return inside. One little toddler took off all of his clothes and ran around for a while, in the company of his dad, but by the time the church service was finished the little boy was dressed again. There were many little children, but very few old people. Life expectancy here appears to be fairly short.
We spent part of Sunday clearing into the country, an easy process: hike to the other end of town to the office of the Gendarmerie, try to communicate in French, show the man our passports and try to figure out what we have to do to finish the process on Monday. We think that we are told that we take the official looking paper that he has giveen us to the post office on Monday and get a stamp, go to the bank and get something that says that we have the equivalent to posting a bond. (You can’t come into this country unless you can prove that you have enough money to exit. Instead of posting a bond of more than $1000 US each, we have purchased round trip airline tickets for Rob and Donna, as well. This satisfied the requirement for a bond.) We maybe understand him to tell us that we then return to the Gendarmerie office to complete the process and that, on Monday, someone who speaks English will be in the office. Maybe, we hope.
The remainder of the day we clean the boat and Don and I go ashore to meet and invite Rose Corsar, the owner of the hotel, to the boat for dinner. Rose and Frank Corser sailed to Nuku Hiva from Los Angeles almost thirty years ago. Rose was writing a thesis for a degree in Art History, with a focus on primitive art and Frank loved to sail. He suggested that she pick someplace to do her research that they could sail to, hence their first passage to Nuku Hive in 1972. They loved it here, built a small hotel that catered to sailors and eventually sold the sailboat. Frank died of cancer in 1992; Rose tried to continue to run the hotel but eventually sold a majority share of the hotel to Tahiti Airlines. The hotel was rebuilt into a small luxury hotel and it is clear that Rose is still very involved. In addition, she has a small museum attached to her home, which has more Marquesian artifacts than museums in either Tahiti or Hawaii. For years, Rose has acted as a mail drop for cruising sailors and is extremely knowledgeable about all things Marquesian. She was free Sunday evening and was delighted to accept our invitation to dinner. We whipped up a quick dinner of filet mignon, baked potatoes (with yogurt, we didn’t have any sour cream), asparagus in sesame oil, salad (the last of our greens) and home made peach sorbet for desert. The best part of the evening was the good conversation. We learned much about the Marquesas Island and its people, about archaeology and art and about cruising the islands. She brought us a little carved “welcome tiki” as a gift. We also learned that Rose was having trouble with her computer. Well, we just happen to have two computer engineers on board as crew.