Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tracking Paul Gauguin

When we were on Isla Taboga, Panama we saw the sanitarium where Gauguin was confined after he got sick (yellow fever) while working on the Canal. The Marquesan isle of Hiva Oa, in the cemetery for the town of Autona, is where he is buried. We went to pay our respects.
HivaOaIMG_0085 A close-up of the head board on his grave
We stopped at the museum dedicated to Gauguin in town. Clearly better than reading old National Geographic magazines.
 HivaOaIMG_0079 As we were driving into town to clear customs with the Gerndarmes, we past these guys with this giant sword fish hanging clear out the back of their pickup bed. It must have put a pretty good fight.
We celebrated my birthday on the island of Tahuata with these delicious, house specialty, blueberry-banana muffins. 
taehatuIMG_0197 Less of a house specialty was this fresh octopus that one of the locals gave us. Besides being so cool to watch in the water – they are really rubbery when cooked.
taehatuIMG_0224 We left Tahuata and sailed to the north end of Hiva Oa. We wanted to make our way to an anchorage on the NE end of the island where there are some old tikis. With great strategy we thought we’d make the NE corner, stay the night a little cove and get to the east end in the morning when the winds were light. As we turned the corner of the island the winds were barreling out of the NE and so were the seas. This made the anchorage in the NW corner look pretty un-inviting. So we put our tails between our legs and sailed back Tahuata. We anchored just north of a little village Hapatonia in the Baie Hanatefu, which has this pretty church with an active bell tower.
taehatuIMG_0236  There is an ancient, palm-lined ‘royal’ road, built on the order of Queen Vaekehu, that is supported on both sides by rock walls in the town.
taehatuIMG_0238 It travels right along the bay and is a great walk
And past the town power plant, a diesel generator
There are a lot of in-use out-rigger canoes that seem to be carefully taken care of.
They are all stylishly painted
Some even sport 15hp outboards
The town people make their money as carvers and as copra (coconut) farmers. Here’s bags of dried copra waiting to be exported to Tahiti for processing into oil. The green tags on each bag indicate where it is from and the grade of the coconut meat.
taehatuIMG_0239  I’m thinking about having this fungus-on-a-rock design tattooed on my butt. What do you think? It seems everyone here has a tattoo or ten. It’s a cultural thing.

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