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Monday, June 1, 2015

Marquesas: Ua Poa Road Trip

$5 USD entry free -- in theory -- outside sizable, restored
Ua Poa Zekao Hakahau ceremonial site.
"Are you a cruiser?" the wiry-haired guy in the Ua Poa, French Polynesia grocery store asked (in English), with a grin.

Thus started our introduction to Xavier Germain, French expat,  retired middle school English (as a second language) teacher, and self-appointed Ua Poa* tour guide.  Even before agreeing to take his tour, he pointed out the beef bourgnion in the grocery store, the free wifi at the library, and the carvings at the church in town....

*Ua Poa is pronounced "wah poe," according to Xavier.







Mother and child sculpture at restored
Ua Poa 

Zekao Hakahau ceremonial site.
"Those banyan trees?  They used them as a place for the bones of dead chiefs..." Xavier informed us.  
Wayne's 2nd favorite ceremonial tiki/
sculpture -- after the smiling tiki
of Hiva Oa
.
















A small section of a mural that spread the interior of
a tiny Ua Poa church on Xavier's tour.
"Did you like Grandma?" chortled Xavier, with a smirking nod to the missionary image in the Ua Poa church.  "I'm not sure yet," he continued, "Let me have another bite...."  Xavier reveled in Marquesas history, especially how the first Marquesas missionary was inspiration for a meal....  They ate him.  














Ua Poa's Valley of the Chiefs, once the primary settlement
on the island, was our first scenic overlook stop.
Xavier's tour started at 10 am, and returned late afternoon.  We paid $20/person USD for the four of us.  Like John Ozanne's Hiva Oa tour, we were grateful for his 4-wheel drive, local knowledge of roads, scenic and historic spots, wry commentary and a stop to pick up heavy groceries at the end of our trip with a return ride to our dinghy.   We brought our own small picnic lunch.








Steve of Armagh at another stunning scenic overlook on Xavier's tour.
"I never learned more about myself than when I lived in [Hakahau] town," Xavier observed.  I asked him if what he learned was true.  No, he said.  I asked if it was more interesting than the truth.  "Why yes!  According to the rumors, I was sleeping with several women!  First I planted manioc [for a privacy screen].  Then I moved..." he chuckled.
Wayne spotted this jellyfish (one of many!) washed up on
the rocky beach Xavier took us to in search of the famed flower rocks. 

"I'll need to stop outside this place... you'll walk up the road to it.  After they restored this ceremonial site, some guy claimed it's on his land and wants to charge $5 for everyone who visits it.  But if you just walk in... Look for me in case I have to move the truck while you're there."



The ever observant Wayne noticed this Ua Poa kid (baby goat)
was so newly born, we could still see it's afterbirth.
You never know what you'll find as you careen down Ua Poa's rugged roads.  We've seen plenty of goats in our travels, but not a mother goat with a goat so newly born you could see the afterbirth still on it.  "A bonus," Xavier claimed.


Seems the boys got quite a workout on the tour.
Patty and I were a bit more chipper.
"Here's chili peppers... great in olive oil, with garlic, over pizza," Xavier mused.  "There... ylang ylang, used in cosmetics."  Xavier picked us a wonderfully fragrant blossom, its petals more like pale yellow green spidery leaves.  "Over there... coffee.  Did you want to get some fruit or vegetables?  I can take you to the farmers who grow them...." 

Before long we'd be in the Tuamotus, where rumor had it produce was not only near non-existent, but also a good item to trade for fish.


Armagh's dinghy, loaded with bananas, pamplemousse and
a case of Coca Cola and Hinano beer after Xavier's tour.
Location Location
This is a recent retrospective of our fourth Marquesas island stop, Ua Poa (S9.21.537 W140.02.867).   We are currently on our fifth and final Marquesas island, Nuku Hiva.  We're anchored in Nuku Hiva's Tahioe Bay (S8.54.856 W140.05.880), and will visit Hakatea aka "Daniel's Bay" on Nuku Hiva before moving onto the Tuamotus, which are still part of French Polynesia.  This was pre-posted from Tahioe as we're not sure between now and June 18th, our target date for arriving in Tahiti, when we'll have wifi.