Party Number Two - Marquisen Style

We overheard several of the boats discussing a potluck. We learned that the village people had planned a potluck for the cruisers. We were invited to attend. All we had to do was bring a dish representing our native country. The village would provide the facilities and entertainment. I clearly recognized this as an opportunity for me personally. As I had done all of the cooking since leaving Cabo, I nominated Phill to prepare the dish. I suggested Shepherd's Pie. Phill groaned a little but agreed to do the honors. Phill made two meals worth so we could have leftovers for the next night's dinner as well. We packed our cruiser's picnic basket (a backpack with plates, forks, knives, spoons, and a bottle of wine, wineglasses and a corkscrew) and headed to shore.

As we neared the dinghy dock we noticed that the swells were pretty strong. We had talked about how we would maneuver the dinghy once we neared the dock but we weren't sure how smoothly it would go since it was already dark and the surf was stronger than ever. As we got closer to the dock we realized the village people had the situation well in hand. The ladies were given a hand by very good-looking young men and asked to step ashore with their help. They told us to not worry about the dinghy. This caught me off guard. I'm not use to this. I usually get the honor of picking which side of the dinghy I want to hoist. There was no way I intended to argue with these guys. I got out of the dinghy and let them do their magic. They picked the dinghy up and moved it out of the way of the next dinghy that was to arrive. This was a new form of valet parking to us. Not only was their service superb but their outfits are better than any seen in the states, no polyester black pants and red jacket. They instead wore their very best loincloth. Needless to say, all of the ladies were impressed with their 'hospitality'.

We went to an area that the village used for festivities. They had set up tables and begun to gather with their musical instruments in hand. The native costumes were getting their final touches and everyone was getting in the festive mood. The first thing I noticed were the dresses that the women were wearing. They were a single piece of fabric wrapped around their bodies and strategically tied. I had to know more about these. Being a quilter, I fell in love with the material. I then wanted to know how they kept them up since there was no evidence of stitching. I was told these dresses were called pareos. I asked Etienne how they were tied. He asked one of the young women to show me. She was a little embarrassed by his request but agreed to show the ladies how she was wearing the pareo. She took us behind a wall and untied the dress to show us how it was wrapped and subsequently tied. She made it look so easy. I had to have one of these. We learned that this young lady was Etienne's daughter. Her name was Lauren, named after Sophia Lauren. She was also a beautiful young woman. I hope we got pictures of her. She had the most beautiful eyes and mouth. I also fell in love with a little girl that seemed to be everywhere we visited in the village. This little girl had the most beautiful long brown hair, big round brown eyes and a devilish grin. Every time I tried to get near her, she shied away. She reminded me so much of one of my grand daughters, I couldn't help myself. I learned that she was Etienne's grand daughter. We started to tease him. Was everyone related to him. He blushed a little and gave us his family statistics. Not everyone is related to him.

Everyone stood around and introduced themselves to those who were there that they had not yet met. Etienne speaks very good English so we had a preview of what was to come this evening. Etienne began by telling the cruisers how the islands were named and each islands importance to Marquises history. Etienne then introduced Joseph who was the schoolteacher for the village. Joseph told a more elaborate story of the island history. His story was mixed with music from the local villagers. There are nine islands in the Marquises group. Each island represents a portion of a house. It takes all nine islands to make a complete house.


Building the house
Phill helping to build the house
Joseph in front of house
Islander telling us the story of the 6 islands in dance

Etienne is very good at getting everyone involved. The villager played their music, danced and acted out the stories. Then the men from the cruiser crowd were asked to join the other male dancers. The men were to learn the 'pig' dance. Needless to say, the women were very glad they didn't have to participate. For a while we thought that we would be next. Luckily we were not forced to join in these dances. Etienne then advised the cruisers that they would be expected to entertain the villagers in return. We all started to slip back into the darkness, hoping to become invisible. I know that I cannot sing or dance and Phill absolutely refuses to dance and sing. I was wondering how we could gracefully excuse ourselves. Lee, from 'Flying Lady' had slipped away from the crowd and went back to his boat. He brought back with him a bag of small musical instruments (kazoos, tambourines, maracas, etc.) and his acoustic guitar and harmonica. Lee was to become our savior. When it became our turn to entertain Lee went into action. We dazzled the crowd with all the Jimmy Buffett music we would recall. Lee knows all of the verses of Margaretville. Most of us only know the chorus. I think the villagers thought we had lost our minds. They laughed and watched in amazement. I'll bet they had never heard such good music.


Mike & Adriana (Southern Cross I)
The king & queen sitting on the thrown

The music and story telling was a wonderful icebreaker. We then mingled around the table and started to sample the food that everyone brought. The village supplied the chicken and the barbecue. Unfortunately, there was not enough food to go around. I wish we had made larger portions. We did notice that the villagers stood back and waited for the cruisers to fill their plates first. We thought that they should have been the first to fill their plates. We kinda latched onto some of them and drug them into the line and forced them to begin filling their plates.

Once all of the food had been consumed, everyone resumed with the music. All of the kids seem to be talented drummers. They grab anything that is hollow and begin tapping out some rhythm. We had a small interruption in our festivities. A small rain shower started shortly after our dinner. Everyone scurried to put away the dishes and food and rushed under the shelter of the cabaña. The music resumed and dancing began. Music seems to have a magical power. Everyone joins in and enjoys. The evening ended and everyone headed back to retrieve their dinghy. The valet service was just as good when we left as when we arrived. Our dinghies were put back in the water and we were helped into our respective dinghies. We were wondering how we could get this service in the morning when we came back into the village for another visit.

During the evening we had a chance to visit on a more personal level with Etienne. He is very proud of the Marquises history and wants so much for his village. Etienne indicated that he planned to continue coordinating the potluck sessions for the cruisers. They wanted the cruisers to feel welcome to their village and to come back. We suggested that the village coordinate a water taxi service for the cruisers because they were far more comfortable with the surf and their dinghy landing. We knew that the cruisers would welcome such a service and wouldn't mind paying a dollar or two for a trip to shore. This would be a way for the village to earn a little money. We asked Etienne what we could do personally for the village. What did they need that they didn't seem to be able to acquire for themselves. Etienne asked if he could think about this question for a few minutes. Later in the evening he said that he thought of something they needed, a VHF radio. We happened to have a radio that we didn't mind donating to the village. The next morning we took the radio into Etienne and showed him how to operate it. We told him that the cruisers typically monitor channel 68. He was very grateful for the gift and felt that he would get a lot of use out of it. We let Etienne know how much we enjoyed our visit to his village and that we wanted to visit it one more time before we left the Marquises. We planned to make Hakahetau our last stop before leaving for the Tuamotus. We decided to sign Etienne's guest register at that time.

We then walked the village again because we hadn't located the sculptor that lived in the village. The sculptor also owned the one and only market in the village. When we visited the market we couldn't help but notice that the shelves were not very well stocked. There is no place to purchase fuel in the village. There is a water faucet at the dinghy dock. Several of the cruisers filled their water tanks from this faucet. They did have to get the water using jerry jugs. There were no NoNo flies in this village.

By Saturday, the cyclone that all of the cruisers had been monitoring had been downgraded to a gale and was loosing it's strength rapidly. Many of the cruisers had been preparing to leave for the Tuamotus this day. The anchorage began emptying and we started to make our plans for our next port. As comfortable as this village was, we wanted to see as much of the island as possible so we decided to move to another anchorage. Since there was no Gendarme in Hakahetau, we needed to go to a town where there was a Gendarme so we could check in. Our next stop would be Hakahau, the island's capitol.

Hakahatau from sea



NOTE: Comments and suggestions should be sent to Jerry Reese, Council Bluffs, IA.


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Revised: 19 September, 2005 .