Category: French Polynesia

April 19 / French Polynesia

Reappear in the world after a one month blink. Time that was lived  in “no place” because there was not a single nigth spended  in the same geographical coordinates as the night before. An intense journey from the moment the coast of the American continent disappeared in waves. A shock of impression when realizing “there was no turning back here”… but then … then the silence … a pause in life, a break from the pace of the man’s world.  A puse to observe the moment itself…

The calendar said it was Sunday when we saw the shadow of something sticking aut to the usual perpetual horizon. The days had lost meaning, the boat had been without electicity the day before, I could not remember the last time I took a shower, and it seemed  like I’ve forgotten the smell of soil because the salt. I saw the distant island for 24 hours before arriving and I wondered: What could be doing the inhabitants of Nuku Hiva? How it would be a normal Sunday in the remotest island in the world? The Marquesas Islands are probably the most beloved for those who cross the Pacific Ocean as they are the first land that one return to the man’s world.

We entered to Taiohae  Bay crossing the mountain gates. Other sailboats were resting in the water. We droped anchor and the movement finally stopped.  It stopped!  We floated with a slight sway and  jumped on the dinghy to go ashore.  While I was going away from En Pointe for the first time I turned to look at the small yellow world in which I lived.  I got a feeling of detach from something to which he had belonged.

I got to ashore. I walked with weak legs, sea legs, because my muscles had weakened. At the beginning  a little as drunk, or rather like a child learning to walk? I learned to walk again then. I jumped around  expecting that everything will move… but not…  then I found everything so fixed, so disturbingly solid. My mind was confused, again playing a joke on it. I was overwhelmed by all the new things I saw: trees, yes, they were Uru trees and were very green, mountains, flowers, animals, horses, colors… people, voices, houses, languages! (French and marquisien). So much for someone who has only seen blue for long. I walked and I got tired quickly, my heart was beating hard, I took a deep breath… it had lived at sea level  and suddenly I was going up.  I felt the change in the whole body, in my mind, in my impressed heart.

On the island of Nuku Hiva  the first thing I found were smiles. Kaoha! every person that crosses on the way said . The friendliness of the people of Polynesia is famous among sailors; relaxed and simple; warmly smiling  to welcome those who brought the wind.

Total population of the largest island in the region = 2,600 people. The Marquesas are “the garden of French Polynesia ” is pure nature, there is any big building, however I was impressed by the degree of “development”. Tecnically is France and that can be seen in their few streets as neat such as Switzerland, in Baguettes, in their laws, and in the education, and health system.

But,

How is the land beyond the other side of the Pacific?

The Marquesas are a land of lava, young and green islands where everything grows. Are islands of towering mountains in the sea, floating mountains, hills newborn.

A land where there is no cold seasons but fruit in season all year.

A land that sleeps peacefully under the most beautiful spectacle of stars. Here there is no nightlife besides the ones made on the shore, no rush in here.

A land where few humans live and the language of their ancestors is learned as well as the national language  in the schools.

A land with talking drums and ukuleles.

An island where life is on land, but it is known that one belong to the sea.

Principal pueblo en Nuku Hiva, localizado en el un antiguo cráter volcánico que parcialmente se colapso en el mar.
En Pointe (yellow trimaran) anchored in Taiohae Bay. Photo: Tom Van Dyke
April 16 / French Polynesia

Waking up,  the sound of the sea crashing on the reef is the first thing I’m aware before I open the eyes.  Ha!…   it takes me one minute before I remind myself :   I am  in an island.  I live on a sailboat in the Pacific Ocean. My name is Tulia.  I sailed for months to get to this side of the world.  It’s been six months since I started this adventure without knowing (in every sense of the word) the direction it would take.

Today I’m in French Polynesia. I’m taking a break ashore,  a break from the constant movement.  Today I wake up in a house facing the sea, grass-smell and crickets-sound. Is now when I’m waking up and realizing what I’d  happened…  and it’s happening.

I tried to explain (not helping that was in French) what it means to live for a month on the open sea, as a result I had to change the subject , even in Spanish (my mother tongue) there are things that can not be explained just like that… maybe if  I write a poem and I run out of words that could somehow express the vastness , the deepest blue, the TRUE silence, and the infinite of an horizon. One day I may find meaning in those journals I wrote in the ocean, now it seems that everything was as deep dream as the Pacific itself.  Because a month on a sailboat of 31ft, in a space that becomes your little planet, is not just a month … is every week of the month,  is every day of every week, and every hour of every day of the month, is every-moment… on the sea… an in constant motion.

Since some time ago I wanted to write about how is to live… hmm…  on board? Not, I would rather said on the border… of countries, islands, and worlds. When I lived in Europe I wanted to write for friends, family, people that asked me a lot.  But I put it off because I wanted to “do it right ” my perfectionism  is (or was)  related to my love for “scientific research”.  I was obsessed with details that never allowed to get ready even a page. Also because in the “Professional Life ” I had been considered as serious people and seriouspeople do not write about islands or travel neither worlds … serious people do publish articles in research journals.

Today I do not care.

Today I woke up with a strange indifference and tired of ” decisions ” tired of keep thinking what’s next: which trip, which island, project, person,  work,  language … well, today  I can dance and be the queen of the absurd.

Photo by Tom Van Dyke
Photo by Tom Van Dyke

I’m in Raiatea , called the “Holy Island ” for be  the most mysterious Polynesian island.  A day and many years ago it was the center of culture and religion of the” Polynesian triangle” including the islands close to Tahiti (now French Polynesia), Hawaii, and New Zealand. As the writer Paul Theroux mentioned in “The happy islands of Oceania” rather than an ocean, the Pacific is like a universe, and a map looks like the portrait of the night, as if heaven and earth had inverted … so it is peaceful , like outer space, a vastness of empty spots filled with clinking islands like stars.

Raiatea. Here’s where I reached again an edge. A need to sit down, sit on the ground and smell. I had a need for solitude and stay idle, quiet for a moment; because  live on a sailboat has been many things: games, people, languages ​​and landscapes… but above all, as been movement. So much movement that I haven’t went inside and see what is changing. Although I have periods of silence while sailing from one island to another… I’m mesmerized bye the ocean and its deepness, and when I wake up I’m already in another island… in another world.

I was thinking to write about how I ” decided ” to go on a boat; when I thought it was impossible, when one day I grabbed my backpack and went to the coast;  about how we made ​​the preparations and provisions for the trip;  or when I discovered this kind of life and the great stories and people I’ve met. I wanted to tell it from the beginning, in an order as my

accustomed

brain to the methodology was telling me. Then I knew that not.  That my life is much more (or actually less) complex than a beginning or an order,  that sense of time was vanish on the waves.  So I start with this moment.  Now.

Today may not be an article with references, neither a validation of experts took place, and I’m full of “Bias”.  This time it’s only the first word. One word I write and I share about this extraordinary journey in the small island that many call “Earth”.