Ass clowns

Have a happy life
Something is wrong with our tribe.

A startling majority of us ( Euro-whitey descendants ) suffer from a painful disorder, which we seem to be utterly and remorselessly, clueless about.
The disease, goes by many names, depending on the country you are visiting;
I think, the Latin derivative is  something, like...
Otherwise it is known more commonly, as...
"head-up-the bum" syndrome- a phrase, bandied by bemused locals at any gathering where white people talk only amongst themselves, dance badly and assume everyone is out to rip them off.
It's relatively easy illness to self diagnose...
Just take this simple test:

If you are invited to ( or you plan to crash), a party hosted by the locals, do you bring...

A) Your nicest stuff. Be it wine, beer, food , drink, party favors, etc.. and share it freely with everyone, expecting nothing in return but some Irie vibes and a jolly good time?

Or do you...

B) Rustle something meager to put on the table from your least expensive and most easily expendable stuff?


C) do you actually bring NOTHING except the booze you plan to drink yourself, and then hide it under the table in your ponce-y little backpack, and proceed to make yourself and your cruising buddies stingy little cocktails while offering nothing to your hosts?

Answer key:
If you answered....

A- Shine on you crazy diamond. Our tribe needs more of you.

B -You are sadly misinformed about how to truly have fun and enjoy life. You can do better. It's okay, though, you are not terminal. LOVE more. GIVE more. You will not lose out. In fact, if you let go and relax a little about your stuff, the Universe will actually roll in ecstasy at your feet.  Don't cop out and bring the cheap crackers or the pasta will never regret sharing the nice chocolate and the Costco rum you had ferreted away. It's importance to you will pale in comparison to the smiles it brought the new friends you made. 
This is the way of Love. 
Buddha would have shared his candy-stash, too.

C- You are an Ass Clown. Seek help immediately.

If you, or someone you know, suffers from this terrible sickness, my advise, would be to immediately arrange a trip to the Marquesas and hook up with Moie and her family. Observe the locals in action. If you are diligent in your study and allow yourself to absorb their good vibrations, and do your damnedest to emulate them- your condition should clear up immediately.

I don't mean to grumble but holy-moly, did we witness some embarrassing behavior lately. By the way, I did not coin Ass-Clown ( AC), that was Paul, a young cruiser we adopted/rescued last week, from his certified AC skipper.

Before, I get too far ahead of myself, I should introduce a few of the new characters who recently joined in on our strange little journey though life:

Stand-up guy ( 32, American/Michigan/Sicilian), totally answers "A" to all questions in his life.
I noticed him the first day his boat rolled into the anchorage after their crossing. 
Paul was wearing a tie-dye t-shirt, had a sweet surf board strapped to the deck and his skipper was yelling at him ( never a good sign for a skipper). Never-the-less, Paul was managing everything on the deck with a calm, get-it-done attitude and he even smiled and waved at everyone despite his skipper being a tweaker.
"That guy's dad is a (bad word)." I said to Jon.
As it turns out, I was half right. 
The guy was NOT Paul's dad...but he was a (bad word).
A lunatic, who poor Paul had unwittingly signed on to crew for in Panama. 
Over the next few days (and at several parties Mo-ie threw for us all), we got to know Paul and witness some of the hysteria his skipper was causing him and any boat that they happened to anchor near. I had had my own run-ins with this skipper myself,- a party crashing, answers 'C" to all questions in his life, user-cheapskate, planning on skivving out of paying Paul ( who was supposed to be compensated as hired crew) and intended on leaving Paul in the lurch out here in the middle of nowhere. 
Now, Paul is a kid any mother would be proud of; super-cool, hilarious and really, really kind. 
He's also is a combat veteran. Navy Search and Rescue...Motto: "We serve, so that other's may live". He served three tours, two in Iraq, one in Afganistan, took shrapnel in the leg from an IED and was discharged. Since then, he has been a dive guide in St. Thomas and has over three thousand dives. He plays guitar in a band, was also on Phish tour has excellent musical taste...I, mean, seriously? 
I liked him, instantly. 
When I heard his cheapskate-show-up-at-Moies-house-uninvited-and-emptyhanded-act-like-it-was-her-duty to-cook-food-and-serve-him, Skipper, was trying to figure out a way to NOT pay Paul his recompense AND had Paul doing the whole night watch all by himself for the entire crossing AND told Navy rescue swimmer, Paul, that he "had no self-discipline" because Paul said he might need to fly home from Hiva Oa to be at the hospital for his stage 4 cancer-patient dad....well. 
That was it.  
"Get your stuff together and come over to our boat" I said.
"I'll be back to pick you up, in a few minutes".
I had been doing laundry at the tap, on shore, when this whole soap opera went down, so I had not talked to Jon about any of this, yet.
I told him as soon i got back to the boat.
"Paul is coming to the Tuamotos with us." i said.
"What!?" said Jon, waking up from a rare nap.
I was talking really, really, fast, like I do.
"...he's a dive guide and he's cool and his skipper is a crazy jerk...."
"Honey. We don't even know the guy" said Jon, rubbing his eyes. 
"We have to." I said, feeling very patriotic. "He's a vet."
"Okay" said Jon, shaking his head.
He climbed out of bed and went to pick Paul and all his stuff.
*The postscript here, is that we spent about a week with Paul. 
He's not going to the Tuamotos with us because he had to go home to be with his dad and the rest of his family
and we're so happy he's with his loved ones but we all miss "Uncle Paulie" (as the kids called him). 
I could not have made a better judgement call, back there at the laundry tap.
Not only did WE want to adopt Paul, everyone who met him did, too. 
Mo-ie and her family loved him, because he was generous and kind and easy going. 
He laughed and made everyone smile and hung out and was helpful all the time. 
He absolutely showered us with gifts; dive guides, cruising guides, BC's, regulators, wetsuits, surfboards...he gave Moi'es family a perfect Ovation guitar, he pitched in for food and drinks and did all kinds of stuff without being asked.
When he had a little accident at Moie's weekend party, and cut open his foot really badly ( spewing blood everywhere) he gamely put-up with our novice attempts at using injectible lidocaine and cleaning his wound.
He laughed at all Jon's jokes( even the off-color ones) and talked to Kai endlessly about fish, he let Hunter tease him relentlessly and swapped favorite tunes with me.
Paul also shared in our collective dismay at  the inexplicable rudeness( and latent superiority) we witnessed from certain other cruisers.
Not everyone...thankfully.
There are other card-carrying members of the best version of our tribe out here, too. Like, our friends on Marionette, who jumped into this crazy experience with open hearts and generosity equal to that they were shown.

One morning, I woke to notice a stunning boat had entered the anchorage during the night. 
"Marionette is here!" I yelled to Jon and the kids.
Everyone jumped on deck and began waving at skipper Bruce, who was grinning and waving at us.
Bruce is great friends with our Manta-family, Terry and Dawn from back in Baja. We all had a whole bunch of fun together last summer and it was really great to see him come into anchor right next to us all the way out here in the Marquesas. 
Bruce is a Kiwi, who happens to look a lot like a young, Peter-o'toole ( if ol' Pete had a fantastic tan and really, really white teeth). He's also the nicest guy and a professional skipper ( in real life) and owner of SV Marionette, fifty feet of beautiful, lovingly restored, sailing perfection. 
His crossing was 18 days...
(we can learn a lot from Bruce).
He and his gorgeous, French-Moroccon wife, Katherine and their charming 27 year old son, Luca and two friends are cruising Marionette back to their home in New Zealand...

I wasn't there, so I can't actually do it justice-but since Kai finally prevailed and managed to wrangle himself into going, against my maternal wishes- I extracted a promise from him ( in exchange for the many hours of vexation it would cause me) to write a blog about it, which will follow, once I've finished this rant i'm on.
What I do know, is that about 10 people went off to hunt a boar with a very old and half-blind dog and there was much crashing about in the bush with no luck although the blind old bitch did manage to scare up a chicken from the undergrowth- but not much else.
The men returned, dirty and exhausted, no one fired a gun, except my 11 year old, who also got to cruise around the jungle with a large knife and a bunch of dudes and have this great experience without actually encountering any terrifying beasts or receiving a  gore wound and luckily... Ton-ton( uncle) Leon killed a goat so, the party was gonna continue. Only it would be a goat cook-off, instead. 

The next day, we loaded Pura Vida and Marionette up with Moie and her family, piles of food and crates of beer, eight bags, three guitars and a ukelele, four enormous coolers-one of which had the goat stuffed inside it-and we all headed over to Tehuatu...
The weather wasn't perfect but no one really cared.
We listened to music and laughed and fished on the way over.
Moie told us stories about the island where she grew up and pointed out every tree and hill, land or cove and beach that her family lives on.

As soon as we hit the small bay where Moie's uncle lives, we dropped our anchors and all the kids jumped in the water. Paul look off for a free dive and on his first drop encountered a huge Manta, Jon and I met the biggest octopus we have ever seen, the kids swam through pods of gooey non-stinging jellyfish and body surfed in the beach break.
Moie had somehow prepared everything she needed to bring to cook for fifteen people and even managed to make home-made banana beignets which she put out for all us kids as soon as we got there.
That night, we feasted on chicken and green beans in coconut sauce and fragrant coconut rice and bananas and fish curry-
Moie fed everyone and did all the cooking herself.
A few other boats who Moie had met through us, also came in tow. That was cool and all but there was an entire armada of boats, the next anchorage over who seemed to think that the party was an open invitation and just started dropping in. The Marquesans were so nice and inviting, they never said a thing, they just smiled and included everyone and gave them all plates and welcomed them.
Some people were fine, of course but unfortunately, there were others, who's assumptions and behaviors were actually pretty shocking and it made us sad. 
(Although it provided and excellent context for a dialogue about respect and manners with our kids).

It happened to be a holiday here in the Marquesas, a long weekend (kind of like labor day, in the states). Of course, you would not know this unless you actually asked a Marquesan what they do and where they work and what school is like and such....
Moie and her family had an  extra day off and were taking it easy and having bbq's and a big camp-out with their family and some new friends they made...(us).
We had all been planning this event for a few weeks and everyone was really excited and Moie and Joseph had put a LOT of time into organizing and arranging the whole event.
I heard SEVERAL cruisers comment things like;
 "I guess, all these people do here, is drink and smoke dope  all day". 
We were guests at Moie's uncle's property and yet boat after boat ( I think about 12 uninvited cruisers) showed up for two days of parties and brought as little as they could and then ate everything offered and drank the beer we brought  and yet assumed that none of these people actually had jobs or worked?
How do they think all the food got there?
Didn't they notice how beautifully kept the property and animals were?
Maybe they thought the cook and the gardener must have done all that?

When I told one of these uninvited AC's that Moie's Husband works in the mayor's office and is in charge of unemployment on Hiva Oa, he actually responded;
"'Must be a busy job," then he snorted, and reached for another plate of the excellent poisson cru Moie made.

If one of these intrepid travelers came to our island, on a long weekend, in the summer, and we spotted him at the general store and he seemed like a good sort of fellow, he could very easily be adopted by anyone I know. All our friends back home are generous and fun-loving people. a person could easily end up at one bbq after another and be offered places to stay and sleep and and his impression of Bowen may very well be that people there love to drink and party and that would be true- 
but would also he assume that that is all we do? 
That we do not work? 
I doubt it.

Anyway, I don't want to dwell on the negative anymore. 
I've said my peace.
There are all kinds of people in the world,
I'm just grateful for the nice ones.

It was a WONDERFUL weekend. 
We had a great time with Moie and her family and Paul and the gang from Marionette.
Jon and Kai went fishing the next morning at 4am with Moie's cousins...
They came home with a couple of tuna's and Moie prepared another HUGE feast the next day as well.
This one was particularly spectacular...
Moie used to work for several French chefs and she can cook anything and prepare it in total, 5 star-style.
She laid out a traditional Marquesan feast, a banquette of at least eight courses, all prepared absolutely beautifully.
There were thinly sliced platters of sashimi, delicately spiced goat in coconut sauce, grilled Mahi Mahi with a tangy bbq sauce, baked breadfruit which was finished in sugar and broiled so that it tasted like sticky, sweet creme carmel ( which is like an impossible thing to manage with breadfruit, if you ask me), there was perfect poisson cru ( a local dish of raw fish, marinated in coconut and lime juices ) a salad with juillened cucumbers, carrots and spicy fish, more sweet coconut rice, baked bananas in syrup, piles of fresh mangoes and pamplemousse. 
Moie hopes to open a small restaurant one day, so let me be the first to write a review for her;
"Spectacular, lovingly prepared, only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients...Moie combines the best of traditional Marquesan cuisine with the flair of a French trained chef".
I think she also plans on brewing her own beer one day.
Oh yeah, and the place will be on the utterly spectacular beach we were visiting.
Any cruisers planning on visiting the area in the next few years...
Don't miss out on making Moie and Jospeh's joint a mandatory stop on your South Pacific adventure.
It will be a culinary highlight and a lovely experience-guarunteed.
In the meantime, if you are lucky enough to be adopted by them (and it isn't hard-just smile a lot) for goodness sake, PLEASE don't be an AC and hide your hooch under the table...
Just SHARE  it.
Like they do.
One of Moie's two beautiful daughters-this is Atea.

Bruce and Taiki

The guest rooms
Off for the weekend with our new crew

SV Marionette

A huge spread

I'm smiling because I  adore this woman under my arm but I have no idea who any of the people behind me are.

I offer to come run the farm someday.
Moie showed us how to gather sea urchins and eat them raw with limes she picked fresh off the trees in the forest.

Off to the boar hunt-Kai's in there somewhere.

Uncle Paulie-this shot was taken right after he gave Kai his awesome surfboard and its carrying bag.


Boys 4am fishing trip-returns!

My little piggy

Marciano carves a piece of coral-he speaks Marquesan, French, Spanish, English and even some Italian.

Marionette and Pura Vida

Moie's Titanic moment

I could live here.

The world's most efficient garbage disposal-right behind the sink, too!

waiting to be fed

Taiki introduces me to the goats.These were the prettiest, cleanest goats I have ever seen.
I don't have a picture of the horses-they're shy but they roam freely all over  the island-only coming back at night to rest.


  1. I never had a problem drinking and smoking dope all day. May all pejorative nubble-brained nose-bag snorters smother in their own indigestible gas!

  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for being such great ambassadors and not “ass-adors” for us industrialized, uptight, folk. I’d like to think that we would always choose option “A” ourselves and I’m so sorry to hear that option “C” even exists. I can forgive option “B” on the excuse of wanting to have something to share at the next island, perhaps, but as our family ages and reads experiences like yours I learn that “now” is always the time. As you know we didn’t make it this year but you are all keeping the dream alive for us. Keep on blogging and let the Marquesan’s know there will be other “choice A” folks coming in time. Tip