Family Adventure of a Lifetime Native in Nuku Hiva...Sailing Vessel Delos Ep. 449

Family Adventure of a Lifetime  Native in Nuku Hiva...Sailing Vessel Delos Ep. 449

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(gentle music) (conch blowing) - [Brian] Our sailing voyage around the world brought us here, to the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia, one of the most stunning and isolated destinations on planet Earth. Located more than 3000 miles from the nearest continental land mass, these islands are part of an ever shrinking list of truly wild places that have managed to preserve their unique and vibrant culture against all odds. We were lucky enough to have landed in this paradise during a truly special event, a festival that happens only once every four years, where locals from all the islands of the archipelago come together to celebrate, cultivate, and pass down their ancient traditions to the next generation. So embark on us on this week's journey as we take a deep dive not only into this one of a kind event, but also into what it's like to experience these incredible islands by sailboat. Good morning, good morning. - Good morning.

- We are coming to you today from Nuku Hiva and it's a super exciting day because it is the Matavaa Festival and you should see the anchorage, anchorage is so packed. I think there's like at least 150 boats in here and everybody's just like super excited. - I feel like even though they're super happy with visitors like us coming and seeing the festival, the cool thing is that they're putting it on for themselves to kind of preserve the culture and their traditions and pass them down through the generations, which I think is awesome. - Yeah, it's not meant for tourists at all, although we do feel very welcome. And you might actually be wondering why my shirt is on inside Out.

It's because the one piece of advice we got was to wear natural colors- - Brown. - Like brown or earth tones and I just put it inside out so the wouldn't show on the back. - So we blend in. - That's it but- - First... (gentle music) - Okay. Even with our flopper stoppers, nobody had a really good night's sleep last night the swell as just brutal.

So we're gonna try a different tactic. We've got some friends in the back of the bay on some other boats that are stern tied and they said there's room for us to come in right next to them. I'm just gonna pause for a second and explain what it means to stern tie. Normally when we anchor, the direction the boat faces depends on the direction of the wind. Just like a wind vane, the pointy bit ends up in front.

This works out great if the wind is constant and coming in the same direction as the swell, which is often the case. But if the two are at odds, life isn't that great on board. (oven clattering) Because Delos is 53 feet long, with her bow into the swell, she gently rocks to and fro. It's not bad at all.

But if the wind shifts or dies out completely, when there's still a ground swell running, we can end up sideways. If the period of the swell is any multiple of the beam, we get what I refer to as the death rolls and it sucks. Cups go flying and you wish you'd lived on land. When we stern tie, we drop an anchor off the back of the boat that holds us in place, facing straight into the swell, no matter what the wind does. It's a bit of a job and it also gets super hot inside the boat because we lose the airflow we normally get through the hatches, which face forward into the wind.

But we'd rather sweat than roll. And after the night we had last night... - Yeah, I got seasick last night lying in my bed trying to sleep, rolling back and forth and back and forth. - Well, it would definitely be worth the effort. And so we're just gonna pick up the hook, we're gonna go to the back of the bay where the swell should be a little bit less, We're gonna drop the hook.

I'm gonna back Delos up into position and then you're gonna get in the dinghy, which has the stern hook already set up with the stern line ready to go, and then you're just gonna drop it down. And then, like magic, will be better life. (gentle music) I forgot to film, but we're just dropping the hook here. Easy peasy. Reversey squeezy.

Kazza getting in the dinghy. Just go ahead and head off sort of that way. - That's probably pretty good, right? - With the anchor set behind us, we use Maggie to push Delos around against the wind.

This allows us to crank in the line nice and tight and reduce the amount of swinging back and forth. Alright, I think that's a success. Neighbors are happy with our place and the boat's not rocking, amazing. Look at how calm it is back here.

It's like a different world. I'm already much, much happier about our place. Okay, let's go have some fun. We headed to shore where the opening ceremony would be getting underway. We were pretty excited to get a taste of some of the local culture.

We had been in French Polynesia now for over six months, and much of that was spent with hardly another human in sight. So we felt like there was so much to learn and experience about the local way of life. (drums booming) (singing in foreign language) There was a lot to take in as soon as we arrived and our senses were saturated. The drums were so loud and powerful that you could feel the vibrations inside your body. The chants were mesmerizing and the dances were all so different but still felt related. This is the 14th time the festival has been held and the theme for this year was ancestral energy.

The focus is on connecting with the past and using that energy to shape the future. It's a reminder that the knowledge and experience of previous generations is incredibly valuable and that it should be explored and celebrated. One of the reasons that the Marquesas hold onto their tradition so tightly is because of how close it came to being totally lost. Early contact from the arrival of the European explorers brought disease that ravaged the population, shrinking it from about 78,000 in the 18th century to an all-time low in 1926 of just 2,255 people. On top of that, the French colonized the islands for themselves. Catholic missionaries outlawed the Marquesan ancient traditions and way of life, and they were forbidden to wear flowers, to dance, to speak their own language, to tattoo, and to even carve and sing, unless it was related to the Catholic church.

As the older generations died and oral traditions disappeared, their one of a kind culture nearly vanished. The Matavaa Festival is one way of bringing some of what was lost back to life. That's why this festival isn't a show for us tourists. It's a celebration, a revival, and a way of ensuring that their culture lives on and passes down from generation to generation. It wasn't always easy to follow exactly what was going on since the presentations were all in Marquesan and French, but we could certainly feel the emotions and intention behind the different performances.

Most of the islands of the Marquesas were represented: Nuka Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka, Tahuata, Ua Poa and Fatu Hiva. There were also delegations of Marquesan descent hailing from Tahiti and Easter Island. One of the interesting things about the Marquesas Islands is that, because they're so geographically isolated, they're able to cultivate a totally unique culture, language, religion and art.

And even between the different islands, they each have a very distinct and unique flavor of Marquesan, with different costumes, dancing styles, tiki sculpting, tattooing, cuisine and more. All of this was on display here in the opening ceremony, and it was so cool to experience firsthand. (horns blowing) (singing in foreign language) - So it's day two of festival adventures and we are in a car with Paul and he is gonna drive us to the festival. It's like, I think like 30 minutes away.

Why is that dog butt in my face? Stop. Are you excited for today Sierra? - Yeah. (singing in foreign language) - [Brian] Day two was an umu or traditional Marquesan feast. Lots of different ingredients and preparations were used, but the main event is their unique method of creating an underground oven. - They're gonna take out the pig now that has been basically cooking here underground since yesterday.

They put coals and banana leafs and they cook it for like, yeah, a whole day. (chanting in foreign language) - [Kazza] What do you think it's gonna be in there? - I don't know. Think it's bones? - Some bones? - Yeah. - They carried out the pig, goat, chicken, fish, bananas and breadfruit that had been buried in the deep pits lined with red hot stones. They'd been smoldering and cooking to perfection and now these delicacies were ready to be served. (singing in foreign language) Each island has a different little food set up, so they have different signs here and everybody's preparing the food.

And then I think it's all gonna be served in this giant structure here. And you look at all these tables that are lined up. It's awesome, I'm so excited to try the food. (singing in foreign language) - This is, I think, banana in some kind of coconut sauce. And then I got an assortments of mollusks. - [Brian] Whao Mormor that's a lot of pork! - Yeah! - And raw crab.

- Uh huh. I'm gonna enjoy it. - Let's go find a place to eat. - Yes. - [Brian] Thank you Sierra, that's my bowl. Wow, that's dripping.

My coconut has a hole in it. Are we ready? - We're so ready. - [Brian] Woo. What are you gonna have first? - Think I'm gonna brave the mollusks first. - [Brian] Yeah? - [Kazza] These are actually crabs that you find like running on the beach everywhere.

- [Brian] Yeah. They're not cooked? - No, they're raw. So I mean we could just- - [Brian] Do you just suck the goo out of it? - We could just catch them and like eat them ourselves, I think.

- [Brian] Really? - I think you just take it off like that. (Brian laughing) I mean, it tastes like bad salt water. Oh my God, what is this? - What is that? - How are you supposed to eat this? Is this like a- - [Brian] It's like a tail. - No, it's not a tail.

It's like one of those mollusks that are stuck on the- - [Brian] Oh, like a sea slug. Okay, give it a shot. Tell me how it is. (Brian laughing) - [Kazza] Brian doesn't want to try the local cuisine.

- You told me it tasted like bad salt water and then you want me to try it. (gentle music) (both laughing) (Brian gagging) Kazza! (Brian coughing) Oh God, it smells so bad. That's not great. It's like dirty salt mush. - Pork.

- Well that's good. (gentle music) Apparently we didn't have the palate yet to appreciate some of the finer flavors of the Marquesas, but everything else we tried was fantastic. Like different breadfruit dishes and a typical banana po'e and lots of other specialties made up of the very natural diet that the Marquesans enjoy, which consists mostly of seafood, fruits and vegetables. And of course the feast would not be complete without plenty of drums and more dancing.

(singing in foreign language) (gentle music) - Morning. I woke up a little earlier today. I, for some reason, got like crazy migraine headache last night and couldn't really go in to the last part of the festival, which was kind of like a concert. So bummed about it.

But I'm feeling a lot better now and I just woke up early, since I went to bed like super early. It sounds like some of the locals are still going for sure, or somebody is on the beach. They're just like blasting music in their cars and swimming at 6:00 AM, it's awesome. But yeah, it's such a nice morning and I'm just sitting out here having my cup of tea. What a fantastic festival. It was so cool to be just like part of this cultural experience.

This is really cool to show Sierra and to talk about different cultures with her and just to, yeah, just experience it and that mom could be here was really, really cool as well. - [Brian] Being the salty sailors that we are, after a few days spent mostly on land, we were itching to get some time out on the water again and explore the incredible natural beauty that lays below the surface here in Nuka Hiva. The next day we got invited to go on a little dive mission with some friends and, with conditions like these, how could we say no? - [Friend] Two, one, go. (gentle music) - [Brian] We descended into the murky water, which normally isn't a diver's favorite thing, but the large concentrations of plankton, which reduce the visibility, is also what makes diving in this region so special. Lots of large pelagic animals are attracted to these nutrient rich waters.

And mantas, hammerheads and melon-headed whales are known to frequent these dive sites. The reduced visibility also causes you to focus more acutely on what's right in front of you and we managed to spot some pretty unique macro life too. This was one of our cooler finds, a rare species of dragon moray that's endemic to the Marquesas Islands, meaning it's not found anywhere else in the world but here. we were impressed by all the cool little creatures we spotted, but the bigger animals had somehow alluded us. But, as if on cue to tick all of our boxes, just as we began our safety stop, we looked up and spotted a lone manta. - We're back on the boat and we're showered off.

Brian is having a post dive beer. - Dive beer. - Did you guys have fun? - We had so much fun. - What did you guys do? (gentle music) - This tiki looks like my mom.

- [Mormor] Look for them. - [Sierra] Don't eat my sunnies! - [Mormor] Over and out. - Over there and out.

And I not play tag. - You did not play tag. - We did not play tag. - You did everything except playing tag. The dive was really cool. - Mom! Play tag under the water? - No we didn't play tag- - But maybe next time.

I'll say, "Tag, you're it Mom." (Brian laughing) - Yeah underwater. - Underwater, that'd be funny, huh? - [Sierra] Yeah.

- And it's always just good to breathe- - Tag, you're it! - It's always good to breathe underwater. - Yeah. - No matter what. - It's amazing.

Now, beer sundowner. - That's it. Now we sit here and listen to the music from the shore. - [Mormor] Read a book.

- And read a book. - [Brian] And we're gonna play Tag. - [Kazza] Tag, you're it. (gentle music) The day has come. - Oh, don't talk about it.

(both laughing) Yes, the day is here. - [Kazza] Three weeks went so fast. - Yes. Crazy. And it's getting harder every time. - [Kazza] Yeah.

What's been your favorite part of the trip? - First of all, seeing you, camping with Sierra, the manta rays were once in a lifetime for me, to swim with the manta rays. That was just wonderful. And the festival was... The drums and the food and all the people and it has been fantastic.

So it's time for socks. - [Brian] Ew! - [Kazza] Sock time! - It was so funny because when I came here I had socks on and you said, "Mormor, do you have socks?" She found that so strange. Now it's socks time. Bye bye Delos. 'Til the next time we see you.

(speaking foreign language) - I miss you. - [Brian] You gonna miss Mormor? (speaking foreign language) - [Brian] You guys were good bunk mates, huh? The best. - We were bunkmates. The best bunkmates ever bunked in a bunk ever bunk. - Okay Mormor, we'll see you soon. Thank you for the amazing visit.

Next time we see you, we'll probably see you in Sweden. - Welcome to Sweden. - Sweoland. - Home to the cold.

Okay, I love you. (speaking foreign language) - [Brian] Bye, Mormor, we love you. - It's a little sad, huh? - I want to go with my Mormor.

(speaking foreign language) - We'll see her again soon, okay? - Yeah. - You a little sad? (speaking foreign language) (Sierra crying) - We love her. - We miss you! - I miss her too. - [Brian] That's tough, huh? - It's really tough. Definitely doesn't get easier to say goodbye, but wow, what an amazing visit we had. If you do like the video, please consider subscribing to our channel.

It really helps us out a lot. And next week we have some super exciting things happening. It's a little different episode, but it's gonna be super cool. And if you're dying from curiosity, all our patrons get our videos one week early and also ad free. And as a patron, you get access to a lot of other juicy details on what's coming up next for us. So really exciting and hopefully see you next week.

Bye. (both laughing) - Woo hoo!

2024-03-03 08:06

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