Fatu Hiva- purple tongues and waterfalls

We arrived with the last afternoon light, the sculptural Virgin’s Bay beautiful and golden again for my second visit. Anchoring was difficult because the small, narrow bay was packed with boats and the bottom is rocky. After a few attempts, Teresia’s anchor held and we could sleep.

In the morning we watched the local soccer game by the beach and chatted with sailors who’d just arrived after their Pacific crossing. Alongside the soccer field amongst the spectators, a baby sat tucked into blankets inside a wheelbarrow, an ingenious alternative to a baby carriage.

I walked with Alex through town and bought a bar of dark chocolate at the tiny corner store on our way to the waterfall. This visit felt more relaxing and enjoyable the second time around. As we crossed the river I spotted a mossy human shaped petroglyph carved in a large rock.

Coconut palm trees swayed in airy well-maintained groves, red hibiscus bushes laden with flowers danced in the breeze, things felt easy, beautiful and peaceful. We hollered loud at the waterfall to hear our echo and swam in the cool pool below.

On the way back to the dock, a local lady named Angel beckoned us to her yard and we chatted about her kids who were living abroad, one in the French military was posted in Senegal. Her five rugged dogs watched us warily from the hillside alongside her humble home. She gave me a sprig of fresh basil from her bush and told me to put it behind my ear.

We wandered back to the harbor and sat on a bench under some fruit trees. A bunch of kids came over and asked if I had candy. I brought the chocolate bar out and gave it to them. They had hungry eyes, looking at me and sizing me up to see what else they could get from me. The alpha girl asked me if I wanted to trade anything for fruit in a fast, aggressive way.

Luckily a soccer player came over and invited us to play with them. We walked to the field and Alex played with a few older guys and kids. I sat with a wife and her young baby. We ate pistache fruits, their eggplant colored astringent skin and bright violet sweet flesh turned our toungues rosy purple.

Two curious, kind and mellow girls sat with us on the smooth boulders. One had styled her shiny black hair beautifully, with a thin braid looped atop her hair gathered into a low bun adorned with pearl tipped pins. She left a long slightly curled lock apart from the bun to hang down her back. The other girl twirled around us on her mountain bike.

As we finished one round of pistache fruits, the girls walked over to the tree nearby and climbed it, filling their shirts with fruit. The pace of everything was slowed down in an easy relaxing way. I don’t know if the fruits or the environment had more of an effect on me but I felt deeply happy and calm, as if drugged.

Behind us the river pooled before trickling into the sea. Teens and kids swam in the sweet water pool. Kids laughed and played soccer. Older boys with boogie boards caught waves breaking on the rocks. A slightly closed yellow coastal hibiscus flower fell into the glassy pool, sending ripples out.

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