My amazing husband managed to bake a frosted covered brownie cake in an non functional oven. It involved stopping the oven, taking the thermo coupler out, start again and repeat 4 times. He has many skills, and patience is one of them.
We have been hanging out in the largest town in the Marquesas, Taiohae on the island of Nuku Hiva for a few days. Yes, there is a road and we have seen cars, but it is still tiny. The petit quai where you dare to land your dinghy has one snack (small restaurant), and close by is another snack, where we had lunch and picked up wifi to post our pictures on FB. We did buy a simcard for our phone, but the signal in the Marquesas is dismal, equal to dial up modem of our SSB.
We have indulged ourselves in ice cream here, all imported, nothing local, and baguettes. The latter is the only food item that is cheap, $0.7 per baguette. Everything else is USD or much more (the pharmacy wanted $6 for 10 pills of 400 mg generic Ibuprofen!). Most people grow their own food, have their own chickens for eggs, and a fair amount gets subsidized by France. We have been able to pick up some fresh produce, and some mediocre French cheese.
Last Friday we splurged on a car rental for 24 hrs to go inland. It's dense, lush, very clean, saw wild pigs, and visited an ancient site. Polynesian tribes once numbered approximately 100,000 people when Captain Cook visited the islands in the 18th century. Sadly, after this time the indigenous population was decimated by western contact and diseases brought from Great Britain and Europe. The current population is about 6000.
Tod and I indulged in the A/C of the car, couldn't get enough of it, and I don't even like A/C in the US most of the time! We took a late afternoon nap back aboard, then headed out for happy hour at the fancy Pearl lodge. The setting was beautiful, gorgeous view of the bay, and made up for the lack in quality cocktails and food. We have now explored all 4 eating places in this town. The night before we wanted to check out the recommended pizza place,and took a 30 min walk in town, across the bay. On the way there, I asked several people for directions, as it seems further than I had imagined. When we arrived, no signs of Belle Pizza, just another place, and a very friendly woman explained the owners had left for Tahiti... apparently, stores/shops close without much notice, and nobody could tell us when we asked for directions.
A few more days on Nuku Hiva, waiting for a boat part (thanks Jak!) to arrive, then onto the Tuamotus later this week. This archipelago of 78 coral atolls will be another 500 miles away (5 sailing days), and are described as the dangerous archipelago, due to their low lying character which makes them visible only when a boat is within 8 miles. Most boat wrecks in the south Pacific have happened there (think Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki). We plan to visit just a few, well-marked atolls, but still, need to be very careful in entering and leaving the lagoons due to extreme currents, and we can only enter the lagoons during daylight with the sun directly overhead for visibility.
Funny postscript related to a parental error on my part: Tessa loves the " I survived" audio books, a mixture of non-fiction and fiction. She listened to "I survived the Titanic" back at home, and never during our trip did she mention it or got scared that Bliss might sink. So I downloaded another title in the series " I survived a grizzly attack", and boy did that haunt her last night. My fearless girl woke us up in the middle of the night, worried that there might be a grizzly bear coming aboard! This morning she made the smart choice to delete the book from the tablet, but one hour later regretted it..good we have no more internet for weeks again.