In sailing, an upwind journey into heavy seas is known as "a beat", mostly because that's how you're going to feel at the end of it: beaten, thoroughly exhausted, irritable, perhaps a bit woozy. Even if you're an experienced seaman this is to be expected, it's part of the game. We departed Nuku Hiva sailing into twenty-five knots of wind for the first time since departing Palma de Majorca last year. After pounding the waves for ninety relentless miles we arrived in the islands of Tahuata and Hiva Oa. Magnificent in their shear lack of human habitation, drenched in the sort of wild exotic Polynesian magic that fills the fantasies of day dreamers everywhere, and yet here we are. Suffering through tough conditions in order to ascend into paradise is becoming a theme on this journey, but all the better, if it was easy to get here we would currently be anchored off a Four Seasons or Club Med instead of a deserted beach romantic enough to appear in a feature film.
English, yes I write in English, the language of my birth, however more and more I find myself thinking in Italian, in the Latin vernacular to be more precise. It's permeated my daily life for the past several months, sneaking into the crevices and recesses, it has captured my consciousness, shaping gently my daily speech; per parlare più dolcemente...to speak more sweetly. To make small efforts each day, to try to express, even when communicating something quite mundane, the affection we all feel for each other. When a group of people spend as much time together as we have aboard this boat, traversing first the Western Mediterranean Sea, then the Atlantic Ocean, followed by the Caribbean Sea, the Panama Canal, and most recently the South Pacific, a sum of eleven thousand nautical miles sailed thus far, being at each others throats by now would be expected, but there is something special about being together on this yacht, a yacht called "Feelin' Good". It's as if, when we do start getting on each others nerves, her soft voice speaks to us; ragazzi, aspettate, parlate più dolcemente.
The easy charm of Antigua feels like a forever time ago. It wasn't until we'd fully crossed the Caribbean Sea and reached the San Blas that we could relax back into Cruising Mode, resting at anchor, waking each morning without an agenda, without a watch schedule or heavy safety regime hanging over us, it was lovely but all too brief. Soon we were off again, sailing heavy seas, navigating through a thick hive of commercial traffic as we approached the Canal Zone. Then we were pushing on to the Galápagos, where we found ourselves under the bureaucratic thumb of government authorities, pressing down on everything we did, constantly dictating where we were not allowed to go. All the restrictions made enjoying the experience difficult, shrouding the wonders of the place in shadow. When we set off to cross the Pacific it felt like an escape, yes we were free, ha ha, we are free.
Cruising mode, finalmente arriviamo! It's taken a week for all of us to unwind, to soften the grip, but what a place to relax, my god it's beautiful here in the Marquesas, a truly amazing paradise. Yesterday we went snorkeling, Andrea took along his Polynesian style fishing spear and deftly captured a large octopus which Carmen currently has simmering in a pot as I write this...cena squisita questa sera. In honor of Carmella, Carmen, our Carmensita...I have designed a cocktail especially for her. It consists of three measures Grey Goose Vodka combined with one measure fine quality Chartreuse; into a cocktail shaker full to the very brim with ice and shake vigorously until the top of the shaker is frosted over, then gently pour into a martini glass garnished with a thin slice of fresh cucumber. The result is complex, slightly sweet, very feminine, but also incredibly strong, a drink you will want to sip slowly for a long time. I call it "The Teeny-weeny Green Bikini", ha ha, yes we do keep ourselves occupied. Other projects include our latest video, which I have just recently completed. It's currently in limited release in France, as our dear Pitiou took a fresh copy back home with him. We're hoping the next island of Fatu Hiva will have a strong enough connection to upload: Feelin' Good Pacific Passage 2015, which features some superb drone shots, and Go Pro athleticism by Pitiou; pretty cool.
I bite into the delicate juiciness of a Pomelo, a relative of the Grapefruit, this particular variety of Pomelo grown here in the Marquesas is very large and sweet and the local people like to give them as welcome gifts. We have several on board, fresh from the tree; the flavor laced with the perfume of jungle flowers that always seem to be blooming here. There is a tremendous spirit of hospitality amongst the people who live on these remote islands, Giamma and Carmen were walking on the beach when a local man stopped them to visit and invited them to a BBQ he was making. He was not interested in money, only to socialize and have a bit of company for dinner.
Afterwards Giamma gave him some tobacco, a lighter and the papers to make cigarettes, the man was very happy, and wanted to express his appreciation, he pulled out a bottle of white wine that had been sitting in the sun for some time, "drink with me, drink like a man!" This is a difficult situation, on the one hand Giamma wanted very much to be hospitable, however, to ask an Italian to drink hot white wine is asking a lot! Diplomacy reigned in the end, Giamma made a toast, and drank some of the most unusual hot wine he has ever had... Ah the hydraulic is running, soon we will be lifting anchor and sailing for the next island, la prossima fermata, ciao! Ci vediamo dopo da Feelin' Good!
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