August 11, 2015
At Tahuata Island in Vaitahu Bay we used our boat swing. It was really fun, but it was difficult at first because Bryce, Mom and I had to set up the swing without Dad’s help. We first had to pull out the spinnaker pole that is attached to the mast, which is a bit challenging. Then we had to attach the thick swing rope to the end of it. Once that was secure, we had to raise the spinnaker pole as high as it could go and then tie it off. The last thing we had to do was set-up two “preventers” [guys] to make sure the pole would not sway from side to side. We needed the pole to stay in place hanging directly perpendicular to the boat, placing us, the swingers, out as far as possible from the boat.
Once everything was ready we stepped up onto the kayak propped up on it’s side on the deck and jumped off. We got to swing as much as we wanted. Bryce and I first sat on the swing’s bottom knot. Then we stood on the knot and dove into the water jumping off the knot pushing off with our feet. That’s all I could do, but Bryce could also perform a back flip off the rope. The rope swing was set-up for three days. The day after the first day, I was terribly sore from swinging so much, but it didn’t matter. I was determined to swing as much as possible while the swing was set-up.
The last day, a Marquesan dad we’d never met before motored over to our boat on a small fishing boat with his son and daughter. He explained that his children wanted to play with us on the swing while he went to check his fishing stuff. My dad said it was okay and that we would bring the kids back to shore at noon, about an hour and a half, when we had to leave for shore. The kids were very nice. The little boy was 7 and the girl was 9. They were curious about the boat so we gave them a tour. I thought they were brave to hang out with us, having never met us before. We played together on the swing until it was time to leave back to shore. The dad gave us some grapefruit as a thank you.
by Trent Rigney
Editor’s Note: Vaitahu (translation “water fire-igniter”) is historically significant for the Marquesas. The first documented European to visit the Marquesas, a Spanish explorer, landed here in 1595, naming the archipelago after his benefactor’s wife. The second European to visit, British Capt. Cook, made landfall here in 1774. The French admiral, Dupetit-Thouars, in 1842, after fighting a successful battle for the chief of Vaitahu, signed a treaty with the chief annexing all of the Marquesas to France. Vaitahu, as I understand correctly, is reportedly the only Marquesan valley owned by France, such that the inhabitants lease the land upon which the build their homes. In the other valleys, private parties own the land.