Going native

Oh I’ve heard the rumors. Even here in Papeete the buzz is audible. Starts with lots of verbiage about the noble savage, a little talk about Captain Cook and his illustrator, maybe a fascination with people and tattoos and before you can blink, we both have ink. Well Escapees, we have not gone native. It turns out we do have a profound appreciation for the Polynesian culture and its people, driven to explore and build monumental architecture of stone with stone tools. We’ve seen going native and it’s not so compelling. There’s a couple of rum-soaked Frenchmen that could dissuade anyone from jumping ship. 

That said we’ve a few, let’s agree to call them mementos, that we take great comfort in. It’s like having a few touchstones like a tee shirt, a black pearl or two, maybe a cup. Ok, there is a presence aboard that’s difficult to explain, kind of like an energy source. Growing, pulsing, it speaks to me…let me back up a bit. 

Back in 2013 we’d just completed our passage to St Thomas, US Virgins, and I met an old friend of Marce’s who  circumnavigated twenty years ago. While at his house high above Magen’s Bay I noticed two beautifully carved wooden club-like items above his mantel and he explained that they were Polynesian war clubs that he picked up on the way through. They spoke to me then and I still hear them today. I vowed right there if I were lucky enough to make it to the Marquesas I would find one. 

Well…it took a while but I found one for sale in Nuku Hiva and it shares space in a padded case with Marce’s backpack guitar. I don’t think it minds, but every few days I feel compelled to unzip the case and run my hands over the classic Marquesian carvings. Is it wrong, my precious? I don’t think so.  



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2 Responses to Going native

  1. Dave Kent

    Cool looking carvings. Is something like that vintage or recently made?

    • It’s new, but the carvers pass down traditional designs. Wood carving and tattooing are the most common forms of art in the Marquesas and the designs are similar.

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