Now that we made it and we've got a month or so behind us, I thought I would give you the real "skinny" on what we've seen so far. I know there are a lot of cruisers in Mexico dying to hear how it "really is" (because they've already asked). So here goes...
I think I stand by everything I wrote on our passage. I wasn't holding anything back and really did have a good time. I've been reading other blogs of people who left before and after we did and I think I've found just a few variables...1) the weather from Mexico to the trades - we had a good time of it, some others seem to have a lot of seasickness 2) the winds at the equator - we had to motor a few days, others were there over a week, and still others had to slow their boat down so they could swim across. 3) tolerance and adjectives - It appears the rest of the weather (as described in various blogs) was relatively the same as us but either the tolerance levels were different, the boats handled it differently, or some know way more adjectives than I do for what we're seeing out there (I think we're probably just not that deep)...I don't know. I would say if you're trying to guess how you would handle it, pick the author you're most like and go from there.
The Marquesas themselves were different than I expected. Andy and I talked on our passage over about how we didn't have any expectations, but that proved to be wrong...we did, we just didn't know it. I think we expected it to be dryer (weather wise) and we expected the water to be clearer with lots more swimming, snorkeling and diving. And I for one, expected a lot of beaches. I read a blog (Totem, I think?) where they talked about the passage being like the three trimesters of a pregnancy - the first third you feel kind of crappy, the second you're elated and enjoying every minute, the third you just want it over with. I would take that a bit further and say a certain percentage of women would find they developed post partem-like (sp?) depression after landing in the Marquesas. The journey is over only to find out you really didn't plan for the destination at all. Your family and friends are much further away than you imagined and you're alone (perception anyway) in a place that you know nothing about. I met at least 4 other women who had a hard time with the first few weeks as well. But not to worry, chat amongst others and rely on your partner for a few good pep talks and all will pass soon (like when you find that one sandy beach that really does exist).
We expected more trading. I think we're here about 10 years too late for that. They understand the value of the Franc and there are so many cruisers and dare I say tourists, here, they can be choosey. We were able to trade a few things but I think it was more the novelty of it than anything that we enjoyed. Perhaps if we went to more of the remote villages...not sure. We didn't hear of a lot of others trading either.
I think if were here without a child, we would have done more hiking. If you're coming with a child, consider age before setting your expectations. Most hikes were at least an hour, mostly longer and the last one we didn't do at Daniel's Bay had four river crossings (chest high with slippery rocks). It just wasn't feasible with a small child. Seeing as hiking is one of my favorite outdoors type activity, I wasn't prepared for this. But I'm working on new ways to motivate Jake (note the addition of Jelly Bellies to our last hike)!!!
I have tons to say but I can see I'm getting rather wordy. I hope I touched on enough things that would be helpful for setting expectations for some future puddle jumpers. If not, at least our families get a clearer picture of what we're doing!
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