Field trip into Hatiheiu

After growing fat and sassy for several days on the Anaho beach, I craved exercise and hiked with Anne (Oso) over the ridge to the town on the other side. We scouted the magazin (general store), scared off a few goats from the main thoroughfare, and wandered through the tiki statues at the waterfront. The restaurant in town, Chez Yvonne, is rumored to be among the best in the Marquesas…dinner for a crowd the following night was arranged, with a traditional pig roasted in an underground oven as the main course.
The next afternoon, all 28 members of six different boats piled onto Oso Blanco for the cruise over. The 45 minute transit seemed easier than our 90 minute hike over the ridge…that is, until we had to get everyone into shore! The quai is a steep set of slippery concrete steps, washed over with a substantial surge. A system was arranged, and Jamie took everyone in our dinghy (brought for the purpose) to shore in five trips- helping hands on shore lifted passengers with each surge. Last ashore were Jamie and Eric, who anchored the dinghy out and then kayaked in.
Roast pig party in Hatiheiu
We arrived early enough to explore in town a little before watching the pig be unearthed from the underground oven (umu). Hot rocks and coals slowly cooked the pig during the day. Sandwiched in layers of banana leaves, then covered in burlap and earth, the residual heat was surprising.
pig...fresh from the umu
What a feast! We’ve been looking forward to trying traditional food, but I didn’t know I’d enjoy it so much. Packed in with the meltingly tender pork were breadfruit wedges and bananas. Both of these are very starchy: breadfruit has the taste and texture of a potato, and the bananas were similar to plantains- but sweeter, and just transformed into delicious, smoky mouthfuls by the umu. More breadfruit (fried chunks, and fritters) and tapioca mashed with herbs and garlic were served alongside. Coconut sauce to pour on top was passed around; trays of fish and shrimp were brought for the non-pork-eaters, and all was washed down with pitchers of fresh lemonade or an icy Hinano beer. The excellent company capped an unforgettable evening with the crews of Capaz, Riga, Mulan, Oso and Nika.

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