Mission Océan: Raising pollution awareness in the Marquesas Islands

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Who:                          Laura & Henrique

Where:                        From Panama to Tahiti

Multihull:                   Fountaine Pajot


We were presented with huge bags of mangoes, grapefruit, star fruit and coconuts. So, it was only natural that we would want to offer something in return to the Marquesans. We continued our program of raising awareness about marine pollution, in Atuona’s three schools. From elementary through high school, the schools group together the children of Hiva Oa and also several neighboring islands. Before starting, we ran a little workshop on the beach for children who were on the boats that were anchored there. Together with kids from Norway, Sweden, Belgium, France, New Zealand (and others) we scoured the sand looking for micro-plastics, before cleaning up the beach. On the Marquesas, lessons begin early. We were picked up on the fishermen’s quayside at sunrise, and were then driven to the village, where the children were waiting impatiently. There were several workshops and they all went well. We were struck by the children’s knowledge of the maritime environment, yet we still managed to surprise them with our samples of plankton and micro-plastics that we had taken in the bay and then studied under our “low-tech” microscope. When we were doing our grocery shopping, we noticed that saranwrap was very often used to package food on the island. We therefore taught the children to replace this with homemade cotton covers, in turn covered in beeswax (there are lots of hives on the Marquesas). At the elementary school the Principal offered us fruits from the garden and invited us to watch a dance. We were transfixed watching a show about little warriors which really instilled a fascination in us for Marquesan culture. After three weeks on Hiva Oa, we left for the neighboring island of Tahuata where another school was waiting for us.

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