Here's a run down on the Hipnautical world tour ;-)
We sailed out of Ventura Ca. Nov 2007 & arrived in La PazMexico 10 weeks later.There we performed at a restaurant club near Marina de La Paz at Chaio Molino's for a number of gigs, there the owner was eager to make us a long term regular; the offers made it hard to leave.We were soon encouraged to perform a show case concert across the 'Magote' peninsula on the sand for a large crowd of international & local sailing cruisers, with a stunning sunset capping of the performance.It was during this performance we noticed the harp had developed a very scary crack in the thick wood of the harmonic curve. We endeavored a repair not unlike repairing an old boat using fiberglass & a special master wood grade epoxy supplied to us by wood working expert.The repair was artfully painted over to hide the fix, this art work has added much character & charisma to Bobbie’s harp.
Leaving La Paz we then sailed up the Sea of Cortez where we spent the hot Mexican summer keeping an eye out for the numerous hurricanes that blow thru there each year.Along the way we would often perform 'cockpit concerts' on our boat with a boat load of fellow cruisers.The most notable ‘cockpit concert’, was in La Gringo Bay near Bahia de Los Angles where every boater that was still cruising in the hot Mexican summer braving the up & coming hurricanes had gathered here in this bay for a full moon party which lasted all day with water activities & we supplied the music all night. Just before sunset nearly 20 little ship’s tenders were rafted all around our boat, passing around potluck snacks & enjoying every note.
One very unique musical performance was in the hurricane hole Puerto Don Juan.All the cruisers within a hundred mile fled to this natural harbor to take shelter from the approaching hurricane Norbert.We had days to wait while the winds were picking up, getting a bit bored by being boat bound, one of the cruisers made a call to the fleet to have a VHF radio party with nautical themed Jeopardy like game, we raffled off some cheap prizes for the one who could answer some ridiculously anal retentive yachty questions & we were asked to perform some nautical song over the VHF radio.With less than a half an hour to go I was inspired to write two new songs for the occasion.I had gotten the inspiration to write a few funny nautical songs sang to the tune of other popular songs in the ‘Weird Al Yankovic style, which turned into the begging’s of a long line of these semi original songs.To the tune of the Eagle’s ‘Desperado’, we sang ‘Dead Dorado’, a love song to my favorite fish & Blowin’ in the wind, a Dylan song that just required the verses to be altered.These nautically themed spoof songs became highly requested in the many concerts to follow over the next few years, in fact halfway around the world while in New Zealand playing the Bay of Islands Marina Café, a table of salty cruisers (like us) had heard us play Dead Dorado while in Mexico & made the request ;-)
Once the hurricane season was over we made our way south to La Cruz near Puerto Vallarta where we gathered with other cruisers getting ready to make the big ‘puddle jump’ to the Marquises, a 3000 mile voyage lasting nearly a month long.We performed a few times there at the La Cruz yacht club with the last concert a very memorial.Rafael, the operations manager encouraged us to perform a Pacific Puddle Jumper concert as a send off to the fleet of cruising boats.Their yacht club is a glorious ‘in the round’ lounge with perfect acoustics.We were well received when we played a full two hours of all nautically based songs to an attentive audience.
We made the long passage to the Marquises & then thru the very remote Tuamotus atolls, performing the occasional cockpit concerts; these were very remote places that in most places we were the only boat around so we just wrote music inspired by the amazing beauty of the various tropical islands we visited.We played a few cockpit concerts in Tahiti & Moorea, then when we arrive in Bora Bora, an English man that had been aboard for one of our cockpit concerts saw us approaching the Bora Bora Yacht club & got Teeva, the owner to come out in his fancy launch boat & offer us a gig that night!So in less than two hours of sailing into Bora Bora we were performing at the very popular Bora Bora Yacht Club, home of the island’s finest chief & world renowned restaurant club.We played there 2ce a week for a few weeks & soon was offered a very lucrative gig at the Bora Bora Hilton but we needed to keep sailing on to avoid the cyclone season; another regrettable departure.
Sailing over 700 miles west of Bora Bora we made landfall at Suwarrow Island, a small atoll in the mid of nowhere…actually a few thousands miles west of nowhere.This was the home of kiwi’s Tom Neale, the author of ‘An Island to Oneself’ about his account of living the hermit life by himself on a tropical island.He’s long gone but there is a care taker John that lives with his family to watch over the place half the year.A few times a week we would host music jam nights & have cruiser pot luck parties.Soon sailed in a cruiser friend with a crew of an engaged couple that were sailing around in search of the perfect paradise to get married; they found it there on Suwarrow.A wedding was planned & Veronica, the care takers Cook island wife taught the other cruiser gals to weave native palm frond decorations & within a few days a glorious tropical wedding arch was created along with enough other woven decorations to line the palm lined pathways from the rustic gather place to the small beach where the wedding was to take place.Bobbie was asked to perform for the wedding ceremony, a service she has done for years on Los Angeles.This was the very first wedding ever to be performed on this very remote atoll & Bobbie Jo was the first harp player to ever perform there as well; it was an enchanting performance to be cherished forever.It had been raining for days prior & was still raining a half an hour before the vows were to begin.Everyone assembled anyway with some one holding an umbrella for Bobbie.Just as Bobbie Jo began to play the Beatles song ‘Here Comes the Sun’, the clouds opened up just where the sun was & performed a glorious sunset for the wedding party; it gave everyone goose bumps, the caretakers spoke of divine intervention & gave their thanks to the powers that be.
Pago Pago in American Samoa was our next stop, where we had the intimate pleasure of performing at Tisa’s Barefoot Bar, on a remote beach in a village that Tisa’s family has lived in for over 150 years.There they feature the best umu we’ve have ever had in all of Polynesia. The umu is a buried in the ground feast which days to prepare, over 80 banana leaves are required for their average feast.Fresh seafood including lobster, octopus, shell fish & many other types of fish are all collected right out front of their Beach Bar, the pigs & goats are brought from their plantation nearby.After we performed our music Tisa’s grandchild performed the dance of their village which portrays their ancestral heritage.
Western Samoa was our next stop where we performed a few cockpit concerts & dock parties; we made impressions there that would later brings us gigs later on down the line.
The northern group of Tongan islands was our next stop.Niuatoputapu was a very remote island with the villagers living the same life style as they have been for millennia.We were invited to play music for a family having an umu feast for their friends & a few cruisers that were also anchored there.We played at two of these feasts, the other one being at a private resort on the other side of the island.We were also treated to the heavenly harmonies of the families singing songs of their islands heritage.
We then sailed to Vava’u Tonga, where we performed 2 to 3 nights a week a waterfront clubs.We played a few times a week at the Mermaid club, home of the Vava’u Yacht Club where the manager Nofo was delighted with our music. Mike & Lori, the owners of the Aquarium Café made us feel like royalty when we played once or twice a week for our enter stay of 6 weeks that first season.
After sailing the long & treacherous passage from Tonga to New Zealand we quickly made impressions with the owner of the Marina Café in the Bay of Islands where we were very well received by pack audiences thru out our season there.We were invited to perform a concert at the Pompallier, a national heritage foundation event in the quaint city of Russell.Bobbie Jo also played her harp at an exclusive art gallery “Just Imagine” for the owner Chris as a double feature with an art opening showing.
After our six months in New Zealand, we sailed back up to Tonga & three months performing at the Aquarium Café, now Vava’u’s premiere live performance venue.We sailed for Fiji where we performed at the Savu Savu Yacht Club, then a number of performances at the VundaPointMarina. One was a marathon 6 hour gig, the longest we’ve ever played before.
The most remarkable experience playing our music was at remote island villages in Fiji, way off the beaten track & accessible only by boat.We sailed into Naiviivi Bay on the remote island of Qamea & it looked to be sparsely populated with just a few modest island homes in sight, but at night we heard quite a procession of voices; some boisterous, some shouting, some singing, accompanied by percussive sounds.The next day Bobbie & I went ashore to great the village chief with our gift offering of kava root.Once ashore we discovered that most of the people of the village were tucked behind the thick lush tropical foliage; it turned out to be quite a large village after all.The next day I took a kayak ride up the various rivers through mangrove forest.After traveling for some time I began to hear island music, then rounding a bend in the small river I came upon a hidden village with over 15 houses & a traditional meeting house where the prominent villagers where having a gathering.A young man dressed in the traditional sulu wrap saw me & came out to call me over for some kava. In the old days, in such a remote location, a pale faced ‘palangi’ would be considered quite a treat as ‘the other white meat’ on this previous cannibal island but young man was the grand son of this village’s chief & welcomed me into the royal kava circle.We slugged back coconut shells full of kava for a long time while we sang along with their local musicians & exchanged some guitar songs; jamming with these locals was quite an impressive memory.
The next day Bobbie performed her harp at the local school in which all the kids from the several villages hidden within the bay attend.It was quite touching to see these kids hearing & seeing the harp for the first time.The following day the whole school put on a grand performance just for us, complete with freshly made lei necklaces.The boys acted out their traditional maka dance complete with spears & shields; very impressive warrior dances that portrayed their ancestral history, particularly the wars & fighting of their long ago home island prior to seeking out this particular village over 100 years ago.The girls performed lovely singing along with smooth flowing hand movements; quite the enchanting performance.
That night we were invited to the village that we first heard the loud boisterous voices; the cannibal island villagers were restless.Turns out they were rehearsing their village maka dances for a performance at a resort on a nearby island.We joined them & their chief in countless coconut cups of kava while they performed their maka dances.Later we were encouraged to play our music & the villagers were as mesmerized by our music as we were with theirs.One song in particular ‘One Tin Soldier’, with it’s story of the valley villagers attacking the mountain people to steal their precious treasure only to find their treasure was just a shrine that ‘Peace on Earth’; this song had them amazingly captivated & we were asked to sing a total of three times that night.
The most emotional departure ever was when we sailed out of NaiviiviBay.The entire school & every villager came out to the shore line to bid us farewell; we left a big part of our soul there & vows to return someday.We then sailed to an even more remote island called YancuaIsland in the Budd Reef group of islands.There we were greeted by Will, the son of this island’s chief.We presented our ‘Suva Suva’ gift of kava & he presented us with pancakes!After a couple of days of exploring a blown out volcano & spear fishing for lobster & other fishies, we went ashore & performed a mini concert for this very tiny village.Again the kava bowl is the prominent fixture of all tropical island gatherings & they know how to make it strong here.The young kids sat up front & looked at us like were ghosts, angles or some kind of other worldly beings.Even though we’re pretty tan from years of sailing the tropics, we must have been the palest peoples they’ve ever seen; the kept touching our skin to see if we were real, just like I read from Captain Cook’s voyages so many years ago.The kava kept coming & we kept playing late into the night.We were very moved by these humble & gracious islanders, that night of music & kava was indeed the most remarkable experience in our lives.
After Fiji we sailed back to New Zealand to play at the Marina Café & soon were offered the opportunity to play a concert for a very large group of fellow cruisers at grand house over looking the bay.We were very well received by an attentive audience & captivated by our stories of how each song was inspired.
We then sailed south to Nelson for the last few months of our sailing adventures, voyaging to remote areas which each morning I would play new instrumental guitar work influenced by wondrous beauty that we found ourselves in.Just before it was time to sail away to Australia to sell the boat, we found a buyer, made a quick low ball sale & we all fly here to Maui to put our son back into a regular school & follow our musical dreams here in our new paradise.
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