I have wanted a tattoo for a long time…but I wanted it to mean something. Nothing ever felt right to permanently affix to my body. I made it through college without any poor decision tattoos. I knew someday the time and place would be right. When we started seriously talking about cruising and crossing the Pacific ocean, I decided a Marquesian tattoo would be a great badge of courage. Well, we made it across the ocean and it was time to start searching for a tattoo artist. The larger towns had tattoo parlors and numerous cruisers were getting their own badge of courage….but none of it felt right. I wanted a more traditional feel. One of the cruising guides we had talked about a guy named Fati who lived on Tahuata island in the village of Vaitahu… The book mentioned that Fati was thought of as one of the best tattooist in the Marquesian Islands. So we went to Vaitahu bay and started our search for Fati. The little map of the village was not accurate, so in horrible French we started asking around about Fati. Apparently Fati is a popular Marquesian name meaning big or large. The first Fati we found offered to trade for fruit, but said he was not tattoo Fati. He did know where he lived though and told us enthusiastically how high up in the mountains tattoo Fati lived. Fruity Fati thought it was a good 2 km straight up😯 It was high noon and hot as hell. We almost gave up, but in the end started the hot ass trek to find tattoo Fati. A quarter of a mile up we ran into a local kid and asked him where Fati’s house was. He said not far, I’ll show ya. Total distance was maybe a 1/2 mile walk…maybe we shouldn’t asked for distances from men named Fati. Anywho, tattoo Fati is a super nice man. He spoke no English and us no french…but it all worked out. We would come to his house tomorrow to talk about tattoos. As we were heading out we heard a whistle and saw Fati flagging us down. Turns out he didn’t know that “tomorrow” was the Lord’s day (Sunday for all you heathens😉). His wife very adamantly told him so and that he had agreed to cook for the island children who had just had their communion. He asked us to come and that we could do the tattoos the next day. C’est Bon! Meanwhile, while walking around town we saw some other cruiser’s who looked like they had new tattoos. We went to their boat and talked with them. They did indeed get their tattoos from Fati and they were amazing. The boats name was s/v Letitgo, they were French and had also been invited to a kaikai (meal) at Fati’s house. The next day we met up with Letitgo and headed up the mountain. The meal was great and was served out on the lenai. Thank goodness Letitgo was their to translate and help us with explaining what we wanted for tattoos. Fati is an original Marquesian tattooist. He wants to hear your story and then creates a tattoo for you in his mind. He needs a night to think it over, and when you show up the next day he sketches it out for you on your chosen body part. For me it was my ankle (one of the most painful places). I wanted an inch wide band that represented our crossing and a few other personal things. The next day we went to Fati’s and his lenai had been transformed from eatery to tattoo parlor. As I laid out on the same table that I had ate at last night looking out at the mountains and lush valley, I realized that we had found the special experience we were looking for. Even more amazing was that we found out that Fati had tattooed friends who went cruising 2 years before us on s/v Estrelita 5.0. As I cringed and took the pain (these things aren’t licked on by kittens people), my badge of courage transformed into a beautiful piece of art that I would have with me for the rest of my life. Thank you Fati and the crew of Letitgo! I love my tattoo.
Weather where we are.
Miles sailedSince 11 May 13