Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tahiti: Guests Arrive

[Kyle]From our anchorage at Taina, we needed to get clearance to pass the airport runway, and then hope Papeete Marina had a place (It is ideally located in downtown Papeete but runs on a first come first served, no reservations). Pulling up anchor was a bit of a pig (very stuck) and then we spent some time waiting on and then getting fuel at Marina Taina (This is the only place to get marine fuel in Papeete and there was a queue of boats hovering about waiting in line).

When we got to Papeete Marina, we found a spot, but it was a little bit of a race. There were two boats right behind us, so we pulled into the first slip we found. We didn’t want to risk having it taken while we looked for something more convenient - very happy. We spent most of our time there getting the boat guest-ready, followed by glorious cold (cold is lukewarm here) showers.

Our guests arrive and bring us Leis...

Once our guests Sarah and Geoffrey arrived, we finally got to do tourist stuff – the cathedral, the market, and the pearl museum as well as generally ambling around. Along the way we also managed to purchase some pearl jewelry. (Yes, Maryanne bought some Pearl jewelry). The Heiva was still going on. Today’s event was the Fruit Races. Coconuts were the favorite because they can roll. Whoops! No. Apparently, it’s a race of people carrying fruit. Participants lashed bundles of fruit onto either side of stout bamboo poles that they carried on one shoulder as they ran the race barefoot. Most of the loads weighed in at around 50 kilos (110lbs). One of the finishers let me have a go at shouldering his load. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I bet the weight seems to quadruple in the first few steps of the race. Few seemed to be able to run the whole race without slowing to a walk near the end. Maryanne particularly enjoyed the traditional garb, which generally offered less coverage than more modern running gear – at least for the men.

Fruit Carrying Races - quite the show
Maryanne tries out the lead vehicle

Following a brief awards ceremony, a Marquesan dance troupe performed their version of a Haka, which is exhausting to even watch. Then came the Tongan drummers and the Samoan fire dancers. Unlike the hotel shows, this performance was primarily for the locals, it was free, and it was fabulous. By the time the show ended Geoffrey and Sarah had only been in Tahiti for 14 hours, it would have been a great first day but there was more to do; we decided to go to what many have described as “the best French restaurant in Tahiti” – a fancy pizza joint (L’Api’zza). We finished the day with drinks in Begonia’s cockpit at the Marina, watching the passing foot and cycle traffic on the boardwalk. We needed no help sleeping after such a busy day.

And quite the show!

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