Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nuka Hiva Fun... Local Polynesian Dance Performance, waterfalls, and hanging out.

Hello Everyone,

I woke this morning to a view of blue cloudless sky, sun shinning down on a brown colored sandy beach in front of town and a local person running their horse back and forth across it and playing in the water... it's a nice way to wake up and enjoy your cup of coffee...

Well, we left Ua Huka and the beautiful, but rolly anchorage we had. Chris had ended up sleeping in the cockpit with the anchor alarm on because the surf was so big that night and the winds were averaging 15 - 20 knots with 25 - 30 knot gusts... we were afraid we were going to drag our anchor and end up on shore... It would have been a beautiful spot in calm weather, with the boogie boarding waves and great rocks to snorkel around, but we decided not to wait around for calmer weather and to make the 60 mile hike up to Nuka Hiva and decided to go into the main town of Taiohae. When we pulled into Taiohae Bay we realized we had to throw a stern anchor out... the only problem was that half the boats followed this rule and the other half didn't so we had to find a spot that when we put our stern anchor out another boat wouldn't come bumping into us during the night. We were able to anchor right off the pier which was really nice for at night. We went ashore to go and explore the islands and get our bearing on groceries, laundry, wifi, water and beach time. As it turns out all of what we needed was with in walking distance and really close to the pier.

We found Kevin at Nuka Hiva Yacht Services and he is very helpful to all the boaters that come into the bay and need assistance. He is a transplant from LA area and has lived here for several years. He is very helpful and resourceful to help you with what ever you may need. As he was going over the logistics he mentioned that the middle school was holding a fund raiser for the school Saturday night by throwing a Polynesian Dance Dinner.

We bought tickets at $20 a piece and it was money well spent. We all had the best time. When we got to the dinner hall they had reserved a table for Family Circus and our friends on Apropos to sit together.. It was a very small venue because it was only the locals that attended. There were a few of the cruisers that had bought tickets but the primary audience was the locals who all knew each other. It was really fantastic to see the dancers truly dancing for themselves and their friends. It wasn't a typical performance like you see in Hawaii where you have all the dancers who perform every night for the tourists. This was a local performance where the audience was friends and family. All the audience knew the words to the chants, and all the moves to the dances and they were all hollering along with the dancers and cheering them on. It was wonderful and all their smiles were completely contagious as they danced. It was hard not to wiggle in your seat and try to slap your thighs in rhythm of the drums. You really felt part of a small town and part of the local culture and history that they pass along to all their kids as they perform. All the kids were really mesmerized with the performances, especially the performances of the men. They are so loud and dramatic with the Marquesan Head dresses, tattoos, and grass skirts, loud leg slapping and clapping and chanting... It is really fun to watch. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. At the end of the performance there was a dance and the little girls went out and tried to mimic the hula dancers for about an hour. I think the locals were really getting a kick out of watching the little howlie girls dance.. Alina and Amaia looked like they had just stepped out of the 60's and were tossing flowers to the crowd.. and twirling in circles, holding their skirts out. About 30 minutes after the performance ended... the dancers came back out and did another dance for a grandma's birthday celebration, then they sang happy birthday to her in Marquesan, French, and with a final version in La, la, la's .... so everyone could sing together. It is truly nice how they try to make everyone feel welcome and at home in their culture.

As we were leaving we were all out in the parking lot and of course doing the head count since it is pitch black and wanted to make sure we had everyone.... Of course we were shy one child... and no this time it was not Amaia... Little Alina had disappeared and Mykaela and I went back into the hall to have a search for her... She was no where on the dance floor and we didn't find her in the gym anywhere... just as I was starting to panic a little... I looked up and found her out back with all the dancers from the performance. She some how had ended up outside in the back and when I got back there they were all taking pictures with her and trying to hoist her up into their arms to take pictures... It was so precious... they were all speaking to her in French and all she could say was Merci and Bonjour... so she was just looking at them smiling and doing what they said. I was able to snap a picture of two and of course found Tristan in with the hula girls to get a picture, at his resistance, of course. As we were leaving Alina ran back to the girls and gave them a big hug and said au revoir. She said they were her friends and that they had called her backstage to see them, so she went. Thank goodness we are in a community that places so much value on family and children that they rule the roost around the islands... It is so safe here and everyone looks out for each other... especially the children. (cant wait to be able to post some of these pictures!)

Nuka Hiva is a fantastic anchorage and since we have been out of villages and in such remote anchorages for so long... When we got into town and actually had to wait for a car to pass it seemed like a traffic jam and a little over whelming. You forget to look both ways for cars, horses, atv's or motorcycles that may be coming your way. We wondered through town in search for the ice cream of course and it was really funny to watch a few cars go by and then in between the cars a horse galloped by keeping up with the speed of traffic. (all the horse riders we have seen have been riding bareback!) I later found out that this wasn't unusual because I ended up seeing a few horses going through town, along with kids on bikes, people on ATV's, and dirt bikes getting their errands run. It seems to be the case that what ever you have to get you around goes and is fine as long as you are minding the rules... I wonder if Lafayette feels the same way... I can't quite imagine it!

We decided to move anchorages since the stores are all closed and the grocery stores are almost empty on the shelves anyway.. the supply ship will come on this tuesday so there should be more supplies in the stores starting Wednesday. So we headed out to Taioa Bay and are now at 08.57 S and 140.10 W. It is a beautiful bay and for those of you who are Survivor TV Series fans... we are anchored in the bay that they filmed the series at for the Marquesan episodes... We have spent today relaxing, swimming, and playing on the beach... it is an amazing anchorage with steep volcanic cliffs on all sides and a deep valley with a waterfall that we will be visiting tomorrow with a few of the other boats that we have met today while playing in the water. Chris and Tristan and I spent the afternoon playing Gin Rummy and every time I looked up it was so magical to see these tremendous black cliffs that rise straight up from our anchorage to heights of 1500 feet. There are little white birds that fly around them and really stand out from the contrast of the black volcanic rock and the green vegetation. Tomorrow when we go up to the waterfall we will be going with 4 other boats possibly. It is fun because they all have kids and it will be a big multi-cultural group, Italians, French, Americans, Belgians, and Australians... I love to hear all the kids switching languages between other kids and parents. Alexia and Tristan are truly impressed with these boat kids that can speak 3 different languages and they are only 12.

Chris and I have decided to stay here on Nuka Hiva for probably about at least a week. This seems so short.. a few of the boaters that we met today have been cruising this island alone for about 3 weeks to a month... I can see how easy that would be. I wish that we had more time to hang out and do this but unfortunately we are on a schedule with so many amazing places to see that we need to keep moving and discovering... I guess there could be bigger problems and decisions to have.

Hugs and love to all,


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