True to the Polynesian culture our gathering began in Papeete with flowers and blessings. At any gathering, beautiful young people stand at the entry and hand out flowers, usually a sweet smelling Tiare Tahiti gardenia, to place behind your ear (the ear you place it behind indicates whether you are "taken" or "available")! Looking beautiful and smelling sweet one's confidence is bolstered for mingling, learning new crafts and trying new foods. Of course the hypnotic dancing and music deepens one's Polynesian connection and readies you for love OR going to war!
Moving the party Polynesian style by boat onward to Moorea (remember South Pacific?), the tribe continued two more days of festivities with more flowers (leis and crowns), more ukuleles and dancing and typical sporting competitions- outrigger canoe races, coconut husking races, banana stalk hauling races and a race to the line-up for the traditional Polynesian feast! Slipping back out to our boats at night, away from the mosquitoes and no-nos on the beach, informal happy hours, potlucks and dinners were formed and reformed. It was as if we couldn't get enough of each other before we once again set sail to go our different ways.
Hard as it is to imagine, I think the next half of our trip is going to be even more exotic than the first half! We are headed off of the beaten path and are going to step into a world where communities are still ruled by Chiefs and trading is the major form of commerce. I have only been able to fathom our trip one leg at a time because each new stretch only felt doable to me after successfully accomplishing the previous stretch, which helped build muscle and confidence for the next. Excitement and courage for what is to come also is contagious, and caught from sharing stories with other cruisers! Comparing experiences, routes, local knowledge and knowing you might cross wakes with someone again draws me forward to the next island adventure!
Feeling very well celebrated and feeling like we celebrated others very well, we have ten (or so) days to complete our tour of the Society Islands. We have made and revised plans many times because even the best laid plans can't accommodate for how hard it is to leave a place that you are really enjoying! We are provisioned with food, water, fuel and gifts for the Chiefs and ready to leave when we "have to". In the meantime we will continue to do what we do best: make new friends, rendezvous with old friends, share stories and plan for all of those ports out there just waiting for discovery!
R of Rutea
At 6/30/2011 6:07 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 16°50.67'S 151°21.73'W
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