Hiveaa Dance and Drum Festival
07/24/2009, Bora-Bora, Fench Polynesia
After many weeks of hearing the drums, we finally got to see one of the dancing troupes perform. We are in the middle of Hiveaa Festival, which showcases dance and drum troupes from all of the Polynesian Islands. This is our last night in French Polynesia, so what a fitting send off for us. The dancers were from Rappa Nue, or Easter Island, and put on a energetic show. The rain didn't hamper the dances, just got them a little wet. From some experienced cruisers, that had seen a lot of shows, we were in for a treat. Kirk on Salsa was good enough to take Kirsty and I in to town with him, as our dinghy was already up on the deck.
The dancers were in traditional dress of grass and feather skirts, wraps and headpieces. There was a lot of skin showing, and strangely none were tattooed. Tattooing has only recently came back into French Polynesia, after the missionaries attempted to stamp it out. All of the dancers came out with drums backing up the smooth and rhythmic motions. The men did aggressive hakas and were telling a story with their motions. The women seemed to smooth and carry the story with their dances. Patterns and stories emerged with each movement, it was a shame we couldn't understand what they were saying, but the dance and chants carried the tone perfectly.
Near the end, the dancers each went into the crowd and pulled out people in the audience to come do the dance with them. On the third time of this they a tall Rappa Nue dancer pulled me out with them. Thirty dancers and thirty audience members swayed and mimicked the sways, but only locals or the real dancers did it any justice. The rest of us just grinned and tried to follow the moves. I have to say it was pretty fun to do, and I'm sure quite funny for Kirsty and Kirk watching from the sidelines.
Now when we sit at anchor, and hear drums in the distance, we'll know what we are missing!
Na-na Bora Bora... na-na.
07/24/2009, Bora-Bora, Fench Polynesia
The couple week saga of the diesel fuel pump is now over! We had to get a fuel feed pump shipped in from the US, and still don't know or want to know how much the Fed Ex bill is... The only saving grace is that we got the part about 10 days after ordering it. Sometimes packages will get here, and then sit in customs for weeks! We have to thank our agent, Laurent of Pacific Yacht Services, as the package was out of customs the SAME day it arrived. Nothing like service when you really need it. Thanks Laurent! Once the part was in hand, it was a simple twenty minutes to install it. Presto, no more can under the pump to catch the diesel drip!
07/20/2009, Bora-Bora, Fench Polynesia
First of all, thanks for all the comments. Monday morning was an early one for Kirsty and I. We had to get up at 6am and move the boat a few miles to the Bloody Mary's restaurant anchorage. This put us within walking distance of the tattoo shop, Marama Tattoo (firstname.lastname@example.org B.P. 1172 Bora Bora. French Polynesia 72 57 77 this shop is very clean and sterile on the south end of the island just past Matira Beach). We got to the shop a little bit after 9am, and another tourist was already there looking through the sketch books. We sat down for a few minutes, and had a quick chat with Robert... he had several tattoo's and was looking to get another. I grinned to myself, here I am doing the same thing as a 23 year old skater in a rock band. But I think my reasons are different. I've looked at tats and thought about them for years, but never found the 'art' or 'artist' that really interested me. Now in French Polynesia, I've found the designs and patterns exactly what interests me.
So did I do it? A few minutes later, Teaka came out to get me. He had been setting up and getting things ready. Teaka is from Ua Poa in the French Marquesas. He has been down in Bora Bora for a bit, but I had heard of him and seen some of his work around the islands (email@example.com 76 35 34). When I get into the shop, the walls have several of his drawings of Marquesian warriors, dramatic and very well done. Wasting no time, he finds out where I want the tat... with a few quick strokes, he draws the area to the tattooed around my left arm. He then does the rough sketch of a hammerhead shark and some other place holding parts of the tattoo. I go out and show Kirsty, she agrees that it looks the right size, in the right place... taking a deep breath, I go back in and tell Teaka to go for it.
Everyone that doesn't have a tattoo always asks if it hurts. Everyone with a tattoo smiles that knowing smile and says it doesn't hurt, well not that much. The first touch of the needle is a weird sensation. Kinda like being scratched by a sharp pin, with the long outlines traced first. Teaka started on the outside of my arm, in the least sensitive part. He did all the main outlines of the hammerhead, waves, and some Marquesian symbols. The long lines were the most sensation. The tattoo tool has electric motors that vibrate the tattoo needle, pushing aside a layer or so of skin to place the ink under it. With the vibration, it feels more like a irritating tickle in most spots, but then he'd go over a nerve and you get a quick jolt to remind you that it's still a needle scraping your skin!
After the outline, Teaka starts to fill in the tat from the sharks tail forward around my arm. It takes about two hours for most of that part to be completed. We take a quick break, both of us stretching, and I go look in the mirror to see the parts around the back of my arm. It looks good, really good! I show Kirsty and she agrees, asking if it hurts :) I'm amazed that Teaka is doing all of the fine outlines with no sketch, all free hand! Amazing work! I settle back and Teaka continues his artistry.
His is starting on the inside of my arm, under the armpit. I'll tell you, it's MUCH more sensitive there! I grin and bite my teeth as Teaka finishes the drawing under my arm. Since we've been in Polynesia, I've wanted to find a wooden tiki, since we haven't I saw a really good one on one of Teaka's wall drawing and ask him to include it in the tat. Coming up on four hours and the tattoo is finally done!
So what did I get on my arm? The main figure is a hammerhead shark, he is stylized in the Marquesian way, with the symbol of the sky on his body. Over part of the tail is a wave drawing to signify our ocean voyages. Over the back of the tail is a rainbow dropping into the sea. In front of the shark is a hand, signifying man's friendship with sharks. Additional figures show the mountains of the islands we visited in Polynesia. This inside of the arm has a lot of black ink, signifying strength (the more pain a warrior could take in the old days, the more black in the tattoo). The tiki is placed on the back of my arm, giving us protection and peace. So that's it, I now have some Marquesian art :)
Tattoo... will I?
07/20/2009, Bora-Bora, Fench Polynesia
For the last two months, I have been looking at all the of Polynesian Tattoos and trying to decide if I want one... Back in Tahiti I had an appointment, but ended up having to break it due to the autopilot project.. but I wasn't 100% confident in the artist. They want to have you come in for an appointment, and then and there draw the outline on your body (upper arm for me). Then you have to give them a go or no go decision... For the last twenty years I have admired tattoos from afar, but never found something that I would want in another twenty years...
So now I have another appointment here in Bora-Bora, with a tattoo artist from the Marquesas island of Ua Pou (one of the islands that we had missed). It will be at 9am on Monday, I'm including the rough ink sketch that he did on my left arm.... hmmmm decision time, will I get the tattoo or not?...
Bets on in the comment section :)
Pressure Cooker and Pearls...
07/18/2009, Bora-Bora, Fench Polynesia
Hiss, hiss, bubble, bubble...
We have rejoined the modern age in our cooking... well, back to 1950's technology, that is :) One thing most cruisers recommend is a pressure cooker! We finally picked one up in the Galapagos, but it has sat un-used for months... Kirsty has been threatening to toss it overboard or in the trash if that didn't change.. Well, we (by that I mean me) finally cooked something in it... Take a good hunk of New Zealand beef (kinda chewy when BBQ'ed) and toss it in the pressure cooker, sear the sides in oil, and then fill the pot until the beef is covered. Toss in your favorite stew veggies, in our case potatoes, taro root, carrots, onions, shallots, and garlic... a little Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and seal the sucker up... Then the magic starts!
To hear the little pressure release valve finally start to hiss and bubble... too fun! But the fun really starts when Kirsty decides to cook mashed potatoes... each time she bumps the stove, the pot hisses and spits steam at her... the look on her face was classic... and no, contrary to her belief, the pot is NOT evil, not possessed... just making a great roast.. You'll also notice the pearl necklace and earrings... we finally found a very cheap place to get her loose pearls from Manihi mounted, so nothing like cooking in pearls :)
So how did the roast turn out? One of the best pot roast's since my Mom or Grandma's... now that's a roast!
The King and I...
07/17/2009, Bora-Bora, Fench Polynesia
We often speak about suffering on our yacht... the tranquil bays, swaying palm trees, crystal clear water... well, you get the idea :) One thing you don't count on is sharing space with royalty. For the last two days we have been anchored near the famous Bora-Bora restaurant of Bloody Mary's. Just over in the middle of the bay is a huge black super-yacht-sailboat called Nirvana. Based on the Spanish flag and rumors, it is the King of Spain's yacht. Have to say, the King's got taste :) Google "Nirvana Yacht" and look at some of the photos from the builder... As for us, we have to go... cocktails with the King await....