Polynesian Food and Entertainment at the Yacht Club
16 September 2009 | Taravana Yacht Club, Apu Bay,Tahaa, 16 40.96'S:151 29.16'W
At our last stop in Utaroa, Raiatea a fellow cruiser told us about the Taravana Yacht Club on Tahaa and their special Tuesday night buffet and local entertainment. The sail between the islands of Raiatea and Tahaa took less than 1 hour. That gave us time after tying up to a buoy, to make reservations for the evening and visit the pearl farm next door.
I have been searching for the holy grail (Pearls) since arriving in the Tuamotos. French Polynesia is famous for their black pearls and I have a particular attraction to what they call 'Keshi'. A typical cultured pearl is made by inserting a small round implant and a tiny piece of mother of pearl into the oyster. If the oyster is ok with this, it creates a pearl by covering the implant in layers of nacre. Voila, a perfectly round pearl. If the oyster doesn't like the implant, it spits it out and does it's own thing. Beautiful, irregularly shaped and colored natural pearls called 'Keshi'. We are told this happens with about 10% of the oysters.
The owners of Champon Perles, Bernard and Monique, sailed to French Polynesia from France 36 years ago. They started the big boatyard in Raiatea, then later sold it and became pearl farmers on Tahaa. Their son now manages the business and they focus on sales and production of the jewelry. Anyhow, we told them what we were looking for and they asked if we could come back this afternoon. I'm anxious to see what they have to show us.
Now, back to the yacht club last night. The building is a lovely one story open structure, tile floor and big bamboo furniture with comfy cushions. I could live there! The current owner sailed here from San Francisco 30 something years ago and never left. His wife did... but his son who was born while they lived on their boat now manages the club. Handsome, well educated, surfer and traveler. Seems like a good life to me.
They started the evening by serving rum punch. It was a great time to meet and visit with other cruisers and charterers who think they might also like the lifestyle. Next was a buffet dinner of local specialties and wine. Roasted Breadfruit, Taro, Yams and Bananas. Poisson Cru, Poulet (chicken) FaFa, Mahi Mahi and a mixed tropical fruit bowl for dessert. After dinner a local dance and music group provided the entertainment including fire dancing. In the Marquesas I was amazed by the dancing and how the women got their hips going. Let me tell you, they have nothing on the dancers here! Ask Brad, he was up dancing with one of them while I took pictures. They're just a blurrr!!
We're off for a little shoreline tour in the dinghy now. I think Tahaa has already found a place near the top of my list. More later...