Looking across from Venus Point to Moorea
We are now anchored in the beautiful Cooks Bay on Moorea. After writing the last blog we decided to move despite the weather forecast. We looked out the window to the reef and across to Moorea and decided the weather forecast may have been a little wrong or at least delayed. After an early visit to the market we packed up, cast our lines off the town dock in Papeete and headed for Moorea. There was very little wind and big swells until just off the NE corner of Moorea when a big dark cloud bought a little more wind and the sea turned into a washing machine as tide wind and sea churned. As soon as we got in the shelter of the reef the sea flattened and we had an easy entry through the pass to Cook Bay. The anchorage has been flat calm and the threatened rain never eventuated. We are pleased we made the jump across to Moorea when we did as from the next day the winds and swell increased significantly. A local fisherman said he had had the roughest crossing from Tahiti that he had ever had. So nice to be here and enjoying the island.
Papeete had been an enjoyable stop, we arrived in time for the wind up of the month long Heiva festival. We went to one night of the song and dance competition, the costumes and dancing were spectacular which made up for the not so spectacular Choral groups. I don't think we appreciated the formal singing of the choirs, the more traditional singing and dancing was more to our liking. Unfortunately as it was a competition we couldn't take photos. Patrick tried but as soon as his small camera appeared the usher pounced on him. However at the traditional sports we went to the next day everything was more relaxed and cameras snapped away continually.
The men threw the spears at a round pad on top of a tall pole. Each contestant had about 6 spears which they threw at the pole, those that stuck got points. They seemed to have several chances to do this.
While watching this we missed out on the women dehusking coconuts , chopping them in half then scooping out the flesh. But we did catch the woman and men lifting the stones. The men were divided into 3 divisions, the top division lifted about 104 kilos, I think. The woman lifted about 50 kgs. The contestant who lifted it onto their shoulder the quickest was the winner. This was timed by 3 stop watches, some lifted so quickly and smoothly that there must have only been hundredths of a second between competitors.
In between sports we were entertained by a dance group from the Marquesas.
Unfortunately we couldn't stay too late as we had to catch the last bus, they stop early on the weekend. As it was the bus didn't turn up so we shared a taxi, if we had known that we would have stayed longer.
Later in the week we wandered down to the park near the quay and watched the fruit carrying races around the park. Once again there were 3 divisions for the men plus one lot of women.
The winner is the one with the smile and this was only at the start.
We think the competition must have been like a decathlon with accumulating points as we had seen most of the contestants competing at the weekend. The older guys went on a steady but quick pace, the young guns sprinted around the track and the woman managed a very quick pace as well although they only did one circuit.
We estimated that one circuit was about 400 metres so the men carried their load of fruit for 800 metres. The top division hefted 50 kilos around the track.
Festival time was a good time to be in Tahiti but not for getting boat work done. The French Polynesians go on holiday for a month no tradesman will commit to work until well into August. We may be in the Pacific but because France goes on holiday at this time of the year so must French Polynesia. We were lucky to get our outboard fixed but our sail which needs re-stitching will have to wait until maybe Raiatea..if we are lucky.
I think I can fix this myself! What do you think?
In the mean time we wait here, under the spectacular scenery in Cooks Bay Moorea, for the wind and swell to abate before we sail the 104 miles to Raiatea.