We decided to head to Vaitahu, the “main village” of Tahuata which is about 2nm south of Hanamoenoa Baie. A quick motor and we dropped the hook near our friends on Maple. This is a super small village with 2 snacks, 1 magasin, 2 churches and a post office. That’s it. Small and simple and full of lovely people!
Vaitahu in Tahuata
The day we arrived there was a local wedding. Of course, we had to go check it out (from the outside). It was held in the beautiful Catholic church with an enormous stain glass window. It is tradition to invite everyone in Vaitahu to the ceremony and then feed everyone in the town. Even crazy tourists and cruisers like us. We declined, but it was a super nice gesture.
Wedding island style
We found a short hike to another cross at the entrance of Vaitahu. It was only 20 minutes to the cross, but it was straight up hill about 2.7 miles. It had beautiful views of the bay.
A New Tattoo
No, not for me (yet). Our friend Daryl on Maple got a new tattoo. It was done the modern way, but still pretty painful. The tattoo artist works in his carpark with a nice breeze. It took several hours to draw out the design including strength, family, Marquesan cross, tiki, and more.
Drawing the Tattoo
Then the fun began with the outline, then the filling and the beautiful finished product.
Daryl’s Tattoo is all done
I went to church on Sunday and was a little frustrated because it was super-hot and I could not understand anything. For some reason, I just did not have my heart in it, but I did enjoy the beautiful singing, church, and lovely people.
Church with stained glass
Vaitahu has two snacks, but the popular one is called Chez Jimmy whichhas the most interesting herb garden made out of used, plastic, wine bottles. So clever!
Wine bottle garden at Jimmy’s
A couple of beautiful sunsets to wrap up our evenings and we’ve fallen in love with Vaitahu.
After almost a month of living in a $hitty anchorage we were ready for a quiet bay. We left Ua Pou for a serene bay on Tahuata (prounced “ta-who-a-ta). It was a 60nm sail heading south. We enjoyed a lovely day with full sails and light winds. With an average of 6-7 kts in boat speed we had hoped to catch a fish on our passage. Matt had 3 lines out.
Fishing, not catching
The first zing ended abruptly with a lost lure and no fish. The second zing was even shorter with no actual hook on the fish. The third was a doozy. We caught a large 100lb+ yellow fin tuna. Matt fought bravely with this fish for 3 hours. Reeling him, then the fish dove deep and/or swam away from the boat. Then we reel him and rinse and repeat for 3 hours. Matt was exhausted and had blisters on his hand from reeling it in for so long. Just when we thought the fish was either tired or dead, the reel went zing again – smoking fast almost to the braid. Then nothing. A damn shark took our prize and left us with nothing, not even the lure. That was 3 bites, 2 lost lures, and 1 three-hour fight.
Its called “fishing” not “catching”
When we pulled into Hanamoenoa bay it made up for the disaster fishing day. The beauty was astounding. Manta rays, dolphins and a few sharks call this oasis home. A sweet sandy beach lined with palm trees lays serenely at the base of the green mountains. Only one person, Stephen, lives in this picturesque bay.
Drone shot from shore toward the anchorage at sunrise.
Tahuata at Hanamoenoa Bay
Another drone shot from the sea facing the shore.
We were invited onto Flip Flops for Christmas lunch along with our friends on Maple. A few other boats stopped by as well for the pot luck. It was a lovely day meeting new friends and enjoying tasty food.
QUICK TRIP TO HIVA OA
Wayne flew in to Hiva Oa the day after Christmas. Matt and I left Hanamoenoa bay at 0515 and motored over to Baie Tahauku in Hiva Oa. It was only 10nm away, but it was directly into the wind, waves, and current. We managed to arrive 2.5 hours later which was great as we had a lot to do before Wayne arrived at noon. We filled up on gasoline, made a quick provision run at the local market and returned everything to the boat. Then we grabbed the empty beer bottles and cart and walked 2.8 miles to the village. We return the empty bottles and buy new full ones at a cheaper price. We loaded up on beer and more provisions and nabbed a ride back to the dock. Just as we finished unloading, Wayne arrived.
Hiva Oa Main Anchorage
We unpacked all of our treasures that Wayne so graciously brought to us. A trip into town to explore in greater detail was in order. We hoofed it back into town in search of food, but ended up finding beer. We were all tired so we did not make it a late night. Some fun photos in Hiva Oa’s main village of Atuona
Hiva Oa Explorations
We left early the next morning for Hanamoenoa bay. Back in our new favorite anchorage! The water is a turquoise blue and you can see all the way to the white sandy bottom sea floor. We tried to snorkel with the mantas but they swam away from us. So, instead we enjoyed the pretty fish and cool waters.
Stephen came by the boat around dinner time and showed us how to make a traditional Marquesan meal. He brought some octopus and coconuts along with a coconut carving tool. He showed Matt how to cut the octopus and showed Wayne how to carve the coconut. Once the coconuts were carved, we squeezed the milk out of the shavings. The sauce turned out good, but the boys said the octopus was a bit “chewy” and needed another 20-30 minutes of boiling, but the sauce was tasty.
Matt and I had so much fun participating in the Matavaa festival and watching the performances. The added bonus was being able to celebrate it with several of our friends. Mike (Easy), Daryl, Janet, Ella and Iris (Maple), Ulrike and Matias (Bella), Sorya and Thomas (Garulfo) and Ferry and Bridget (Alrisha) were all playing with us during the event. Be sure to catch Part I of the Matavaa Festival here.
Santa Celebration near eateries
The festival took place in early December so of course there was a Santa Clause (even in French Polynesia). We had fun taking photos with Mike (Easy) and Ulrike and Matias (Bella).
Santa in Paradise
We saw several things that made us laugh. Two guys in full costume and makeup walking to the stadium pushing a baby stroller. A lady wearing a “don’t mess with Texas” shirt with the state of Texas upside down.
Things that make you smile
As it turns out, nobody enforced the 10-boat limit in the anchorage. The day of the festival several boats came in and squeezed into the approved anchorage area and others just anchored by the beach. It was frustrating. Despite following the rules and enduring 3+ weeks of a shitty anchorage, they let these other boats just roll in here last minute. Here is a shot with the Tahiti Nui rafted up to the Ari Nui at the dock.
Anchorage in Ua Pou
The Matavaa performances were held multiple times a day in two main locations. The larger, longer performances were held either in the field or the stadium. The shorter performances were held in the pavilion. Unfortunately, all locations had weird lighting issues so my photos are not stellar.
Performance at night
One of the short performances by Rapa Nui inside the pavilion. Just look at the joy on their faces.
Rapa Nui paired doing the fertility dance.
They are all singing, in addition to dancing their hearts out.
Performance by Tahiti Team
The Bird Dance
Another group did the popular bird dance which is by far my favorite routine. A few select performers, dressed in elaborate feathered costumes represent the phoenix being risen.
Bird and Fire Dances
The bird or phoenix dance was performed by each group and I never grew bored. It was such a gorgeous dance and song that I was transfixed each time.
Bird Dance by Multiple Teams
More bird dancers inside the pavilion
Bird Dance by Other Teams
The women are so elegant and feminine in their dance. From their delicate hand movements to their toe dancing. The men are manly, strong, and forceful yet beautiful in their own right.
Groups dancing in the pavilion. Not sure how they squeezed the large groups inside this small space, but they did marvelously.
Closing Ceremonies of the Matavaa Festival
The performers came out one last time for the closing ceremonies. They each did 20-minute routines that were a compilation of their favorite dances. They also presented the completed stone and wooden tikis.
Closing Ceremonies on Field
Of course, Rapa Nui gets its own collage
Rapa Nui in Closing Ceremonies
One group, of about 100 people gathered in the stands for a photo op.
Closing Ceremonies One Team
This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of this historical event. The crappy anchorage was worth every minute of being able to participate in the Matavaa event.
Our friend’s on Maple shared some fabulous photos that they took at one of the events. These are the Rapa Nui dancers from a short performance at the pavilion.
Rapa Nui Dancers
This is a group of Marquesans who currently live in Tahiti.