Taravai is an island of celebrations! We had three separate birthday parties, lessons in making leighs and spearfishing, and day out on Sugar Shack.
SUNDAY BBQ & MATT’S BIRTHDAY
Every Sunday, Valerie and Herve host a BBQ for cruisers. This Sunday was extra special as it was Matt’s birthday! Valerie greeted Matt with a beautiful flower leigh, happy birthday music (on the radio) and provided a day full of fun activities including volleyball and bacchi ball.
We all brought side dishes, cold beverages, and desert to go with the goat and fish are hosts provided.
A birthday sing a long for Matt with some cookies and crepes.
Matt’s Cinco de Mayo Celebrations
The French Polynesian lei designs are a huge part of their culture and are passed on from generation to generation. The women make floral leis, crowns, and costumes that they wear for festivals, dances, and weddings. Valerie was kind enough to take the time to show us how to make our own leis.
Lei Making Day
The stunning flowers smelled amazing!
A DAY OUT ON SUGAR SHACK
Matt and I decided to invite everyone on board Sugar Shack for a day cruise to Mangareva. Rachel’s sister was due to arrive and we all needed a little provisioning and some internetting. We invited Agape, Halcyon and our island hosts Herve, Valerie and Ariki. It was a fabulous day out with good friends! We even spotted a few manta rays playing around the channel.
Sunday Funday on Sugar Shack
Herve took the boys out spear fishing several days which provided the bountiful feast for each of our celebrations!
Spear Fishing with Herve
In addition to the Matt’s birthday, we also celebrated Becca’s birthday and Rachel’s birthday.
Becca was blessed with 8-9 rainbows, we lost count.
Sugar Shack anchored at Taravai
We had a blast spending a week on Taravai, playing games, eating fresh, local food and celebrating birthdays!
Great Gathering of Friends
One of the other cruisers is from Brittany (outside of France) and he has a crepe press on board. He made fresh crepes for us with homemade caramel, chocolate and banana sauces.
Sugar Shack made its way to a new island called Taravai. It is one of the few occupied islands in the Gambier archipelago. Other cruisers mentioned that a nice couple who lives on this island hosts BBQs for cruisers – sweet!. We left Mangareva at the sun’s peak shining time to make our way toward Taravai. It is best to make use of the sun in order to avoid the coral heads.
The beautiful islands of Taravai
Argo was already here and Agape and Halcyon were scheduled to arrive the next day. We joined the Argo crew and headed to shore to meet 3 of the 7 island inhabitants. True to the rumors, Valerie, Herve and their son Ariki were incredibly welcoming and overjoyed to have visitors. They showed us around their large property where Herve grows tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. Such as bananas, pomplemouse, oranges, lemons, lettuce, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, avocados, basil, rosemary to name a few.
A “Normal” Size Avocado in the Islands
The property is self-sustaining with a fresh water catching system and solar panels (2000 wats). The family lives here with 3 pets that quickly etched their way into everyone’s hearts. There is Sha Sha the cat, Taravai and little fluffy Roxy (pictured below with Matt).
Matt and little Roxy
Much to our surprise, there is one road on the island and it is only a mile long. However, it is beautiful as it stretches from Herve’s property past the church and ends at Marcel’s property.
The only road on Taravai
HIKE AROUND TARAVAI
Valerie told us there about a trail that would take us to the other side of the island where Eduard and Lolo lived. She said, it would take 30-60 minutes tops. However, we found out later that she had never been on the hike and did not “truly” know how long it should took.
Imagine our surprise when they laughed out loud upon our arrival. Certainly we were perplexed. We showed up in shorts, tank tops and flip flops. Well, truth be told, Matt and I were the only ones in flips, the Argo clan had good walking shoes. Evidently, the path is usually extremely muddy – which evidently turned out to be an understatement.
We passed the church (see below) and walked through Marcel’s property where he showed us the start of the trail. He too looked at us all strange and smirked when he saw our shoes. I’m thinking this can’t be good. After we crossed a small stream, we started through the bushes, hacking away limbs that blocked our path. If you call it a path. It was about 1-1.5’ wide, covered in mud, pine needles, and rocks. We traversed across two mud slides, hopped over collapsed hillsides, jumped over holes and covered ourselves in mud.
This beautiful waterfall kept everything nice and moist, especially since it had just rained.
Little waterfall to cool us off
So close…yet so far away
Although the trail was hard to follow, we did manage to find our way to an isolated beach just in time to wash the mud off.
Beautiful beach found on our hike
Somehow, we lost the “trail.” We tried several different directions, but we just couldn’t find our way to Eduard and Lolo’s place. Most options were too muddy or too dangerous. We had been hiking for 90 minutes and decided to turn around. As a result, we never made it all the way to Eduard’s house we had a great time exploring.
A beautiful and majestic church built in the 1800’s is being gently restored. John is the caretaker and he happily shows all tourists around the church and rectory. He even let us explore the spiral staircase to the bell station.
Rachel took this beautiful photo of her sister, Riana, Becca and I leaving.
Inside Taravai Church
At the anchorage you can see the church steeple lit up each morning.
Taravia Church from the anchorage
Across from the church is significant archway made of stone and shells. It welcomes visitors to the island and leads straight to the church.
Archway introducing the island
Valerie has an amazing talent to create stunning, intricately detailed art with sand. She has a wide variety of local sand in various colors and painstakingly designs masterpieces. She creates unbelievable designs with her sand!
Valerie’s Sand Artwork
Stay tuned for more adventures on Taravai with our new friends.
A few more fun photos
Roxy in all her glory
Herve, Valerie and Ariki’s front yard
Herve and Valerie’s lush backyard
Certainly a gorgeous island to visit. But more importantly, the inhabitants of Taravai make you feel like family. As a result, cruisers come back again and again.
What are the Mangarevan Inter-Sport Olympics? A holiday for the island and a day of full of a variety of sporting events. We created a team of 6 people to compete. Our team consisted of Matt, Josh, Rachel, Becca, Andrew, and Wilky. John was the official photographer. Simone, Torsten, Lisa and I were the official cheerleaders.
The day’s activities included:
Tug of war using 6-man outrigger
PING PONG MATCH
Ping pong was the first game. Each player played to 7-points and the team with the most points won. Our team made it to the semi-finals and lost to the team that won this segment.
Ping Pong Match
Shortly after, the team made their way over to the bacchi ball court. The goal was to toss a heavy ball as close to the marked ball without touching it. We did well considering each player only got to practice once.
Volleyball was next. The team was told that they were not allowed to spike which was unfortunate as we had a couple of tall players. The other unfortunate thing was that our team was facing into the wind which was blowing at least 20 knots. It was a bit of a comedy, but then again our team had never played together before.
And some more fun with the volleyball tournament
CROSS FIT FUN
Cross Fit had several components. First Rachel and Becca had to wheelbarrow across to the other side.
Ladies Wheel Barrow Race
Next, Andrew had to do 10 burpees, then tag Wilky.
Andrew Doing 10 Burpees
Wilky then took off running around the sports complex three times
Once Wilky finished his race, he tagged Matt and Josh who had to wheelbarrow across to the other side.
Men’s wheel barrow race
We think we came in third in the overall cross fit, but not sure as they didn’t announce it.
OUTRIGGER TUG OF WAR
The last competition of the inter-sport olympics was probably the most humorous. They put each team into a 6-man outrigger and they played tug of war. This is a French Polynesia national sport!
Let’s just say, it took the other team 10 seconds to win. The good news is that our team did not flip the outrigger!
Outrigger Tug-Of-War Competition
Even though we didn’t win, the team and cheerleaders had a fantastic day participating in the island olympics.
Gringo Olympic Participants
Here is a great collage of some locals, bacchi ball, ping pong, and the boys team.
Inter-Sport Olympics Photos
The prizes were 25lb bag of sugar for 3rd place in each category and overall. A giant bag of rice for 2nd place and a box of frozen chicken for first place. Team “L” won the overall prize which also included a frozen pig.