After four seasons in Gambier, we are finally saying “farewell” to the beautiful Gambier archipelago. We have been unbelievably blessed with all the friends we’ve made here. So, it was a bit difficult to say farewell. By the way, “na na” is “goodbye” in Mangarevan (the local language in Gambier).
Our first arrival into Gambier was in April 2019 and we stayed for 6 weeks. Then we returned in January 2020 and stayed for 4 months. The third visit had us arriving December 2020 where we stayed for 5 months and our last visit was December 2021 where we stayed for 2.5 months. So, over the course of our 3 year stay in French Polynesia, over a year of it was in Gambier. That is how much we liked this archipelago!
We save all of our tracks as we move around. The image below made me laugh because we had so many yellow tracks all over Gambier! The green dots are noted anchorages, the yellow triangles are warnings of obstructions, the orange dots are points of interest. Clearly, we’ve been in and around most of the islands in the Gambier Archipelago.
Saying “Na Na / Farewell” is super hard…
Over the course of a few weekends, many drinks, and multiple occasions, we capture our farewells to everyone. The first person I met here was Stefan (or Tanavai) and his beautiful wife Manu. We’ve spent countless hours with them at their house, on our boat, at Puaumu, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and more.
Dada was gracious enough to showcase his pearl farm and all of his spectacular pearls with us and so many of our friends.
Heifera taught us how to carve the pretty pearl shells and gave many cruisers tours of the carving school.
One of my very special friends is Poerani (“Popo”). She teaches English, art, and dance. She has brought so much joy to our lives. It was especially hard to leave her glorious smile.
The top photo is Titoan (he runs a small yacht services and charter business) and Juliet who is the local nurse. Teva (lower left) is the heartbeat of Gambier and has all the connections. Danny is a teacher and always has a pretty smile on his face!
We met Tehotu and Noella during our 3rd and 4th visit which is a shame as it would have been lovely to get to know them better. Truly blessed family with so much love and heart to give.
Taina (lower left) owns Taina Pearl and Keishi and she is an amazingly talented jewelry designer. And Atuona (lower right) greeted me daily at Magasin Jojo’s. Always brought a smile to my face.
On our last night in Rikitea (the main, and only village in Gambier), we had our cruising friends over for a final farewell happy hour. Photo: Matt, me, Dave, Pia, Daniela, Leo. Front row: Jan, Rita, Doug, Kobe.
We head over to Taravai for our last night. We invite Valerie, Herve, and Ariki for dinner and enjoy an intimate evening with our good friends. They loaded us up with lots of tasty fruits and beautiful flowers. It is Polynesian tradition to gift visitors with a shell necklace and flowers to set in the sea to welcome you back in the future.
It was super hard to capture the flowers in the sea as we were traveling 6kts, but you get the idea.
We have had countless sunsets and sunrises in Gambier, but here are a few of my favorites. A short farewell to the day made brighter by its brilliance.
The iconic Mt. Duff on Mangareva lit up by the sunset.
A dance, fun run, and raffle during the Valentine’s Day Gambier Fundraise (see passage post). Events from this post occurred mid-February. Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.