Tag Archives: taravai

Tauna, Gambier

Gambier Showcase With Wayne Part I

We are so blessed that our good friend Wayne comes to visit so often.  He has visited us four times in French Polynesia, but this is his first time in Gambier.  We plan to show him all of our favorite places!

One of the supply ships arrived the day before Wayne.  We had hoped it would be the Taporo VIII but it was the Taporo VI (the VIII was being repaired).  The unfortunate thing for us was that it did not have our fuel order (diesel or gasoline) and it did not bring very much fresh produce.  We have not seen a supply ship in over a month so fresh goods are super slim which is unfortunate.  Oh well, the next ship comes in 3 weeks.

Supply Ship Taporo VI

Supply Ship Taporo VI

The next day, we headed to Totegegie which is where the airport is located.  We anchored right by the airport and picked up Wayne with his loads of goodies for us.

Poor Wayne had a huge supply of goodies to haul to French Polynesia.  We had several key elements fail on Sugar Shack that needed new parts (washing machine, watermaker, windlass) and he brought an array of other boat paraphernalia.   It filled 1.5 suitcases!!!  Thanx Wayne!

Totegegie (airport and false pass)

We stayed one night at the airport anchorage and enjoyed the solitude of this pretty spot.  We walked around to the windward side of the island, up along side the airport runway, and back over the leeward side of the island.  Many beautiful sunsets over Mangareva.

Puamu Paradise

We took Wayne to the furthest North motu called Puamu.  This is one of our favorite spots because very few boats make it this far north.  The motu is privately owned and the locals only come out on holiday weekends.  So, we usually have this slice of paradise to ourselves.  We anchor in 2 meters of water and enjoy snorkeling and walking around the motu.


We had a beautiful downwind run from the east side of Gambier to the west side.  We put up the parasail and enjoyed a leisurely sail.

Wayne arrived just in time to enjoy an authentic Sunday Funday BBQ.  This day is extra special as we celebrate Alan who is leaving to join the French military.  22 boats and over 65 people come to wish him well.  Photo is only of the small group of people we know well 🙂


Tauna is a really small motu on Gambier’s outer reef.  The motu itself is a bird refuge and has become the home of many species and their nests.  The long sandy spits make it a perfect launching pad for kite surfers.  We tend to come here on calm days so that it is less crowded.



Perfect sunset shots looking back into the lagoon.


We spend a few days at the little island called Akamaru (also known as Remy’s Island).  The waters are simply gorgeous, clear, and turquoise.  We spend several hours just hanging out in the water.

We take Sweetie out to explore the reefs and shallow bommies.  All three of these photos were taken from the dinghy – that’s how clear the water is.

The village of Akamaru consists of a church and maybe 8 or 9 houses.  It is very isolated and remote.  The people who live here grow lots of fruits and vegetables as well as vanilla.

Akamaru Village

Akamaru Village

And then there are the spectacular sunsets.  This top photo is one of my favorites

Big birthday celebrations in our last blog. Events from this blog post occurred beginning of February.  Stay tuned for part II of Gambier Showcase with Wayne – coming up next!  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

54th Birthday

Birthday Bash

It’s 6:00am and I am just waking from a restful night.  I relish the quiet of the morning.  The seas are calm and unmoving, the breeze is light, the sun slowly rising, and it’s my birthday (back in January, this post is late).  As I linger in bed, I hear a slight ruckus outside and then the unmistakable tune of Happy Birthday.   Matt is greeting our guests as I stumble outside a little bleary eyed (it’s just 6:15am).  Two neighboring boats came over with a birthday surprise.  They had a super fun rendition of “Happy Birthday” blaring on a little speaker, a large bowl full of hot, freshly baked raisin bread and a cold bottle of prosecco!  Sweet.  I hug each of them before jetting downstairs to put on proper clothing!

We spend the next few hours enjoying the prosecco and bread and telling stories.  Marieke and Thomas from “Scooter” and Mirko and Nikko from “Yum Yum” bestowed upon me the sweetest gift of their company first thing in the morning!

Early Morning Birthday Celebration

Early Morning Birthday Celebration

Matt made a beautiful birthday post it card on our window.  Keep in mind we do not have access to Hallmark cards in the remote islands. – it was touching to see this thoughtful note first thing in the morning.

Birthday BBQ

Valerie and Herve host Sunday fun-day each week and this time it landed on my birthday!  So, we combined the two into a giant celebration.  Over 15 boats showed up to the anchorage (normally we have 5-6 boats) and well over 35 people.  Of course, I did not know most of them and some only spoke French, but they were all very kind and jovial.

We had a ton of tasty foods from all over the world.  Fresh caught Polynesian fish dishes, German and Swiss food, French food, and of course jello shots!

My birthday is one of the rare occasions that I will play volleyball. I am not naturally gifted in sports and tend to make a fool out of myself when I play.  But everyone humored me and our team won (probably a gift for my bday).

Several days prior to my birthday we had lots of rain and a few squalls.  But lucky for me, my birthday was a gorgeous day with just enough sun to keep us warm, but not too hot to wear you out.  We had the most beautiful sunset and moonrise.  That is the moon on the top two photos!

Spoiled Rotten

Valerie surprised me with a new, beautiful sand art.  It is a portrait of Matt and I.  Keep in mind that this is made with local sand and dirt only.  Sure, Matt has a mustache in the image and I have a flavor savor, but you can still see the likeness.  Did you see the detail of my Keishi necklace?

Another local friend, who is a jeweler, gifted me with a gorgeous pearl on a gold chain.  It completely surprised me and knocked my socks off!  Visit her at www.tainakeishipearl.com.

I do not know how to put into words the love I felt today.  From my amazing local friends to all of my American friends.  The love that flowed freely across Facebook, Instagram, text, and emails was overwhelming.  I needed it, cherished it, and reveled in the pureness of it all.  Thank you for filling my soul with so much love!

Bon Voyage to Alan

Valerie and Herve’s oldest son is leaving for France to join the military.  He will be studying to become a pilot and will commit to 10 years of military service.  They had a HUGE going away party and sent him off with a spectacular celebration.

Hiking and Exploring

Matt and I go on a few hikes to explore the islands.  We’ve done these hikes several times, but they never disappoint.

The hike on Taravai between Valerie and Herve’s house and Edouard and Denise is a fairly easy and short hike.  It is about 5 miles round trip on a clearly marked, albeit small trail.  One side is a steep drop off, but easy to navigate.  We come across a few old houses with nothing but a few stone walls remaining, a few small beach coves, and lots of overgrown plants.

We also take a beautiful walk to the lookout point where the “Queen’s Throne” is located.  Most of the walk is along the road and is fairly flat.  It’s not until you get to the last .5 mile that you go off roading and uphill.  But then you are rewarded with such a pretty view.  This entire hike is about 6.5 miles round trip.

The rock “throne” I’m sitting on is called the “Queen’s Throne” and with this view it makes sense!

We visit the weather station and set the weather balloon free in our last blog.  Events from this blog post occurred in January.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Happy New Year 2022

Polynesian New Year

Matt and I decided to ring in the New Year Polynesian style with our friends Valerie and Herve on Taravai.  They promised a Polynesian BBQ and we could not resist.

We have enjoyed plenty of Polynesian BBQs but we have never been around during the preparations.  So, this blog is me sharing the process with you so you can be a part of this cultural event too.

First, we prepped the property.  Valerie and Herve have a beautiful sandy beach, but it often gets cluttered with seaweed and leaves.  One group cleared the beach to properly welcome visitors and to create a space for fireworks.  Herve dug a hole and Tony chopped the wood.

Cleaning up Taravai

Cleaning up Taravai

Preparing the Polynesian Fire Pit

  • 1: After the hole is dug, all rocks, tree stumps, and leaves are removed leaving behind a clean, flat bottom in a round hole.
  • 2: Add coconut husks already prepped and torn apart
  • 3: Gather a pile of sticks
  • 4: Add dried palm fronds on top of the Coconut husks

  • 5: Add more coconut husks on top of the dried palm fronds
  • 6: Add more dried palm fronds on top of the dried coconut husks
  • 7: Add the sticks
  • 8: Add the blocks of wood

Then we add small river rocks and then the large river rocks.  The pit is ready to light in the morning.

The next morning, we light the Polynesian Fire pit.  After about 90 min more coconut husks are added.  Once everything has burned down (about 2 hours after the fire is lit), the pit is ready.

Food Prep

In the meantime, another group of us start to make the food baskets that will sit in the Polynesian fire pit.  Valerie teaches us how to weave the baskets together using fresh palm fronds.

Making the food baskets

Making the food baskets

Everyone had prepared several side dishes – including manuk (like a potato) top photo, pumpkin and banana dish (bottom right), and the goat (bottom left).

The banana leaves are brittle so we lightly brush them across the fire to make them soft.  They become moldable once they are soft and can be used like foil.  The spines are cut off the banana leaves, food is placed on top, and then they are gently folded.

Herve prepares the goat meet with fresh rosemary and tyme.

Herve prepping the feast

Herve prepping the feast

Back to the Polynesian Fire Pit

The men cut down a banana tree, then cut it into chunks and finally pulverize it.  Then we place the banana tree on top of the hot rocks. It will serve as racks for the food.  In addition, the moisture from the banana tree will create steam to help cook the food.

Next we cover the food with more banana leaves, then a tarp, then covered with dirt.  The food will cook in the Polynesian fire pit for 4 hours.

The Celebration

AT 1400, everyone is hungry and ready to eat.  We remove the sand, dirt, tarp, and banana leaves from the Polynesian pit.

The smell is intoxicating and only makes us hungrier.  

We had about 35-40 people celebrating with us – both cruisers and locals from Mangareva.  Everyone enjoyed a day full of amazingly tasty local food and games.

Some fun photos

Valerie and Herve’s Auntie showed up at 9:00am ready to celebrate the new year.

Valerie and Laura and I pose next to our Happy New Year = Bonne Année 2022

Although it is way past the first of the year, please know we are wishing you all a delightful 2022!  Thank you for reading our posts.

We spent Christmas in Taravai (see post), we truly enjoy our time in Gambier.   Events from this blog post occurred at the end of December 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.