After recovering from our passage, we decided to check out the
Gospel celebration of the arrival of the missionaries 170 years earlier. We had
heard that the celebration would go on until about 3pm.
Having missed the bus we thumbed a lift, after
several vehicles had failed to stop, eventually a mini bus pulled up. The lady
driving asked us where we were headed and when we told her, she sadly informed
us that they had just been and it had finished early. We chatted a little and
she kindly gave us a lift into town. Her name was Jill and she was visiting from
one of the outlying islands (Mangaia I think?) with a group of teenagers, who
were getting work experience. We chatted with some of the girls, Travel, April
and Jo, it turned out that the thing they liked most about the trip was getting
a mobile phone and texting each other....I thought it was a shame, but I guess
you can’t stop progress.
When they dropped us off, we gathered for a team photo and headed
over the road to the ATM.
As it was a national holiday everything was closed,
except Trader Jacks the bar restaurant on the sea front and a few other
We sat an enjoyed a drink at Trader Jacks, watching the children
playing in the sea. It seems that throughout Polynesia (and probably the whole
Pacific) the children are born with salt water in their blood, everywhere we
have been they play in the sea and it is nice to see that they don’t need any
We wandered back to the boat to change before heading back into
town to Raviz, the Indian restaurant whose aromas had seduced us
The food was awesome, especially as we hadn’t had any Indian food
for at least 6 months.
Stuffed to the gills, we were glad of the walk back
to the boat to recover.
The next day we cleared in bright and early and headed into town to
get our driving licences and hire a car.
were planning on hiring a couple of motor bikes, but then saw some really cute
little cabriolet cars and opted for one of those
There are only 2 roads that go around the whole
island and the trip takes around 40 mins.
stopped off at Maire Nui Cafe and Gardens. I had read that they are renowned for
their cheesecakes and that the gardens are lovely.
There we met Clare, a young woman from Derby (a midlander like
myself) and she had lived here for 3 years. She runs the cafe for the owners and
is very friendly and chatty. We had a lovely lunch and the lemon meringue
pineapple cheesecake and ice cream was sublime. They had an extensive lunch and
afternoon tea menu and they prices were very good.
We continued on our sightseeing tour , stopping to pick up our
laundry from Snowbird laundry. I had told Roger I would like to go to a
Polynesian Feast and cultural evening, so we stopped at a few of the venues to
check them out.
The big hotels looked most unappealing so we stopped at a boutique
hotel called the Manuia beach boutique hotel. They had a happy hour on from 4
til 5.30, so we stopped and had a couple of sundowners.
Later that evening they were having a feast and cultural evening.
For $45 you got dinner and the entertainment, which was the cheapest we had
seen, but also the place looked lovely. A small , intimate restaurant and bar with a sandy floor, right on the
Dinner was served at 7pm, with a buffet which was excellent,
throughout dinner there was a live band playing Polynesian music.
Then at 8.30 the drummers came out and so did the
dancers. They were incredible. Such energy and enthusiasm, it was quite a change
from the dancing we had seen in the Marqesas.
made even more special by the fact we had a ringside table and it seemed like a
private performance almost.
All in all it was an excellent evening, the dance troupe were one
of Roatonga’s top troupes ( I think they were called Arturani or something
similar) and it wasn’t just tourist fodder, but the dances they do when
was great value for money and I was so pleased we had chosen such a small
After dinner we had a stroll along a moonlit beach (well I did
anyway) before heading home.
The next morning we headed to the cultural market
for breakfast. We went to Mama’s hut and met Marie and Veena who run
Lovely ladies who make a first class full
English (and more).
was a luxury to have tea served from a teapot (the only place on the island that
serve tea in a pot, as her mum had
collected teapots and now Marie uses them).
For $15 we had the works, 2 eggs, bacon,
sausage, tomatoes, hash browns, steak and toast (Roger also had onions). It
really set us up for the day.
hopefully, i have recruited my 4th Cruising station for the SSCA, the
Seven Seas Cruising Association ,of which we are commodores.
I asked Marie where I could get Polynesian material and she sent me
to a couple of shops. Who did I bump into at the first shop but Jill. It’s a
It also transpires that Marie is an accomplished artist of some
repute here on the island. Her sculptures are fabulous, in stone, wood or bone.
She has a little gallery in the market place stuffed with lots of goodies at
prices you can afford.