Our last night at Kanton Island
To our joy, we were invited to a dinner at the community beach house. We took our dinghy to the wharf and walked about 1km to where there used to be a causeway (swept away by a storm 5 years ago) that connected two parts of the atol. At 18:00 we were greeted by two young men with an unusual styrofoam ferry, to cross over to the other side.
Once at their “beach club” we noticed an elaborate setting was prepared in our honor. Four chairs lined up in front of a make shift stage, indicated to us that typical performance was planned.
When we first arrived there was nobody there and as time went by a flood of people, food, lights, instruments and lots of children gathered on the beach.
All this, bathed with a sunset and the rise of a full moon over the lagoon, creating the atmosphere for a very special experience.
The whole community (60 people and I guess half of them children) joined us and prepared everything for us to enjoy the true raw traditional culture and cooking, as only could be experienced here. Their hospitality and friendliness is pure and genuine.
Everyone was dressed in their best outfits and girls put their lipstick and earrings on for the occasion.
These are very enchanting and beautiful people, one of a kind, happy and welcoming.
The festivities started with a prayer and we were served “toddy tea” (kind of a sap from the coconut palm tree that is collected early morning and evening).
Food. The village’s chief went out for our dinner catch earlier in the day and returned with 5 enormous tunas. These were cooked in several fashions. One better than the other. A large array of taste and visuals, just simply exceptional cooking. Rich and flavorful. Considering their limitation on ingredients, lack of refrigeration and electricity, they presented us with an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
As the guests of honour, we were treated with freshly harvested lobsters - big ones also.
This was the 3rd welcoming party at this location, giving it an even more importance.
The night was filled with traditional dances and songs, under the magical light of the full moon and the soft sound of the receding waves. Young children presented their traditions, perfectly coordinated under the guidance of their teacher. Which is a chapter for itself. We were Impressed by their teacher’s work and dedication, from the moment we visited the school. As a token of our appreciation, Wania presented the teacher with her Brazilian handcrafted earrings. This means a lot for a woman he?
This was a genuine community gesture, and one can sense that there is pleasure and enjoyment among them.
(All will be illustrated with pictures on later post on Facebook).
Time to depart but not before a group photo. Wania, our blonde beauty, was the center of attention, causing a storm of people wanting to take a picture with her, touch her skin, shake hands and even children asked for a hug.
Lars presented the community with a Swedish flag signed by all of Dawnbreaker crew. In addition we gifted some Coke to the children and tabaco to the chief.
After crossing back on the exquisite barge we made it back on board by 22:00, basting in the richness of this unique experience these people have presented us.
We depart today with a happy heart and unforgettable memories.