We visited 3 islands in the
Tuamotus, all very different to one another.
We chose Kauehi as our first
Tuamotu as it has an easy entrance. We also chose it because a New Zealand
boat that left the Marquesas at the same time was also going there so we
could use them as a pilot. As it happens the entrance was exciting
but benign and the lagoon calm.
The village was a delight with
the friendly locals giving us a cheery wave when we landed.
The local church was right at the
The people were getting ready for
Heiva a local celebration that runs into the July 14th celebrations, so we
decided to stay for the big event. These pictures were taken just before the
formal opening by the Mayor with prayers and blessings.
As it turns out it was a very low
key affair along the lines of a village fete, but all the more interesting for
clearly not being for the few tourists.
Virtually the only tourists they
get here are the yachties so they are keen to show off their island. The stalls
consisted of what you would expect with some selling local handicrafts but
others with light hearted competitons like chuck the ball at the tin cans. There
were a couple of food stalls, one with a rather nervous looking pig tethered
Another was a dance tent with
some happy looking locals practicing their moves.
A lot of trouble had been taken
to make the stalls look attractive with coconut fronds woven into patterrns to
disguise the structures.The notable omission from an English scene was a beer
tent. Alcohol is very expensive and the government and the church are keen to
discourage strong drink as apparently when they do drink the locals quickly
Whilst at Kauehi we visited the
windward side of the island walking through the coconut groves that still
provide an income for this traditional island.
The waves on the windward reef
were a sharp reminder that you do not want to be anywhere near this lee
We also spent some time
snorkeling and spotted our first black tipped reef shark beside this
The hut is where pearl culture is
carried out...which we found out more about in Fakarava.