Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The French Polynesian Games

Sunday saw us involved in a full day of festivities ashore and a great traditional Tahitian lunch buffet, thanks to sponsors and a small fee. With only 30 boats it was very much a private party and so much fun. We went ashore at 09:00 and were greeted with demonstrations on how to tie a pareu (traditional sarong), how to husk a coconut and crack open the nut and always had music in the background (the Polynesian people just love their music and love to play). The first competitive event was racing 6 person outrigger canoes. Our team consisted of 4 people from the boats and two experienced Polynesian paddlers. Michael, Richard, Chris and Yoshi made up the team known as Mild Stroke. The course was 200 meters and despite our best efforts we finished 3rd in our heat. The winning team was a bunch of big guys with a team called Funky Water.

Barbara was part of an all woman's team (Barbara, Ronnie, Vicky and Ann) who looked good, were very vocal and wore fake Maori tattoos. They finished a respectable 3rd – beaten by the eventual winner. Tough to compete with the "meat".

After a great lunch of traditional Polynesian fare including raw Mahi in coconut milk (Poisson Cru); pork with oyster mushrooms, chicken and spinach, fermented fish (Barbara tried it and Michael and Richard did not) white rice, breadfruit, taro and poe. The drink was a fresh coconut cut open with a notch and a straw inserted for the coconut water.

Afternoon competition included relay racing while carrying two bunches of bananas on a pole set on your shoulder and coconut husking. Young and strong won – the older generation was not competitive. This was followed by traditional Polynesian dancing and singing. Barbara was front and center for the hula demonstration and was chosen to exhibit her skills with the professional dancers. She did really well and has hidden talent.

Last night around 22:30 a strong squall came through with 40 knot gusts and torrential rain. Thanks to a good sandy bottom and a good anchor set by Barbara and Michael, Astarte came through it unscathed. About 10 other boats weren't so lucky, dragged their anchors and crashed into other boats. Today is a snorkeling day with a beautiful reef just off out anchorage. Tomorrow we will take a hike up the cliffs to the high ground.

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