The most spiritual site in the French Polynesian islands is the very large marae called Taputapuatea. Yesterday we walked all around this site that is set right in the water near the village of Opoa. It is spread out and you could get a sense of its importance by being there. They had very good information signage to help you understand the various elements and purposes of the different stone structures. We went ashore with our friends Chris and Rani from "Ladybug" and Ann and Bob from "Charisma." After the marae visit we found some great chocolate ice cream in one of the nearby food stands. That night there was a festival of dancing and singing at the site – so the food tikis were set up for dinner. We then walked up the road to a nearby church that we see from the water. It is now empty now and in need of a paint job when you see it up close, though it is picture perfect from the waterfront when the sun hits it against the background of hills.
We would have gone in for the festival but we would have to negotiate the dinghy over some shallow corals in the dark and wind and decided that wouldn't be prudent. So we went back out to our boats and gathered on "Charisma" for sundowners and snacks. And were serenaded by Chris and his ukelele.
Today, Thursday, we'll move to Taha'a going inside the reef along Ra'iatea to see more of this lovely island – dodging pearl farms along the way.