In Tahiti we’ve had squally weather and angry seas for a few weeks now. We desperately want to sail across to Moorea and drop the hook for a swim in a blue lagoon but there seems little point when the water is murky.
I decided to get my swim fix at the Papeete municipal swimming pool . On arrival, I handed over my 600xpf and assured the friendly Vahine that I did have my compulsory swim hat. I noticed that there were a few nemo cartoon hats behind the desk, so assumed that anyone without a hat would be loaned one. There was only one man wearing a nemo hat as I entered the water.
The pool is 50 metres long and is divided up into swim lanes.
Lifeguards are on duty.
School lessons take place in term time midweek. Being a Saturday, people were there to keep fit. The seaside is for messing around in the water, not this pool.
The swimming pool is situated near to the Port of Papeete.
Initially I had a lane to myself. A young lady in a pink hat with a mild screw kick joined me. In an anticlockwise direction we swam at roughly the same speed passing at the 25 metre point. I noticed that she changed strokes to front crawl but with her arms thrashing about like the scythes of Boudicea’s chariot. Turning at the end of the pool, I spotted the reason for her antics. Stood pondering, was a large man in small trunks. Was he going to dominate our lane or move on? With great comradery I remembered that I could do butterfly. Our tactics worked and the gentleman went elsewhere. I suppressed my laughter with a splutter, causing the lifeguard to scrutinise me as a potential drowning victim. I guess my silver hat didn’t help, I was probably the oldest person in the pool but not old enough to get in for free.
I felt energised after my swim. As an added bonus, because it was cloudy, I didn’t have the usual sunburnt face with panda eyes from wearing my goggles. Every cloud has a silver lining.
Who knows, this might even be a Banksy on the outside wall of the swimming pool.
On the 13th July we went to Watch another Heiva Tu’aro Maohi :ancestral sports event. The competitions involved lifting heavy boulders, javelin throwing and shinning up coconut trees.
The event took place in the grounds of the Museum Of Tahiti and the Islands. As we arrived, some traditional dancing was taking place by the museum building.
We went to watch the Vahines (Ladies ) taking part in the boulder lifting competition. The aim of the event, was for the competitor to lift a boulder onto their shoulders. The boulder size increased in the following rounds, until there was a winner.
We cringed as one lady narrowly missed dropping a boulder on her foot.
The javelin competition was incredible. The javelins were homemade and individually marked.
The competitors had to throw their javelins to impale a coconut that had been hoisted high into the air on a long pole.
So many Tanes (men) were successful. Such was the case, that groans went up as an earlier hit was dislodged by another javelin and then crashed to the ground.
After the allotted time period, the coconut was lowered to the ground and inspected. Amazingly, at least 20 javelins were stuck in the coconut. The winning javelin was presented to the judges.
The participants retrieved their javelins ready for another round.
Later on was the coconut tree climbing race. Unfortunately we left before the event, in order to catch the bus home.