From the start, it was pretty obvious that this new high speed service would be problematic. In the Papeete marina, we are shaken in our beds as the yachts rock and roll at 5.30 am heralding the arrival of Aremiti 6. We are rolled around by the huge wake as the ferry storms into its loading dock, breaking the Port’s 5 knot limit by as much as 10 knots. It might be a great new experience for the Aremiti 6 crew and passengers but it won’t be long before the flimsy marina pontoons fall apart. The marina staff have made a complaint to the Port authorities after just two days in service.
The Day of Autonomy or locally called ‘Heiva o te’ is an official holiday in French Polynesia, an overseas collective of France. It’s celebrated on the 29th June every year to honour Tahitian and French Polynesian self rule. This year was the 35th anniversary of independence of 1984.
Big celebrations were held all day and evening in Papeete, the capital town of Tahiti.
Many dignitaries gave speeches.
In the afternoon a huge procession involving over 11,500 people representing 150 French Polynesian organisations, paraded down the Pouvanaa’a Oopa Avenue cheerfully waving their banners.
Late afternoon there was a festive programme on the waterfront, in the beautiful gardens of the Paofi Parc. The Parc was packed with people relaxing, picnicking and having fun.
I loved the hats and floral headbands, people had made such an effort on this special occasion.
Children’s play activities.
There were acoustic parties
An open air cartoon film would start when dark at 6pm.
At 8pm there was a fireworks display over the Papeete harbour.
After such a busy programme, I expect there were some very tired families the next day.
WordPress weekly photo-challenge
“This week show us your interpretation of prolific“
Pearls, pearls, pearls.
They call them “Black Pearls” because they are produced by the black-lip pearl oyster but they come in different colours.
Papeete is the small capital city of French Polynesia. It is on the main island of Tahiti. Everywhere you look, there are shops selling black pearls. Many of them are outlets for the Pearl farmers from different islands or atolls in French Polynesia.
So many shops sell pearl jewellery .
Some displays are better than others
Easter /Spring theme
This shop’s a bit cluttered.
Market traders sell low quality pearls.
The pearls are graded for quality.
The Tuamotus are said to produce the best quality pearls. The oysters thrive in the pristine waters of the remote atolls. However, the farmers of the society islands claim that they are the ones that culture the finest pearls.
Some pearls cost a fortune.
Phew, just for one pearl.
I could buy a new dinghy and outboard motor for that price.
As I wandered around the Pearl shops yesterday, I came across two lovely ladies working upstairs in the market. They sell the cheaper quality pearls and their display is crammed in amongst the cleaning stuff. But for all that, they were marvellous fun to chat with. I didn’t buy any pearls but they insisted on photographing me wearing an enormous pearl necklace.
Fun to chat to these ladies.
Machine used to make the holes through the Pearls
There are other types of pearls. Keshi pearls are small non-nucleated pearls typically formed as by-products of pearl cultivation. I love them.
Other jewellery is made from the pearly oyster shells. These fetch good prices as well.
Incidentally the Robert Wan Pearl Museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to pearls. It is located here in Papeete.
For this week’s photo challenge, point your camera at something or someone that puts a smile on our face (or just a smiling face)
All around Tahiti are large posters of smiling faces. What does it all mean?
In Tahiti the statement was smile for peace.
The photos appeared a couple of years ago around Tahiti. It’s good to look up and see a smiling face: smiling is contagious.
Happy Chinese New year 2018 from Papeete in Tahiti.
I caught a glimpse of a dragon moving around in a shop yesterday. It wasn’t a big dragon and didn’t look too scary. Ah hang on, Chinese New Year started yesterday, Friday 16th February and carries on to Saturday 3rd March. That explains the dragon. Although, this year is the year of the dog on the ground, so perhaps they should have had a dog. I don’t know. I’m not Chinese.
There are many Chinese shops in Papeete and it would appear that the dragon visits them all. This could take a while.
Today I spotted the dragon, well two boys and accompanying teenage drummers. The lads seemed quite deft at donning their dragon outfit.
The stockier lad was the rear guard, whilst the little lad climbed into the front face.
With a ricochet of fire crackers and a fuzz of smoke they were off. I didn’t hear coughing.
I’m wondering if they will be back at school in their separate classrooms on Monday. If so, what will they be wearing?
Folks in the sailing community around Tahiti and Moorea have the jitters. Huddled groups with serious faces discuss the weather and only a token few are British. It’s the cyclone season. Meaning our little bit of paradise called home, could be at risk.
A couple of weeks ago, a number of Papeete Marina pontoons were badly damaged and some boat fenders burst when the swell came in.
The recent grim weather forecast for lashings of wind, rain and swell have driven folks out of the marina. Preferring to seek refuge in known boltholes in the lagoons around Tahiti and Moorea. The marina was eerily quiet over the weekend.
Predicting the effects of the weather, particularly with a convergence zone, is notoriously difficult. It follows no pattern; a bit like me and my map reading skills. We then have to decide what effect the conditions will have in the marina. With John’s skilled knowledge, hunched over the computer deciphering the weather, we opted to stay in the marina.
It has poured with rain for days. I’ve checked on the welfare of the solitary Muscovy Duck who also opted to stay in the marina. Poor thing has been so wet, bedraggled and miserable, plucking out feathers in despair. I don’t like the idea of a wild animal becoming dependant on humans but in time of need… Some rustic whole meal bread, seeds and grain have been gratefully swooped on, with an appreciative little tail waggle. From the duck not me, I hasten to add. I ignored the raised eyebrow from John, as he compared his bland subsidised baguette to the duck’s wholesome delicacy.
Last night the wind was due to peak and head straight into the cockpit. Lucky for us, in the evening, the cruise ship “Marina” appeared. It was 12 hours earlier than scheduled and formed the perfect windshield for us all.
By morning the wind had dropped off and changed direction. The rain had eased a little. The smell of kippers for breakfast wafted across from the cruise ship. The Polynesian dancers, were braving the elements to greet the guests. The place was noisy and vibrant once more.
We are not complacent. It’s the swell that wrecks the pontoons and brings along with it tree trunks and debrey. We have yet to have that event. Our fingers are crossed.