Papayas & Dances in Hapatoni

We sailed from Hiva Oa to the next island south, Tahuata and anchored in the bay at Hapatoni


Cruising boats in the bay at Hapatoni. Velic is the middle boat in the outer row.

A glimpse of the variety of boats out cruising:


Freevoll, a modern aluminum sloop. Regine and Barnard were so kind to inform us of festivities the next day and take us into the village with them. Note the cross at the top of the hill in the background.


Ruth at the cross. From here we could see the whole bay.


The cruise ship “Paul Gauguin” visits Hapatoni about four times a year.


Cyril met us, and everyone, at the dock while waiting for the cruise ship to arrive. Multi-talented, Cyril dances and produces some of the finest carvings on the island.


The whole village prepared for the visit. Here the first small boat arrives with guests from the cruise ship.


Meanwhile, cruise ship galley crew brought a scale and crates to buy fresh fruit.


The island women were completely prepared with cases of fruits to sell.


Inspecting the fruit.


Paul Ellis, Corporate Chef of the Paul Gauguin cruise ship, on his final inspection of the purchase.

Buying fruit for the cruise ship Paul Gauguin

Paul with the fruit purchased for ship’s guests. Paul buys what each island can provide. Mangos are not in season, so no mango at breakfast buffet. Most fruits grow in every garden and vegetables are exchanged in the ‘back porch economy,’ which partly explains why we see so little in the grocery stores.


Every village has a church. This is a beautiful stone building.


The very well-kept church cemetery was dressed up for the festive visit by the Paul Gauguin.


Ruth on the main drag in Hapatoni.


Along the way we pass neatly kept homes and yards. Here a boat shed and copra drying rack.

Drying Copra

Dry copra, the meat of the coconut, is a major export commodity of the Marquesas.


The Paul Gauguin at anchor as seen from the main street.


The kids were thrilled with all the excitement.


Local women danced for us all.


Live music for the dancing. Notice the big drum in front of the woman in blue.


A woman on a cruising sailboat was clearly a kindergarten teacher. She gravitated to the little kids, and they to her.


And little girls got into the middle of the dance.



Guests from the cruise ship watching the dancing. We scruffy cruisers were lucky bystanders for the days’ activities.


5 thoughts on “Papayas & Dances in Hapatoni

  1. Thanks for the picture of Freevol which is an actually ancient aluminium boat 😀 24 years old ! But looks young enough for us 😊 have a great time in Society islands with crew enjoy beautiful Polynesia.


    • Regine, you are very welcome. We are pleased to provide the photo. Freevoll, even though 24 years old, is still a quite young and modern design – and especially improved with your graphics. Best regards.


  2. Enjoy the extra details about the daily life and the communities on the islands. Sounds very relaxing. Have you done any snorkeling?


    • Not much snorkeling so far. The Marquesas are relatively “young” islands, geologically. As steep underwater as you see above in the photographs. There are no fringing coral reefs. There is some coral on the rocks and some fish, but most of the reefs are rock just at the shoreline. This also explains the surge and rock n’ roll at anchor. Anchorages are exposed to the open ocean.

      We’re looking forward to the coral atolls of the Tuamotu’s for snorkeling.


  3. I find it marvelous to be able to follow your adventures in the south Seas from my kitchen table back here in Portland. Much vicarious pleasure to see you two enjoying the cruising life. Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

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