31 May Hana Moe Noa and Vaitahu, Tahuata – Wednesday, 29 May to Friday, 31 May 2001
It pours overnight but is beautiful again in the morning. This is how the weather arranges itself in Paradise. We finish our business in Hakahau in the morning: I print photos and Chuck and Carol pick up some carvings from Alfred Hatuuki. Tui delivers our warclub at 1000. We learn that he got up at 0200 in order to finish it for us. We deliver chocolate chip cookies to the boys at the Outrigger Club and photos to Pere Joseph and to Rataro and say our “goodbyes”. We hate to leave. We love the beautiful people of Ua Pou.
We leave at6 1300 for Tahuata. Hana Moe Noa is a beautiful isolated bay on the island just North of Hiva Oa. No one lives on shore, although there are a few buildings and it was probably once a copra plantation. Its outstanding feature is its beautiful white sand beach, but looks can be deceiving. We don’t go ashore. The beach is notorious for its ferocious tiny nono bugs, the scourge of the Marquesas Islands. We stay on Starr, do chores, swim, snorkle and simply “veg out”.
On Friday, we go to the next bay and the town of Vaitahu. We have been told that the best bone carver and tatoo arthist in the Marquesas Islands live in this village. It is a tiny place and we have no problem locating Felix and Edwin Fii, brothers who are the bone carvers and tatoo artists we are looking for. As we are talking to them a small procession comes down the narrow dirt street. We follow the dozen or so singing women and children with a statue of the Virgin Mary to the church. After mass at 1700, everyone sits on the church steps while (it seems like) the rest of the village plays volleyball in the small field at the foot of the stairs leading to the water. It rains off and on through the afternoon.