Fri. July 23, Taiohae Bay, Nuka Hiva. The Bird Dance and an early morning boat dance

What a night viewing the Marquesan dancing! Sue noted that this was our third Friday night at Heiva (Fete) celebrations, and this evening's theme was the bird dance. People dressed up in elaborate costumes, and drums beat out a rhythm to traditional singing while the soloists did their interpretive dancing representing birds, their feeding, mating rituals and flight. We watched wonderful displays of balance and coordination, and the audience cheered and clapped thru each group's dance. Two MC's narrated in French and Marquesan. It occurred to me that it was very impressive that so many young people participated in these dances; we think five years old was the youngest dancer; the majority of dancers were teenagers; all sizes and weights, and all actively involved in the performance. Most were elaborately tatooed; all wore grass or palm costumes, headbands and colorful necklaces of tooth, shell or feather. Many people in the audience were busy taking flash photos; it all ended too soon. A local band then took over; people danced, but we couldn't figure why one of their songs was "Feliz Navidad!" - maybe they're getting ready a bit early around here! The next morning (Sat. July 24) we awoke early for the weekly Sat. 0400-0600 farmers market. M didn't make it in as he had fended off a neighboring boat that had dragged down on us and would have hit our stern and self-steering vane had he not gently pushed the other vessel's radar arch away; fortunately the winds were gentle or the outcome would have been different. He stayed to ensure that a repeat bump would not occur, and at first light the single-hander woman captain of the boat came over by dinghy to let us know her windlass was broken, so we moved Infini to another location and all's well.

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