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Home Port of Seward, Alaska


Day 2 on Raiatea

We had a productive and very interesting day. After a successful morning of work, we then went on a tour around the island, stopping to see several of the island's famous "marae", ceremonial centers for the locals. Raiatea was the "sacred island" for most of the area, so these were important centers for worship and such.

We were able to complete the installation of the replacement solar charger, the replacement regulator, and the new galley LED array, providing light for counter space and cooking. Conni cleaned stainless on the taffrail and erected the Bimini.

We had elected to work in the cooler morning hours and quit work when the heat was worst, about 1400. With so much afternoon sun to enjoy, we decided to drive around the island, a mere 43 km. It's beautiful and a proper venue for a sacred island.

This mess is why we're in a bungalow! Wow! We've certainly lived in the mess before, but we decided beforehand that we'd not do it if we could avoid it. Behind our mattress at right are our two solar panels that we hope to mount tomorrow.

A rusted solar charge controller headed for the garbage. The company, much to its credit, sent a heartfelt apology and mailed us a new one at their expense. The screw that attached the cover were so corroded, after only 10 months, that I had to pry off the cover. Look at the rust!

Solar hot water system on a hotel's roof. It's simple and effective. In fact, our bungalow's hot water is from a similar unit.

A view down a road on the island's east side. The mountains are volcanic, of course, and very rough.

Hitching a ride, Raiatea-style.

We'd not seen this practice before, but the Raiateans keep their small craft out of the water on these human-powered lifts.

One of the BILLIONS of land crabs that scurry about, eat anything, and are everywhere.

This couple is strolling home. Strolling home! The water is so shallow that they can walk home, and this was high tide! Note the outrigger canoe in foreground. The island, by the way, does have electrical power.

No electricity this time, but quite a lush and lovely place to live.

Why this photo? The cylinder on the post is a....bread drop! Hey, it's French territory and these residents receive their daily baguette via a courier. Not every house had one, but all the French homes did. We would.

Another scene of the terrible beauty of Raiatea.

This little enclave of homes was tucked below the highway and difficult to see, but what a cool place to live!

Sunday afternoon is family time on Raiatea. In the rural areas, people walked, sometime for quite a way, to join neighbors for social time, music, grilled food, and boule. Boule is a French game and is a cross among curling, bowling and horseshoes, but can be played anywhere. The object is, I think, to come nearest to a previously rolled small ball. Closest, as in horseshoes, is the winner. There is a lot of strategy, of course.

The Grand Marae. These raised stone platforms kept the residents out of the wet ground and near one another. They developed into significant ceremonial centers as time passed. These are from the 1600s.

The lovely beach at the marae. No wonder that the early Polynesians chose this place! Note the tiny variation in ocean height: almost no tide.

Using a time-honored practice of usurping the religious locations and holidays of subject religions, this church was built on the grounds of the marae that it replaced.

To provide some scale, I agreed to pose. this is the outer wall of the marae, with the inner section behind this wall of volcanic stone. The raised area behind the wall is the "ahu" and is where the dignitaries were allowed to sit among the gods. What's changed?

This is a beautiful example of a marae. This one has a short stone wall around the main area, and a celebratory shaft in the center. Strewn around the area are odd stones that protruded from the surface. They were backrests for dignitaries! Building a new marae did require some human blood, of course.

Here's an excellent photo of the surface of the marae and the "backrests" scattered around. Odd to me, was that the shape of the area was square, although it's not a "natural" shape. The surface is remarkably flat and the corners are remarkably square.

At another marae, locals had left gifts. The rock at lower left was coral and had many tiny holes in it, Each was filled by a sea shell gift. The collection included pottery bowls, shell necklaces, pieces of wood, both carved and plain, and some other unidentifiable items.

One of the more extravagant items was this (totem) pole, hand carved and dedicated to a lost relative.

This is a nice look at the entire collection on the marae.



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