Tuesday we managed to get Med-moored at the marina after the wind dropped back to normal levels. They put us on the outside dock with the big boats. Man, do we look small next to those guys! Glad they put us out here because the inside docks of this marina appear quite tight and it would have been a challenge for us to fit in there. As soon as we were secure at the dock we found the office for the agent we used to clear into Marquesas. He will handle our clearance into Tahiti and then our departure from
The departure clearance from
French Polynesia is just plain
weird. is the only official port of
clearance for either arrival or departure.
All the other “official” ports of clearance must mail the completed
forms to Papeete . When you leave Papeete Papeete
to go visit the other windward islands of French Polynesia, you actually clear
out of French Polynesia in . They give you the departure clearance
paperwork and then you take it to the Gendarmerie at your final island stop
(almost always Papeete Bora Bora). The Gendarmerie in Bora Bora stamps the
departure paperwork, you mail back another copy of this departure paperwork to Papeete, and then you leave French
Polynesia. That entire
process is so strange. We have never
heard of any other place where you clear out weeks or months before you really
leave. So we will be clearing out when
we leave Papeete but will not really leave French Polynesia until many weeks later. Our plans are to visit Moorea and definitely Bora Bora but we haven’t decided about the other islands
in between those two.
Each island group does different type tattoos. The Marquesas traditionally were the most heavily tattooed of any island group. Marquesan men would shave their heads and tattoo their scalps. In fact, they tattooed their entire bodies; sometimes even their eyelids and tongues and other ultra-sensitive parts of their bodies. Marquesan women were more restricted in their tattoo options. The most frequently chosen body parts were the earlobes and the space behind the ears, the lower back, and the arms and legs. The Christian missionaries considered the tattoos to be erotic and they certainly could not tolerate any erotic; so the missionaries managed to get King Pomare to ban both tattooing and dancing in 1819 when he officially converted to a Christian religion. This ban remained in effect until very recently when the Samoans did a tattoo exhibit during the Pacific Arts Festival, which was held in the
Hiva Oa, Marquesas one year. This exhibit rekindled interest in the
ancient practice of tattooing and now one often sees young Polynesian men and
women with tattoos.
Society Islands it was traditional for both men and women
to wear tattoos on the shoulders, arms and legs; but never on the face. They would tattoo their buttocks uniformly
blue and then tattoo the lower back to the hips with several rows of
designs. The Z-shaped broken line was
the most commonly used sign and were worn by women on each joint of their
fingers and toes.
marked their difference by the
use of hand-width tattooed bands below the armpits. Tattooing was much less practiced in the eastern
Tuamotu but was quite common in the
western Tuamotu. Men of Rangiroa (in the
northwest Tuamotu) might be tattooed from head to toe with irregular designs
such as curved lines, concentric circles or checkerboard designs. In the Austral Islands Gambier Islands
a tattoo was compulsory. The special
mark of that archipelago was a circled tattooed under the armpits of teenager
boys. It was divided into four parts and
was progressively inked in during the young man’s lifetime.
Because dancing and tattooing were banned for so long, no one is certain what the original Polynesian dances were exactly like. But thanks to many sketched log books and sketches made by sailors back during Captain Cook’s visits to
know what the original tattoos looked like.
At least this tradition was not totally lost.