Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Granted, these and bicycles are more common
than cars and trucks on Maupiti.

“There are no cars on Maupiti,” my relatively recent LonelyPlanet guidebook claims.  It’s incorrect unless trucks, the 4-wheelers of choice, don’t count as cars.  It is true that overall Maupiti’s resisted large scale tourism, sticking to a few small, simple pensions scattered about the island and motus. 

Maupiti Heiva traditional Polynesian games:  These guys
line up with their spears, aiming with great concentration.

There is a post office, and airport, a ferry, several small grocery stores, some fruit stands and a once monthly morning visit from a bank which we discovered the afternoon they left.  There is no ATM and for the most part credit cards are not accepted.  We arrived like most cruisers on an expired visa and less than $20 in cash.

The coconut on a pole they aim at in traditional Polynesian games is a
tough target! This was a Maupiti Heiva event.

This year Maupiti’s pensions organized a big Heiva visitor’s welcome in the form of traditional crafts, games and a traditional Polynesian fire pit meal.  The competitions included a good-natured rivalry between the pensions and the cruisers.  

Maupiti Heiva fire pit oven just before it’s
unburied at Maupiti’s Heiva event.

We happened across the event on a cycle ride around the island.  We dallied a while and to watch the banana bunch relay races, the coconut spearing competition and the unearthing of the fire pit meal.  

Maupiti Heiva Unearthing the oven pit…
first dirt, then burlap, then banana leaves.

As we already partook in a traditional Polynesian meal with the Pacific Puddle Jump in Mo’orea at the Bali Hai we chose to save our last $20 for passage food though the Maupiti meal was less expensive and looked better than Bali Hai’s.  Chow time was a good time for us to move on , though we heard the festivities were fun and lasted well into the evening.

This cage of food was cooked in a fire pit
at Maupiti’s Heiva event.

Visiting kids check out the just emptied fire pit at
the Maupiti Heiva event, a traditional Polynesian meal.

Locals and visitors pitch in to serve up the just cooked fire pit
meal — red bananas, breadfruit, roasted pork, and
tapioca mixed in coconut milk.

Cruiser Oliver of Inspirity was delighted.  This was his fifth trip to Maupiti and the first time he was aware the island hosted this kind of event.

Of the several events we’ve attended in French Polynesia, Maupiti’s was the best blended of local and visitor involvement.  

Maupiti Heiva meal buffet line:  red bananas, breadfruit,
possion cru coco au lait, roasted pork, and tapioca
mixed in coconut milk.
We hope Maupiti continues to offer these kinds of events which are sure to encourage more visitors to come by and appreciate the gifts Maupiti has to offer.  Like Huahine, we prefer laid back less touristy islands where locals are quick with a welcoming smile and wave.

Note:  Banana races and fire pit meal unearthing videos to be added later to this blog post when there’s faster wifi in American Samoa.
How we got around Maupiti when not
walking, kayaking or taking our dinghy.
Location Location
Written in Maupiti, our last stop in French Polynesia (S16.26.838 W152.14.690) and set to post while we’re underway on an 1,100+ mile passage to Pago Pago, American Samoa.  We hope to stop for some R&R at Suwarrow in the Cook Islands along the way, though we expect no wifi in that remote location.