On Sunday morning we met at Yvonne's to see the village museum. Alfonse is the curator, and led us past an immaculate ex-secondary school to a brightly painted ex-primary school. ( with a concrete road the children all go to school 45 minutes away in Taiohae.)
Inside was a very high quality exhibition of historical artefacts, stone adzes, pestles and mortars, sharpening stones, shell fish hooks, carved stone Tikis and most amazing of all a 500 tonne boulder shaped like a turtle, carved with superb petroglyphs including men, turtles and great mahi-mahi dorado fish.
Alfonse had for years been involved with archaeological research in the valleys and, in one extraordinary project, they had taken a detailed cast of the two boulders with the most spectacular petroglyphs and the cast was now in the museum. It explained an odd structure I'd spotted stored in a shed which might have been a mould for a boat, if it hadn't been such an odd shape. K
There were displays of tattoos and the instruments used for the job. A photo of a regal lady in long black dress was the queen of the Marquesas, and she was recognisably the great grandmother of our hostess Yvonne. Altogether a fascinating place. Yvonne calls it the Salle Patrimoinale (Heritage Room) rather than a museum, as otherwise it would be run from Tahiti!
We returned to the restaura and were much feted with garlands of seeds round our nebula, and sacks of pamplemousses, bananas and mangoes given by the musicians. They even drove us to the dock to wave farewell. We left a coule of hours later, happy to have shared time with new friends, sad to be leaving and full of wonder at the extraordinary islands we have visited.
As we sailed along the coast, the dramatic scenery redoubled its power over us with cliffs disappearing vertically into cloud 2000 feet up, whilst jagged volcanic teeth gleamed green and black in the sunshine against the dark gloom of the heights behind.