Posted in Tahiti on December 04, 2011 by Victoria Allman
“Iorana, Victoria. Mahi today?” Nunu, a dark Tahitian man with tribal tattoos of tikis, turtles, and rays wrapped around his bicep and stretched down his muscular calves, dropped a blunt-nosed fish on the back deck. The iridescent greens and blues still flashed on its silver skin indicating it had just been caught.
“Thanks, Nunu. Will you stay for lunch?” Nunu had been bringing me mahi each time we anchored in the South Pacific lagoon of Maupiti. With guests on board, I rarely had time for more than a quick hello and to ask about his family, but today it was just the crew.
His face lit up like our navigational spotlights. “Me? On here?” He looked up at the towering levels of teak decks and polished stainless rails. Pangaea was quite different from the fishing boats he was used to seeing come through the pass in Maupiti.
Days start early when you are so close to the equator. Or maybe it was that there was so much to do during the day? Cooking for guests and thirteen crewmembers made my French Polynesian days hectic. Stress onboard was high. But that didn’t stop me from claiming my own few minutes of paradise.
Whah! Whah! Whah! The incessant noise filled our cabin each morning. It was still dark when I tiptoed across the deck and started the uphill hike to Vaiana’s. I didn’t take a direct route—that would have meant by winding along the waters edge from the marina, through an abandoned field, over the jagged volcanic rock to the grove of banana trees where Vaiana, a Tahitian fruit-seller sought shelter from the hot tropical sun under the broad green leaves. Instead, I first climbed the hills overlooking her particular piece of paradise to watch the suns first rays light up the distant island of Moorea across the bay. It was my few moments of calm before the chaos of the day began.
The weightiest decision I had to make on my stroll was whether to tuck a white tiare flower or the larger bright yellow hibiscus bloom behind my ear. I cherished those few moments of peace.