Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quatorze Juillet - Fete Nationale - Bastille Day!

14th July of course is Bastille Day, when France celebrates the overthrow of the monarchy and aristocracy in 1789.
Now, 228 years later, this remote territory of France celebrates with dancing, singing, parades, speeches, flowers and food food food. 

Niku Hiva’s village communities divide according to the valleys where they live. Dance and drum groups practice for their competitions; horses and trucks are decorated, and everyone dresses their best, which usually involves many many flowers as perfume and jewellery. 

The parade of horses with their riders (described by the MC as 'chevaliers' (!) ) was a fabulous display of bareback handling skills. The loud bass pumping through the speakers certainly spooked the horses, challenging the riders to maintain control. 

Firemen, sports teams, fishermen, farmers, all paraded in groups along the waterfront road, before everyone (including us) was invited for an amazing feast in the community hall. 

Fireworks were set up on the beach and a few went off before the tide came in....

Horseman followed by (somewhere under there) a 4 x 4

This cowboy had tattoo designs drawn on his jeans. And impressive skills.

the only woman competing in the horse parade.

Cooling off - Rumpus in the background

Tattooing scene in one of the dance dramas. Very realistic!

Rumpus has been at anchor here for a few days and we have done some exploring. We rented a car and drove to a fresh water source in a neighbouring valley - a couple of trips and we managed to fill our stern tank. For some reason there are a lot of Danish boats here so we have met some great Scandinavians, including Klaus and Gitte who came on our expedition. We saw the cultural centre built in 2011 and some ancient villages and tikis from pre-European times. 
We also saw the most scenic telephone box ever, the wild agricultural west of the island and the "Nuku Hiva grand canyon"

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