Day 222, Year 1: Miss Ua Pou Pageant (just like Miss America)
Date: Saturday, May 27, 2006
Weather: Sunny with Periods of Rain All During the Day and Night
Location: Hakatau Bay, Ua Pou Island (pronounced wapoo), Marquesas

We love this anchorage. It is beautiful and the people here are warm and welcoming. The cruisers anchored here are also very friendly, so it is just an easy place to be. The high mountains and spires that rise up from the village of Hakatau are covered in clouds most of the day, but in the early morning you can sometimes catch a glimpse of them before the clouds move in.

This morning the French Coast Guard boarded the boat to do a Customs check and then we headed to town to do our official check-in with the gendarme. Fellow cruisers who said checking-in here would be easy were exactly right. The gendarme actually checked us in and forgot to see if we had our bond. We reminded him that we would need to get the bond on Monday and he looked a little embarrassed that he had forgotten to mention that. We have to each get a bond equal to the cost of a plane ticket back to the US, and here we will be able to put this on our charge card. In Hiva Oa, they wanted cash and we just couldn’t withdraw enough cash fast enough to secure the bonds. If something goes wrong on Monday and we aren’t able to charge this, we will go with an agent. But if all goes well, we will be finally totally official on Monday morning.

The highlight of today was attending the special dinner tonight in honor of Mother’s Day here. There was native dancing and the Miss Ua Pou pageant. It was exactly like a Miss America pageant with talent, bath suit, and evening gown competition. The bathing suits were bikinis with wraps that were slowly removed. The talent was native dancing to drums, and the evening gown competition was varied. Tonight we were seeing only the final three and one chose a very oriental looking gown with a high neckline and long sleeves. She came in third. One young woman was in a two-piece gown that looked more like a native costume. She came in second. Miss Ua Pou was not the best looking, but she definitely had the talent and gown competition on her side. She wasn’t the best looking, but she had panache. I’m sure we will see her again in Tahiti for the Independence Day celebrations there and probably in Bora Bora for the Bastille Day celebrations in mid-July. We will probably also see some of the dance troupes we saw tonight in Bora Bora for the final island competitions in July.

The beauty pageant was followed by music from a local band-electric keyboard and ukulele. Some of the music was right out of the 1950’s, while other songs sounded like a combination of Hawaiian and Country Western. We danced and had a great time. Mark and I were in total awe of the local couples who danced. They move to the music so gracefully. Mark commented that he had never seen so many graceful men on a dance floor at one time, and I agreed. These people do know how to move to music.

060527 Day 222 Marquesas, Ua Pou–Miss Ua Pou Celebration