I write this sitting at anchor at the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. There is a steady rain and I am in about day three of a “standard” cold. With the cold and rain I don’t plan on setting foot on land here unless the sun breaks through in the next couple of hours–something I highly doubt will happen. So, that’s the post on Bay of Islands. I did take some photos from my cabin balcony and one attached shows what some editing can do.
We got here after two days at sea from Fiji where we docked at the cargo docks in Suva; again, behind another Princess ship that had taken the prime spot. It sometimes shows that we are the runt of the fleet.
Again, it was hot and humid. The excursion I picked for this stop was to a Fijian art village and a fire walking demonstration. I rather expected to see a model old Fiji village and had no idea about the fire walking. We got to the village after an hour bus ride. This time the bus was large and at least comfortable but, as in Samoa, there were open windows and so no air conditioning. I’ve gotten to like that format as it’s much easier to take photos while on the road. Had to get used to driving/riding on the “wrong side” of the road however; a hold-over from the British.
What is called an art village in Fiji would be called a tourist trap mall anywhere else. But, I was able to get my magnet for this stop so I guess the time there wasn’t all bad. After about an hour we were summoned to the far end of the village and seated in an amphitheater along with several groups from the other Princess ship. The show was worth the time.
A wood fire had been heating river rocks since 7am or so. The first thing that happened was the elder came out and examined the pyre and then summoned the younger men to clear the wood and arrange the hot rocks so that they would not move when stepped on. The whole was blessed and the elder got up on the rocks, stood for a bit and walked off. Then, each of the other younger men took their turn walking/standing on the rocks to the delight of the crowd. I’ve attached a shot of one of the walkers on the rocks.
Following the fire walking a group of women came out and did a dance performed to try to draw in a mate while the men did a war dance with spears and then short clubs. The latter dance was to show their agility with the clubs in close-in war. (Remember, in the times when these dances were done for “real” the loser in a battle got eaten so there was some incentive to be a good fighter.)
This was followed by a coconut shelling contest where the winner was supposed to get one of the ladies in the audience. But the loser contested and before we knew it a different local chief had come out with his group of warriors and challenged both contestants as not having gotten permission to hold the contest at all. A battle ensued and the loser of the contest was the loser in the battle and was carried out as if to be lunch for the day (attached photo). The other contestant deferred to the chief and was accepted into his group.
About that time the demonstration was over and as we were leaving the rain started. For a part of the journey back to port the open window was not exactly the best thing but the weather cleared about half way there.
That night we left for two days at sea before getting to the current port: Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
Tomorrow is Auckland and hopefully the rain will have passed by then. The forecast said it would but one never knows when the weather is involved.