Since Mark and I arrived in the Gambier Islands, the end of May, the two competing dance groups (troupes) of Mangareva, the main island, have been practicing for their big local festival in July. Every evening we were anchored in Rikitea, we could hear the drumming echoing over the bay, from two directions. We had dinner on Irie with live Polynesian background music, I did the dishes on the rhythm of the drums and we fell asleep imagining the band and the dancers, the now familiar beats fresh in our minds. A few nights, while being on shore in the evening, we checked out the rehearsals and they were impressive.
On the night of the opening ceremony - the presentation of the groups - many spectators received baskets of fruit as a gift
Friday night, both troupes competed with Polynesian dances
The important people of the Gambier Islands
From L to R: flags of Mangareva, France and French Polynesia
The mayor (in white) gives a speech
Mark with the cutest puppy in town!
One of the two troupes - they won most individual prizes and best male costume
The dancers inviting some locals to join in the dancing
The second (and best) of the two groups
Pictures of the spontaneous dancing, drumming and singing of the Mangarevans, after the ceremony: