Over the Pentecost 3-day weekend, the people of the Ile des Pins put on a fun fair, to display their arts, farm products, dances, music, culture and environmental awareness to other New Caledonians (as well as to tourists like us).
About 40 stalls had been set up in the sports grounds near the town of Vao. Each stall was decorated with beautifully woven palm fronds, flowers, shells, fronds woven into birds, turtles, fish and more. Numerous artists displayed their works. Farmers displayed their best Yams (which is a very important part of the tribal culture) and other produce. One stall was selling large black crabs at a good price. Food stalls offered wonderful eats. Groups of children were totally engaged in artfully presented educational materials concerning sea life preservation and protection of the Southern Lagoon of New Caledonia. A stage had been erected with a sound system, and the local dance group performed their traditional dances, accompanied by local musicians playing drums and singing. We enjoyed Tahitian Salad (fresh tuna marinated in lime juice and coconut milk) and chocolate cake for lunch. We met many interesting locals who showed us their hand made and ornate Ukeleles, seashell jewelery, baskets and designs woven of palm fronds, hand crafted models of traditional outrigger canoes, and other wood carvings. On Sunday there was more dancing, music and even a fireworks display.
After the fair we drove to the beautiful Oure Resort at the far end of Kanumera Bay, to entertain Cleo and Albert in a round of tropical cocktails and enjoyable conversation. As we were departing the hotel, the nearly full moon overhead was encircled by a large “moonbow”. It was spectacular but impossible to photograph. Quite a sight that none of us had seen before. It was the perfect ending to a very pleasant day.
We returned our rental car to the Hotel Kou-Bugny and found our way on foot in the dark, but moon-lit night, to ALLEGRO waiting for us at the dinghy dock, to return us to ADAGIO.