What a wonderful way to commence our journey! Arriving by Zodiac onto an village beach on a small coral island, we were greeted by friendly warriors and numerous happy, excited children.
Once settled, we all walked to the courtyard, took a seat in the shade, and were treated to one of the most incredible, heartfelt cultural dances and performances that I have ever had the privilege of witnessing.
First, a group of women came out and performed several songs and dances. During the final dance many staff and guests joined in, much to the amusement of the large crowd of locals that had gathered around to watch.
The men were next and gave impressive performances of warriors and hunting. They were followed by a group of women dressed mainly in white. This dance was interrupted by the ‘mud men’ who joined in to ‘kidnap’ the women. But then in came the black charcoal covered men dancers to save the women and ward off the mud men. It was all very exciting and loads of fun. The laughter and energy from the audience was truly infectious.
Next, Chief Peter welcomed us and then led us on a walk to the neighboring village some three miles away. It was a hot walk, but we were always surrounded by ever-smiling, excited children who entertained us all the way. (Or was it us that entertained them?)
One of the men climbed coconut palms and collected fresh fruit for us to purchase. Each coconut was de-husked and opened by the locals. Several guests indulged, some maybe for the first time, a pint or so of beautiful, refreshing coconut water.
We walked back, stopping to look at the market stalls where many purchased some of the amazing wooden carvings offered for sale. Then we finally, and reluctantly, said our goodbyes. It was an experience that I am sure many guests and staff will remember fondly for the rest of our lives. I also think those children will be talking about us for a while too!