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Storytelling at Marae Arahurahu

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Guests streamed up the dirt road and wound through trees and flowers to the site of the performance. The bleachers were almost full when we arrived. Dancers and musicians rushed through their final preparations, and then the scene was set. If this place had a roof, they were about to blow it off.   This […]

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The Heiva festival launches our journey

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The Heiva i Tahiti runs for weeks. It is the largest, splashiest cultural festival in French Polynesia, and people come from all over the archipelagos to attend. It covers sport, handicrafts, and other cultural events, but the big nights are reserved for song and dance. The troupes are huge and they can perform here on […]

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Nuku Hiva overview

Overlooking Nuku Hiva, very green with small road below

An overview of somewhere new. Getting ready to explore Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia. Do you see the road down there?

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Harsh paradise

Takume atoll with palms in background, but you can see underwater

Many outsiders think of these islands, the coral atolls of French Polynesia, as paradise, but there is no escaping the harsh conditions here. Although I LOVE to swim, I have never really explored the underwater world. Here, it was more than beauty that called to me from below the surface, it was a curiousity about […]

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Marquesas arrival

almost black and white shot of Marquesan cliffs and palms

Welcome to the Marquesas! I hope these islands will blow your mind the way they are blowing mine. It’s just too much to start with colour, so I’m easing you in with an almost black & white. We are way out in the South Pacific, on the edge of French Polynesia. Kaoha! Bonjour! A place […]

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Scouting mission

Approaching Apataki atoll, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

I stood on the deck for a long time last night as we left Pape’ete, Tahiti’s big city. I couldn’t get used to the warm air. After three years visiting the Arctic and Antarctic, I kept waiting for a blast of cold to hit me. I gripped a cardigan thinking that – any minute – […]

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First connection

Dorothy Lubin-Levy at her home in Pape’ete.

I wrote Dorothy Lubin-Levy a month and a half ago on Facebook messenger. I didn’t know her, but I wanted to. She was the first person recommended to me, and she wrote back within a couple of days: “I am very honored to find your message. I am looking forward to have a cup of […]

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Agonizing over packing

A view of some mountains in French Polynesia.

Preparation means packing. I’m away from home five months per year, and I’m still terrible at packing. Especially when I’ve spent the last three years working in the Arctic and now … heat!! I have agonized over sunscreen (reef safe), sun hats (tourist alert), rash guards (new for me), and bathing suits (ugh). I’ve finally […]

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