John, the kid on the left, went surfing with me. Me on the longboard, and him on the surf mat, he would hold on to the tail of the board as I paddled out, then we would catch a wave and scream together! So much fun! As the sun is setting I watch a squall come through, sweeping across the island, and it was one of the most beautiful moments I've ever had...
The routine on Tikopia was similar to Anuta, in that we were required to meet the chief (stoked to meet the chief!) to be granted permission to stay. We crawl on our hands and knees, keeping our heads down, into the chief's home. He then lifts our face, pressing forehead to forehead, and nose to nose, breathing deeply. This is our introduction to Chief Tafua! He welcomes us, and gives us permission to stay for the time we planned.
Something that we did not hear about in Anuta, Chief Tafua explains to us the relationship between Tikopia (Anuta also) and the Solomon Islands government. Due to the remote nature of these two islands, an agreement has been made where the chiefs of these islands are the ones in charge. If a situation were to occur where a police force would be necessary (rare, if ever), then it is up to the chief to handle the situation, and it is not the responsibility of the Solomon government. Because of this agreement, it is also the chief's right to grant permission to visiting sailors to stay. Normally, when entering a new country via sailboat, one must enter in specified ports to clear immigration and customs. On Anuta and Tikopia, it is the chiefs that "clear" you in. It sounded like there can still be some difficulties around this, and if I were to continue on to the Solomon Islands I would not mention that I'd been in Tikopia, but it was nice to get this bit of info, even though I had fully intended not to clear into the Solomon Islands before visiting Anuta and Tikiopia.
Chief Tafua, and some little ones. He would give them his already chewed up betel nut and these kids would go crazy!
Tikopia home. Much bigger than on Anuta.
The kids ran down the beach when we came ashore, and were fighting with each other for who got hold our hands :)
These kids had obviously seen more movies than the Anutans...
The big sister to Anuta, lying 60 miles to the Southwest, is Tikopia. A beautiful island, with half the crater blown out, and a lake sitting right in the middle, Tikopia is nearly as remote as Anuta, and Tikopians live a traditional Polynesian life.
Our route was putting us close to Tikopia, but we weren't planning on stopping there, being that we were on somewhat of a schedule to get to Vanuatu. After leaving Anuta in the afternoon, we sailed overnight towards Vanuatu, but the wind died off unexpectedly the next day. With Tikopia now visible on the horizon, just 30 miles to the West, it became obvious that we were to sail there. Well, with almost no wind, sailing alone wasn't going to get is there, so we turned on the engine, and "motor-sailed" our way, arriving just before sunset.
One of our greeters upon Arrival in Tikopia showing us his catch
We traded some fishing line and a lure for fresh tuna from this dude. Sashimi!!!
We leave Anuta in the afternoon, sailing for Vanuatu, after saying good bye to the greatest place I've ever been. The people are so beautiful and friendly, with smiles so deep, that four days felt like four lifetimes. Just big time love out here, and I can't wait to visit again!
One of my favorite aspects of sailing to these outward islands is experiencing their canoes! It is fun to see how they are the same and how so completely different they can be across thousands of miles of sea.
Canoes used daily for fishing are stored beneath the shade of the bluff
Shown here is a canoe designed by James Wharram. It was part of a project to bring sailing double canoes to both Anuta and Tikopia. This canoe periodically makes trips for supplies or to carry people to and from the Santa Cruz Islands.
In order to support the relatively large population of Anuta, the island is covered almost entirely by gardens. Mostly manioc, there is also pineapple, taro, cabbage, potato, banana, and tobacco growing about. Not to mention coconuts!
The chief has wisely forbidden copra production.
Manioc growing behind Rafael.
Our homies Rafael, Andrew, and Arro. You grow up fast on Anuta, and by the time you're our age, you are full fledged members of the community with families and "responsibilities". We are effectively 13 yr old boys running free, so naturally our best friends on Anuta were these young dudes!
As we round the point we saw four canoes in the water welcoming us. I was struck so hard by the sight, felt so heavily inside an indescribable emotion, I almost fainted, literally, to the effect that I was suddenly worried for our safety, I had to down some water and shake myself out of it.