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On Tikopia

Lapita Voyage Blogs

By Matt Fletcher

We made it. 4000 odd miles and we finally made it. In the end, with the winds against us we ran out of time and the boats split up. Lapita Anuta should be on Anuta by now and we arrived on Tikopia yesterday morning, coasting through the small gap in the reef with terribly light winds and a couple of people paddling. In the afternoon the stiff westerly breeze that repeated weather forecasts have promised finally arrived. Such is life.

Tikopia in the distance
Landfall at Tikopia.
Rudi making food in a kitchen
The Lapita Tikopia galley equipment was set up in the house on the island. Rudy is preparing breakfast.

By this time we had moved en masse into a house just behind the beach. But Sunday is definitely a day of rest on Tikopia and we took it seriously, lounging around the beach and catching up with the Edward, the chief, and some other old friends. In the evening some of the guys dived for lobster, which we BBQ'd outside our new home while Lapita Tikopia bobbed around safely close to shore.

Klaus with Lapita Tikopia on the beach.
Klaus with Lapita Tikopia pulled high up the beach.
The lake at Tikopia from the beach. In 2003 Cyclone Zoe broke through into the lake. The rock-filled gabions were placed to seal the gap in the beach and make the lake fresh water again.

Today we explored a little, climbing up the collapsed volcano for a view of the large freshwater lake on the eastern shore. It was quite a hike after 4.5 months sitting on a boat, but the view is something special.

Tomorrow the training of the Tikopian crews will begin and on Wednesday the boat will be blessed by a priest and we'll party. With luck in a week or so we'll be joined by Hanneke and crew, plus the Anutans she has been training to take charge of Lapita Anuta.

For us the journey is over, but I can't quite believe it. I'm still grinning like a Cheshire Cat. This trip will take some beating.

- Matt Fletcher

A lake surrounded by trees and shrubbery
The freshwater lake of Tikopia from the top of the volcano.
Four Tikopian chiefs performing a ceremony
The four Chiefs (Ariki) of Tikopia lead the ceremony for Lapita Tikopia.
People dressed in ceremonial mats and body paint on the beach
Klaus in ceremonial mat and sacred Turmeric body paint.
People gathered in a local house
The crew and some locals gathered in the house. All houses in Tikopia have low entrances through which one has to crawl.