As we crossed the surf line in our Zodiacs on the morning of February 10 at Tikopia, the exceptional nature of the place was immediately apparent. One of the most isolated islands on this itinerary, this Polynesian outlier in Melanesia, is the only location on this trip where the islanders have originated in Polynesia. Only a few huts were visible through the palm trees as we approached in our Zodiacs. A light rain fell during our landing on the reef flat and the clouds, which hung over the top of the mountain behind the beach, gave the island an almost ethereal quality.
The elders and children greeted us as we landed. While a group of avid hikers took a path through verdant gardens of cassava, & papaya to see the lagoon on the opposite side of the island, others did some bird watching or meandered among the homes of thatched palm. The dances involved almost 60 different individuals from two villages. A single drum, beat with two sticks by one man, afforded a distinctive rhythm for the various performances.
During the afternoon most of us went for a snorkel at the point about a mile away from the landing site. The strong surge offered some excitement over the extensive grottos and ravels through the living coral reef. The sun was low on the horizon when the last of the scuba divers and snorkelers returned to the ship and we sailed for Utupua in the Solomon Islands.