Motu Musing

The tender boat taxied our group across the waters to the cruise line’s private Motu just a scant distance from our cruise ship.   As we drew near the dock, a group of bright and beautiful sarong-wrapped young ambassadors from our ship were waiting our arrival … singing lilting local songs and strumming ukuleles and guitars.  As we pulled in, we realized we recognized each of them.   Some or all had greeted us on embarkation, guided us through the

safety muster, entertained in the after-dinner theatre, accompanied us on a land tour or led the many shipboard activity sessions.  The ship boasted a nearly one to one ratio of guests and crew, eight of which were the Gauguin and Gauguine ambassadors.  I don’t know what the other crews were doing because these incredible eight ambassadors were everywhere, day and night, on board or on land, catering to our every whim with such kind grace.    It took only a day for the Gauguins and the Gauguines to totally endear themselves to us.  They were collectively expressive and serene, innocent and wise, happy and reverent and all with the warmest smiles and gentlest demeanors you’ll ever experience.  Once we were off the tender boat and onto the dock, our Huahine guide broke ranks to greet us, dropping to his knee in a deep bow of sincere reverence.  In a fleeting, but unforgettable moment, I entered the realm of an Ali’i Nui.  I felt as revered and lush as the exuberant halos of flowers gracing the young women’s brows.

Feeling like true royalty, we made our way down the pier to the rainforest-like private Motu where the ship’s dining staff was putting the finishing touches on a lavish luau-style barbecue. Among the first to arrive, my cruise mates and I took up temporary residence on this half-moon of island paradise.  With each tender boat round trip, more guests arrived ramping up the anticipation of a memorable Motu day. It was ours for the day with not a moment to be squandered.  Once everyone was settled in, the island began to hum with contentment … each of us reveling in our own version of what that was.  It was cliché, but I thought to myself at the time, “it doesn’t get any better than this”. Our elegant Gauguines moved gracefully around the Motu, assuring everything was in place and to our liking.  I chose a chaise situated under a canopy of majestic palm trees just four feet from the water’s edge.  Our Gauguins set up the day’s activities and then deftly scaled palm trees for fresh coconuts, dropping them below for anyone who wanted to sample the refreshing, cool coconut milk inside.  As I lay back on the chaise, taking in the serenity of my surroundings through squinted lids, i watched my Motu companions … lithe and lovely young woman, shaded in a straw hat, wading in the crystal clear shallows, shrieking in delight as tiny transparent fish swam around her ankles … a couple of thrill seekers on jet skis tearing through the waters further out, sending diminishing waves back to the tranquil shoreline … the gathering of sarongs and swim trunks sipping beverages around the floating bar … the suntans swimming into the horizon where the sky and sea meet … accompanied by a symphony of indistinct chatter and laughter from distinctly happy people.   As I lowered my lids and melted into my reverie, I felt drops of moisture on my face, “oh, no, it’s starting to rain” I thought.  I opened my eyes … the sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky.  It wasn’t raining … I was weeping.  Sweet, silent tears surrendered the heaviness and fatigue and relentless rattling in my spirit …  slipped from the corners of my eyes, down my cheeks and out of my soul.  Lying there with sunlight streaming through majestic chapel of palm trees, I felt a Divine Presence and a peace I have rarely known. Heaven, most assuredly, must be like this.  Come …

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