“Mauri i te popoi a ee i te au marere
i hiti tovau.
Ia tari a oe. Tari a rutu mai i hea?
A rutu mai i toerau i hitia!
O te au marere i hiti atu a Vaua a ratu i reira
A rutu i toerau roa!
Areare te hai o Nu’u-hiva roa.
I te are e huti te tai a Vavea.”
“The spirit of the morning rides the flying
vapor that rises salt
from the sea.
Bear on! Bear on! And strike—where?
Strike to the northeast!
The vapor flies to the far rim of the Sea of Atolls.
Strike there! Strike far north!
The sea casts up distant Nuka-Hiva, Land of the War Fleet,
where the waves are towering billows.”
This was the ancient chant of the Raiateans, sung in the old days before the whites came, when they thought of the deeds that were done by the more-than-human men who lived on these desolate islands.
[Illustration: Harbor of Tai-o-hae]
[Illustration: Schooner Fetia Taiao in
the Bay of Traitors
The little isle behind the schooner is Hanake]
Anchorage of Taha-Uka; Exploding Eggs, and his engagement as valet; inauguration of the new governor; dance on the palace lawn.
As we approached Hiva-oa the giant height of Temetiu slowly lifted four thousand feet above the sea, swathed in blackest clouds. Below, purple-black valleys came one by one into view, murky caverns of dank vegetation. Towering precipices, seamed and riven, rose above the vast welter of the gray sea.
Slowly we crept into the wide Bay of Traitors and felt our way into the anchorage of Taha-Uka, a long and narrow passage between frowning cliffs, spray-dashed walls of granite lashed fiercely by the sea. All along the bluffs were cocoanut-palms, magnificent, waving their green fronds in the breeze. Darker green, the mountains towered above them, and far on the higher slopes we saw wild goats leaping from crag to crag and wild horses running in the upper valleys.
A score or more of white ribbons depended from the lofty heights, and through the binoculars I saw them to be waterfalls. They were like silver cords swaying in the wind, and when brought nearer by the glasses, I saw that some of them were heavy torrents while others, gauzy as wisps of chiffon, hardly veiled the black walls behind them.
The whole island dripped. The air was saturated, the decks were wet, and along the shelves of basalt that jutted from the cliffs a hundred blow-holes spouted and roared. In ages of endeavor the ocean had made chambers in the rock and cut passages to the top, through which, at every surge of the pounding waves, the water rushed and rose high in the air.
Iron-bound, the mariner calls this coast, and the word makes one see the powerful, severe mold of it. Molten rock fused in subterranean fires and cast above the sea cooled into these ominous ridges, and stern unyielding walls.