Rather than heading to Tahiti itself, my husband, Seth, and I had chosen instead to spend most of our cruising season in the Tuamotus, the immense chain of atolls that stretches southeast to northwest between the Marquesas and the Society Islands, of which Tahiti is a part. The atolls—with their clear lagoons, coral walls and swarms of sharks—are a wonderland for scuba divers, which was the major draw for the two of us. But we also love traditional Polynesian dance and song, and so were delighted to find a Heiva already swinging into action upon our arrival at the end of June. Women were decorating the town square, weaving palm fronds over the facades of the post office, the town hall and a series of pop-up restaurants that had been constructed for the holiday month to come. The restaurateurs were pasting up menus featuring poisson cru in different variations, as well as chicken, pork, and sundry cakes and pastries. After stretching our legs around the village and surrounding coconut groves, we made our way back to our cold-molded wooden cutter, Celeste, where it was tied up, secure and calm after the passage, to an old wharf.