As a result of this page,
there has sprung up
on the other side of the world,
The Motu Iti Cocktail
A martini type drink.
Click glass for recipe.

Not far from Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea in French Polynesia lies

Motu Iti
Impressions in Pictures & Music
by Sandy Estabrook

No Man is an Island* the saying does go, but who is he who doesn't dream so.
Read what Tom Neale has to say. See below.

In the South Pacific Eons ago, volcanos erupted at sea, forming islands. Coral reefs were being born in shallow waters off shore. In time, the islands started to return to the sea, while their barrier reefs continued to grow, broke the surface and formed their own islands called Motu (in Polynesian). They are usually separated from their island mother by a turquoise lagoon.

Bora Bora - Click image above for Rudy Maxa's 1 minute Video impressions with caution.

Eventually the mother island sunk (or will sink) all together into the sea leaving a ring of low lying Motus known as an Atoll. Picture a necklace of pearls separating turquoise and sapphire waters, and surrounding the place where their mom was born. (The Island Above is Bora Bora in the Society Islands of French Polynesia.)

There are numerous atolls at different stages of evolution throughout the South Pacific. I had the opportunity to stand on a few motu and found that upon leaving, your heart never does. As in the lyrics of the B’way show “South Pacific” .. “It’s calling”, it’s always calling for your return. (Although the song spoke of Bali Hai, in actuality Michener was referring to Bora Bora)

Iti means little, hence Little Island. Motu Iti is the name I took home with me when I left Polynesia to be the name of my boat(s). It's also on my car's license plate. Always a reminder of my visit to that part of the world.

Today practicality must dictate, so you’ll find me not in the South Pacific but closer to home. If you are willing to forgo discos, gambling, shopping or jet ski rentals and still want to know more about this special place, Click Here - 77° W by 26°35 N.

French Francs well before the Euro

This island beauty demonstrates the elegance and grace of the Polynesian people in her dance, the Tamouré. It originates from Tahiti and the Cook Islands and is the most popular dance, which became an identifying mark of Tahiti. The 'ote'a (otea) is another version characterized by a rapid hip-shaking motion to percussion accompaniment. The movements of the hands is of equal importance to that of the rest of the body. The above is an exquisite and graceful mix of the aforementioned.

The Song accompanying the video is entitled "A Reva" by Tahiti Cool. "A Reva" is defined as a sensitive woman who is naturally graceful and emanates an air of balance and harmony. Upon meeting, her shyness can make her appear distant, reserved and secretive; but she is actually very anxious to be liked. Deeply attached to her emotional, familial and social values, she is a generous lady who likes to make others happy and cannot bear violence or aggression.

*John Donne (1572-1631), 'No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...'

Suggested Reading:
Typee - A Peep at Polynesian Life by Herman Melville
An Island to Oneself by Tom Neale


Editor's Note: - Sandy Estabrook
It all started after I saw Brando's 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. A severe case of Island Fever hit me and more specifically the South Pacific variety. You know, beautiful islands, topless women etc etc. Add to that a visit to Ian Fleming's Jamaica and I wanted to taste more. As a result I subscribed to the monthly journal of the Seven Seas Cruising Association. I read every book I could on solo circumnavigators and retired sailing couples following the sun. I must of read close to a dozen sailing adventures by the likes of Joshua Slocam, Herman Melville, Eric Hiscock, Hal Roth all the way up through Robin Lee Graham and Tania Aebi. Then I lived life vicariously through the Hermit of Suwarrow who as a merchant marine retired to live out his days (and write a book) on an uninhabited atoll in the Cook Islands. I remember telling friends, "when I retire, I'm gona buy a shortwave transceiver, move to an island in the South Pacific and listen to the problems of the world."

In all of the above my main focus was primarily the Maori Islands of Polynesia. Namely, the French Islands of The Marquesas, where Melville fell in love and Jacques Brel and Paul Gauguin spent their final days. The Society Islands (today French) of Captain Cook of Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea etc. And also the English speaking Cook Islands and Western Samoa and the Island Kingdom of Tonga. They all are part of the Polynesian Triangle, which stretch their way from the northeastern tip of New Zealand to the aforementioned groups eastward to Easter Island and up to Hawaii. That's about 117,000 square miles! And buried in that sweeping expanse is little Pitcarin Island is where mutineer Fletcher Christian took to hiding.

Note: Polynisia and its Maori peoples lies within the greater area of Oceania which is over three million square miles. It also include the familiar names of New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Palau, Micronesia (group), Melanesia (group) the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Nauru. The peoples of Oceania are classified into four racial groups: They consist of Malaysians, Polynesians (Maori), Micronesians, and Melanesians.

Back in the late 80's and what seems like a long time ago, we were afforded the opportunity on separate occasions to visit both Hawaii and its neighbors and a year later visited the Society Island group of French Polynesia; Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and Raiatea. I'd say, then the latter group was 50 years behind Hawaii which was the appeal of this part of Polynesia. Here we made it our business to immerse ourselves in the Maori culture and took advantage of invites to native homes, events and visited their cultural centers.

After arrival in Tahiti, prior to our departure to the out islands, we will always remember, chatting with a fellow at the then Beachcomber Bar. He too just arrived. What we didn't know initially and which eventually was revealed, was that this was his second trip with his first trip being only a month prior. Upon his return to Boston, he closed shop, rented his home and returned to Tahiti for a time to be determined. Talk about island fever!

When we left Polynesia, I brought with me a bottle of Hinano which adorns my book shelf to this day. And I borrowed the name Motu Iti which I gave to my boat(s) and eventually this website baring its name. In regards to the latter, one day I got to playing with html, the code of the internet. Now what to do with this new knowledge? Well, I got creative and with some pictures I took or found on the web plus some music I purchased during my visit, came up with this simple page - That was in the mid '90's, the early days of the internet. From inception there has been little updating of this page except the addition of two more "selectable" songs, a change in a couple pictures. I then added this dissertation in Spring 2011 as the world tumbles into financial turmoil and social unrest. 2015 saw some reformatting to HTML5 to accomodate iPhones. And the world is still at unrest only for different reasons.

Even prior to that, in 2007, I started to read and see TV documentaries on rising sea water levels impacting the fragile atolls of the region which necessitated its mention here. For those interested, do a Google search on the subject, there is plenty to read including Sitting by the Sea, a Poem by Jane Resture. Because of the aforementioned, I feel a sense of urgency and hope that sometime soon we should return to Polynesia, the most beautiful region in God's world. There are still places I hope to see; The Atolls of the Cooks and of course Suvarov where Tom Neale settled. The Tuamotus and Marquesas the final resting place or Paul Gauguin and where Herman Melville fell in love with lovely Fayaway, and finally the Island Kingdom of Tonga.

PS. For those interested in Oceania & Polynesia, I would like to give a strong recommendation to the now archived website of
Jane Resture's Oceania
. Here you'll find a wealth of info and all you need to know about the greater area of Polynesia and then some. It will take some poking around, as it is as vast at Oceania itself. Be sure to read her poem above it says it all.

UPDATE 2022: Hi Res (1920 x 1080) Slide Show. It is Here

Polynesian Music Player 36 songs

Polynesia too far? Click here.