We came in yesterday morning to the visitor dock of Apooiti Marina. We spent the day doing chores, Bear of the blue variety, and of the pink – namely scrubbing the bathroom and doing the washing. We couldn’t wait for our first non-rationed shower since leaving Shelter Bay, Panama in early February. (Our stay on the town dock in Papeete had no such facilities). Bear unlocked my door and in I stepped to a spankingly clean Ladies, three showers to choose from. A creature of habit, rather like which side of the bed you sleep on, I chose right, back corner. Settled shower gel, powder, underarm, brush and bath robe, I was ready. Experience has told me not to step straight under, in case the water was too cold, too hot – no risk of the latter. I found by turning the knob all the way to the left made the cold water very cold. All the way to the right, pressure slightly lower. Not liking anything to do with the word cold, I washed my knickers (as always), but this time used them as a flannel to wash bits at a time. I bet that took a long time.
Have you ever seen anyone use a mid-blue Egyptian Cotton bathrobe belt in such a malicious choke hold before.
Cough and splutter Bear, cough and splutter.
So my longed for shower turned in to a vertical bed bath.
Nothing for it but to placate myself with happy food. Ham salad and a dollop of mash. Mine decorated with silverskins (no big, fat pickled onions since leaving the UK – a must do experience when we get back on our next visit. Not a big fat wally – ditto, so the cocktail ones have to suffice). Marvelous treat though.
A motu with Tahaa in the background.
After some more cleaning chores this morning, we took a taxi in to town. Past experience told me not to trust Bear and his IPad, telling me that it was an inch and a half to walk. Been caught like that before when a simple bimble to find Sear’s, turned into a non-sponsored walk, with idle threats of never again and a certain amount of ticking.................Steady. This journey, as it happens was not too bad at three and a half miles.
Uturoa is the main port and town of Raiatea Island. At the August 2007 census the urban area had 8,735 inhabitants, 3,778 of which lived in the commune of Uturoa proper. Raiatea Airport serves the island. Ferries sail to Vaitape, Bora Bora and Tahiti, some sail northward toward nearby Tahaa.
Throat still sore from his choke hold, Bear took me to lunch out. We then went for a bimble along the quayside. Clearly built to welcome in small cruise ships, the now weed strewn area smacked of yesteryear.
Terrible shame how the global economy has hit these lovely little islands, not a tourist in sight. Uturoa is situated between the small pass of Tahaa and the forest-covered mountains of Raiatea.
The mall area behind the quay reminded us of so many cruise ship areas we have visited.
History: Uturoa was first settled by early Polynesians coming from Southeast Asia. When the settlers first arrived, they had built houses of branches and grass. Fish, bananas, and apples were the main food. They hunted fish by using spears and sticks. The first European that recorded its sight was Pedro Fernandez de Quirós in 1606; it was charted as Fugitiva. During the 1700’s, Captain James Cook had arrived in Tahiti and many more French Polynesian islands to map most of the Pacific Ocean. Later on, Charles Darwin had come on his expedition. He explored Moorea and other Society Islands. Don the Beachcomber had lived here some of his life. Uturoa had a major population growth during the 1940’s.
Bear had so looked forward to visiting the town chandlery. His excitement was palpable, but, I had a feeling he was to be disappointed and sadly this was the to be the case. We did find a French courtesy flag for 824 Polynesian Francs, then spotted a much needed American Samoan one. Identical in size and material, we both shuddered when the man said 3,247 Polynesian Francs, we’ll just put it back then..............We wandered through some very Chinese influenced shops, then to the Artisan Market. Hanging in pride of place was a splendid catch dated the 15th of June 1968. This 4 metre long beast, weighed in at 1410 kilos. The market downstairs was set out with flowers, fruit and veg.
Upstairs the traditional Polynesian crafts.
Next to the supermarket, find a taxi and bid farewell to the town.
ALL IN ALL A HAPPY BIMBLE
A QUAINT LITTLE TOWN