Huahine by Car
Exploring Huahine by Hire Car
We got up this morning feeling intrepid, off to find a hire car. Our first island ‘one careful owner’ (own blog for the rest) and a variegated bush – new to us. We found a lovely man who had been here for twenty five years from his native South of France, who sorted us out a tiny car for four hours. Plenty of time, we were told to take in the most important marae in all French Polynesia, stop and see the sacred eels, take pictures from the view point at Belvedere, have a late lunch and “be back before I close at six, as there no rush”.......Marvelous. We asked what had happened to the tourist industry, he told us it nosed dived after nine eleven and bottomed out three years ago during the American slump. Was it recovering yet, “No, barely there at all”.
Ten minutes after we had set off, we stopped at the famous archeological site and museum (own blog).
We passed a few fish traps not knowing what they were at first, after we read about them at the museum, the rock formations in the rivers made sense.
Just one of the many churches and graves we drove by.
Tourist Attraction: One of the famous attractions on Huahine is near the village of Faie, Huahine's sacred eels. We read this and pictured eels about two inches round and a couple of feet long. These freshwater chaps measured at least five feet and jump out of the water to be hand-fed by locals who stop by with cans of mackerel. Here, eels are treated almost as family pets and are considered sacred because of local mythology; the legend states that the first eel to crawl across the mountain married a beautiful maiden from Mataiea, Tahiti -- and that present day inhabitants descended from the unlikely couple. The shop opposite was closed, so sadly, we didn’t feed them. The bright sun was terrible on the surface of the water, so the pictures aren’t up to much but their blue eyes were a surprise and their pale mouths, most odd.
The bridge between Big and Little Huahine. Huahine is just shy of ten miles in length, with a maximum width of just over eight. It is made up of two main islands surrounded by a fringing coral reef with several motu. Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) lies to the north and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south. The two islands are separated by a few hundred yards of water and joined by a sandspit at low tide. Huahine is part of the Society Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France. It is part of the Leeward Islands group. The island has a population of about 6,000.
What a place to do homework.
Every few minutes the incredible views changed.
We found a lovely bay side restaurant for lunch. Bear soon settled to a cool beer.
Crunchy coral carpet, beautifully woven roof and the food. Mahi mahi, chips, salad and green beans, served with a creamy or spicy dip, delicious.
The view, complete with traditional fish trap.
We drove on, stopped in our tracks by the water colour.
Time to cool off.
Our last stop of the day was to see Marae Anini. Built, probably during the fifteenth century, in honour of Oro, the principle god of war and Hiro, the god of thieves. The communities in the south of Huahine Iti used the site in times of ceremony, where humans were sometimes sacrificed. In 1818, the last priest told Reverend Ellis that he could remember fourteen such events.
Huahine has it all. Stunning motu, crabs, colour, a few birds, culture, , lovely people in tune with their environment, and proud of it. A rare sighting – active bee hives and the all important ‘one careful owner’. Perfect.
ALL IN ALL AN AMAZING LITTLE ISLAND