A great time in Tahaha

Position           16:36.18S 151:33.43W

Date                Saturday 9 May 2014

 

Distance run – 11nm over the ground

 

We decided to give the island Raiatea a miss as Tahaa seemed to have sucha lot to offer us personally.  During our time on the island we circumnavigated it first by bicycle and then by boat.

 

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The first night in Haamene having set the anchor and checked that we were holding we had a settled night.  For whatever reason come 8 0’clock in the morning the anchor decided to drag and with the anchor alarm chirruping its warning we moved backwards with the wind and tide.  There are hard patches of scoured rock covered with very fine sand in the bay and we had obviously found one. Fortunately we were up and about so moving further in towards the town was an option and we found what appeared to be some thick mud for the anchor.

 

Over the next few days we were joined by other rally boats who appreciated the very sheltered anchorage.  Whilst the facilities ashore were limited there was a source of daily fresh baguettes and the all important ATM.  There was even that holy grail of modern cruising yachties, a WiFi hotspot.

 

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Anchored off the town of Haamene

 

Our first full day on Tahaha looked dull so we decided to dig out the bicycles, ferry them ashore and do a round the island trip, about 30 miles.  For most of the trip the road was well paved, courtesy we suspect of the French government and following the coast were flat.

 

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There were however two very steep hills (Pedal to Paris readers, think Folkestone Hill on steroids) one out of Baie Haamene and on getting back into it. 

 

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The best part of any hill is going down it.

 

The new bicycles performed really well.  Finding somewhere to buy a sandwich for lunch was a challenge as many businesses seemed to have failed and those that looked active had not yet opened for the season.  We eventually found a kiosk that sold us that well know Society Island speciality a meat and chip sandwich.  We ate it in the village park with Bora Bora in the background.

 

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For those who wonder where the doors got their name, look no further.

 

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This fisherman’s hut may have been basic but note the satellite dish.

 

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The ride around the island was great allowing us to see so much more than from the boat or indeed in a hire car; it was rather like cycling through a botanical garden.  Many of the local population live in very basic conditions

 

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but in general the island is well tended and there is a sense of civic pride in keeping it that way.

 

A pronunciation lesson.  The local written language is very phonetic.  The “FAA” is pronounced Far Ar.  This leads to some great names:

 

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This village and bay is Far Ar Ar Ha.

 

As the weather improved we moved out of the bay back into the anchorage to the north of Ile Mahaea and Passe Toahotu and enjoyed some swimming and paddle boarding.  We were joined by Tulasi and they kindly invited us to dinner on board where we had a great evening in the company of Manfred and Annelese.

 

There followed a sea borne assault on a pearl farm, where we were entertained to a detailed  description of how pearls were grown, including demonstration of seeding individual oysters.  An individual drop shaped black pearl, for a pendant, was purchased to go with the 40th anniversary black pearl earrings.

 

Moving rapidly on we took the boat anti-clockwise inside the reef which allowed us to see our cycle ride from a different perspective.

 

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Looking from the other side, this is where we had our sandwich during our cycle ride

 

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There were some wonderful views over to Bora Bora

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Get used to the bungalows on stilts, the Society Islands have a definite superfluity.  We anchored off this hotel on Ile Tautau in order to snorkel the “Coral Gardens on the reef between it and the next Motu.  Sorry no photographs but it was brilliant.

 

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Sunset looking from Ile Tautau towards Bora Bora