Stephen Bassett
Sun 27 May 2012 19:31
Huahine is named after a woman as the outline of the island looks like a pregnant woman when viewed from certain viewpoints. It is incredibly lush and we have seen all manner of fruits and trees. We should also have seen a lot of sea-life by now too, but have been land based for a few days especially yesterday (Sat) as we had a tour and ate at a local house. There was also a storm so we were not rushing off to sail anywhere.
So, yesterday we hired a car and did a tour stopping to look at an amazing amount of Marea - temple sites - of which there are an abundance on Huahine. Then we headed to meet a local couple, Miri and Frank, who invited us to play with coconuts at their home. That meant taking off the husk first using a big spike in the ground to lever it off. Then identify the face (!) and use it as to guide to crack open the coconut with a cleaver. The juice is caught in a basin. Btw the male coconuts have a sort of marshmallow inside which kids love!! We tried bits at all stages of the process.
Next using a thing that looked like a wheel inner rim with a spiky knob inside plus some electricity, we were shown how to get the coconut flesh out of the inside of the shell.
You can eat or use most parts of the tree and then Miri cut down a tree so we could try the palm heart which is a real delicacy cos you have to kill the tree to get at it. It was fantastic but should only be eaten fresh. The tinned stuff is a weak and watery imitation. The shells when empty are used a mulch and put upside down as so that the rain does not gather inside as this becomes a breeding ground for mossies!!!
Squeezing the flesh is very hands on but the resulting coconut milk is amazing. It is creamy white and thick as cream. So,  take a clean tea-towel, grab a handful of flesh in the tea-towel and squeeze. Stephen was very good at this as he has such strong hands.
Then you can use it in cooking - more later - or in drinks, or freeze as it does not keep for long. Miri then showed me how to make poisson cru (marinaded fish, in this case tuna) with lemon juice, onions, salt and pepper, carrots, cucumber, raw tuna, and of course coconut milk. she had also cooked chicken with spinack and then at the end added some more cocount milk. Then along with rice, we had a feast with a lovely couple who entertained us in their home, and then, in the height of a storm ran us back to our dinghies feeling very humble and extremely well fed.
The storm did not worry us too much as the anchor was well set and although the wind was forecast to be 70 kmph, we all slept well and today are sitting here pinching ourselves at the view from all sides of the boat.
Cannot share the views today as internet access is limited, so text only but the photos will follow soon.
NaNa from Huahine (Ta ta!)