THE SOCIETY ISLANDS - PART 1
uneventful overnight sail we were greeted by a dawn sighting of
We took a
mooring at the Tahiti Yacht Club at Arue, about 2 miles to the east of the
We went into
We checked in, visited the local chandlery for a couple of bits, replenished a gas bottle and did the odd bits of shopping that could not be done at Carrefour. We took a stroll along the waterfront. This was where most of the visiting yachts would moor stern-to the quay Mediterranean style, except there was hardly anyone there! The local authorities had decided to tidy up the waterfront and had spent a lot of money on new quayside facilities, such as power and water. Unfortunately they then decided to charge such an exorbitant rate to moor up that nobody goes there any more, and the vast majority of visiting yacht now anchor – free – a few miles down the coast. So because of municipal greed the money has been wasted, and the once vibrant waterfront is now deserted, with the consequent loss to all the local businesses.
We hired a car
for the day to drive around
The green rolling hills
In all we spent
10 days in
Our introduction to Moorea was slightly soured by the first rude and inconsiderate yachtsman we had met all trip, but that was soon forgotten by the sheer beauty of our surroundings.
The anchorage, Oponuho Bay, Moorea
The lush interior
Local fruit and veg? Bananas, mangos, papaya, grapefruit and taro
Or local fish – dorade or mahe-mahe as the locals call it
Highlights were a beautiful dinner in the Mayflower restaurant, the best for many months (shrimp dumplings in a ginger sauce, followed by lobster ravioli - it’s a tough life!), and a visit to the local agricultural college with a delightful tour through their exotic plantations.
Yes, you’re right
? – do you know?
These are an ornamental variety – note mini bananas
One for all you birdwatchers – a finch of some kind – no bird book
More bananas – proper ones this time
the above, Moorea was rather beautiful but dull, and after a week we took the
90-mile sail to Huahine. On leaving in very little wind we were a bit concerned
that we would not make Huahine in daylight. We hoisted the Code O (large light
asymmetric genoa) at 8.30. By 12.30 we took it down again when our boat speed
reached 17 or 18 knots. We had made up our time and anchored off the little town
After the dirty
bustle of Tahiti and the rather dull, but beautiful Moorea it was nice to be
back on an island that felt like
The island is in fact two islands, the larger Huahine Nui linked to Huahine Iti, by a small bridge over the dividing waterway. Both islands are surrounded by one continuous reef, with four passes giving access to the mountainous islands inside.
Whilst in Fare we heard that the local dance troupe had been hugely successful at the Tahiti Heiva (festival) held every July and on their return was to put on a special performance for their own islanders. This was programmed for Friday night, but in true Polynesian style, on Friday morning everything was postponed for 24 hours.
We took the
opportunity to motor down the channel inside the coral reef to a delightful
anchorage at the southern tip of the island,
We return to Fare next day and that evening did watch a tremendous spectacle of traditional dancing and singing. I think the whole island turned out to watch and sometime the audience were as riotous as the performance. No polite applause here as they joined in the dancing and some songs, laughed, shouted and cheered. A good time was had by all.
Fare Ihi no Huahine - the prize-winning dancers
We decided a few
days peace and quiet would be in order and once again set off south to
Only one thing more to report from Huahine – sharks. The Pacific seems infested with them and though we are continually assured that they are harmless when you are snorkelling and a five foot shark swims by you do get are certain jolt. What happens if that particular shark is in a bad mood? How do you tell if a shark is in a bad mood? Is he just inquisitive or looking for a snack? I still find it unnerving being in close proximity to sharks in their environment.
Our friends, Chris and
islands, again surrounded by a single coral reef, lie 25 miles to the east of
Huahine. We sailed very gently across, dead-running with just the jib and
anchored on the edge of the surrounding reef in the lee of
We had a small
electrical problem which necessitated getting the batteries fully charged. We
managed to persuade the small Apooiti marine to let us squeeze in for one night
so that we could use the shore power. It was very strange being able to just
step off the boat onto land. It was the first time we had been alongside since
With the problem
sorted, and a minor fuel leak sorted as well, we headed the 3 miles across the