Catch up on Huahine and over to Raiatea 16:54.9S 151:26.7W

SV Jenny
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Thu 16 Jul 2015 01:15
Dear Family and Friends,

9th July 2015

You can never tire of looking at the fringing reef, a line of silver white surf pounding and restless, rings the islands, inside the waters colours sparkle and draw you in to discover their secrets. Navigating carefully with the GPS there is a relatively deep channel between the shore reef and the outer reef, water depths of 20-30m can disappear in just a few metres as the boat approaches the near vertical face of the reef, fun in a dingy but stressful for us as we draw over 2m. We motored up the coast to Fare, the main town of the island, the water is so clear you feel as though you are resting on a glass ceiling watching the seabed and the fish. So much so we were able to see that the anchor chain was wrapped around a coral head but fortunately after a night of swinging on our mooring the chain had untangled itself.

There’s not a great deal to Fare, a couple of main streets, some basic services, a market, and thats about it. We hired a car for day and toured the island highlights, using the tourist map where the roads are not accurately drawn, oh I do love those. 

Beside a lagoon in the north of the island is an ancient marea, foreground, and a reconstruction of a traditional dwelling beyond.

Inside the house on stilts, a museum of local life. bamboo is woven for the floor and also forms vertical battens for the walls, the roof is ‘thatched with palm leaves.

The marea are constructed with slabs of coral, split by fire. I’m still trying to work out how this is done!

North coast of Huahine.

Traditional fishing methods are still practiced today. In the distance thatched huts straddle the shallows, in line with the dams, love to have this explained!

We visited a pearl farm in the middle of the lagoon, where we learnt how pearls are seeded. To the left there is an oyster demonstrating the black mantle which gives the pearls their colour as a small piece  of mantle is inserted along with the one of the seed spheres seen on the right. These ‘seeds’ are made of freshwater shell from the Mississippi River, inserting the smallest size first to see whether the oyster will tolerate its presence. The insertion process is shown below the seeds, the oyster is held in the clamp, the seed is placed in a very specific place, through just a tiny gap in a very quick process. The shell is pierced so that they can be tied in strings and hung from frames, in the lagoon. 40+% of seeds are rejected, others maybe misshapen so successful pearls are by no means guaranteed. It takes between 9 months to 3 years to coat the seeds with mother of pearl, the thicker, the better quality. If an oyster has successfully produced the smallest size, it is seeded again with the next size up and the process is repeated. The oyster may be cultivated upto 4 times, at this farm, for 18 months at a time.

Oyster strings.

Dont go away, sacred blue eyed eels to come!

All our best,

Lynne and Alan