Vanilla Farm Tour

Sun 4 Oct 2009 07:06
A tranquil anchorage in Tahaa after some rotten weather, in the background you can see the rain that missed Winny this time.
Vanilla is only pollenated naturally in it's native Mexico, by a certain bee and a humming bird.  Everywhere else it has been introduced the bees are the wrong shape or some such excuse and all the flowers need to be pollenated by hand.  Further, the flowers only last a day, so in flowering season each plant is checked every day.  Further, when the pod is mature it is picked and needs to be dried in the sun, each pod is turned every 2 hours during daylight and covered to prevent them getting damp at night. The whole thing takes weeks, no wonder vanilla can be so expensive!!
On the left a yacht about to enter the pass into the lagoon and shallower waters around Tahaa.
Sampeling the green coconuts, recycleable bamboo straws..........Why did I get a short straw?
Another pearl farm, in the huts are all the stages of the process. 
Maturing the oyster in protective nets. 
Seed the pearl, 1)  Wedge open, the shell about 1cm,  2) make an incision in the animals 'appendix'.  3) Place a round 'seed' of fresh water mussel shell from USA in 'appendix'   4) Place a small piece of Mantle (soft lining of the shell) as close to the 'seed' as possible. 
5) Close incision as well as possible and take out wedge.  6) Keep the whole thing upright for the next 2 months in a net, mesh small enough to catch seed if it's rejected.
I could go on but suffice to say it's as intensive as the vanilla...