Friday, July 25, 2008

Moorea, Huahine, Raietea, Taaha

We spent several more days in Moorea as it was a very beautiful location and the weather was fantastic! During our time there, we swam with the stingrays four times and hiked up, almost to the top, of the island to Belvedere which has a viewpoint to the bay. Unfortunately it was an overcast and rainy day, which made the 3 hour hike cool and pleasant, but made for a hazy view of the bay. Here the girls are looking out over Opunohu Bay.
Tourists come in all shapes, sizes and colours; this young tourist is adjusting the aperture for a beautiful shot from atop the mountain.

There were many beautiful species of flora and fauna on this walk, pictured here is the ginger flower, not much fragrance, but very beautiful. In ancient times, Polynesians would pick the buds and, with the rainwater that was trapped inside, wash their hair in the fresh water streams.

While were sailing in the lagoon at Huahine, a fellow in an outrigger was paddling right behind us and wanted to know how fast he was going, 6 knots! I climbed down onto the swim grid to take this picture of him; he’s only about 10 feet behind us!
Unfortunately for us, the weather was poor while visiting Huahine, so we were unable to experience the wonderful snorkeling we were looking forward to. We had three days of overcast skies, rain and strong winds. The two foot chop in the lagoon made dinghy excursions very wet and swimming unsafe. The adults spent those days reading while the kids played monopoly, cards or watched movies.

The grocery store in Huahine sold whole pigs which we thought was very funny!

All that wind caused the sea to be really lumpy when we made the four hour passage between Huahine and Raietea. While the 20-25 knot winds made for a wonderful sail, the crew was less than appreciative of the sea state. In Raietea, we were able to tie to the Quay right in front of the grocery store which made provisioning very easy, and it was really nice to visit the little town. As we arrived on Sunday when all the stores were closed, we spent the night on the quay and left the following afternoon for Tahaa, a small island that shares the same lagoon as Raietea.

We took a mooring ball at the Taravana Yacht Club on the South end of the island for two nights so we could enjoy the Tuesday night Polynesian dance show. Monday night, several boats met at the Yacht Club for a music jam night, where several played instruments while others sang along, it was a really fun night.

Tuesday morning, we took the dinghies deep into the bay then walked up to La Maison Vanille to see and learn how vanilla beans are processed. Vanilla is harvested once a year for export to the US and Europe. Vanilla beans grow on a vine that trails up another tree. The farmers who grow the vanilla beans have to “marry” (pollinate) the orchids since there are no bees to do this job for them. The beans are green when harvested then they sit undercover to ferment until they are brown then they are put out into the sun for four hours every day for four months to dry.

We are all really grateful for our friend Natalie who does a wonderful job translating from French to English for us.

I am holding a package of 300 vanilla beans which will sell wholesale, for export for 20,000 Polynesian francs which is about $280, the cost is so high because of the labour intensive process.

The weather was perfect while in Tahaa and we all enjoyed swimming and hanging out. The yacht club had reservations for most of its moorings so several of us cruisers rafted together and shared a mooring; we shared our mooring with O’vive which was really fun. Here’s a picture of Jocelyn & Maya, and Jenny & Alec playing on the boom.

The dance show on Tuesday was wonderful! All of the dancers and musicians live right in the bay.

1 comment:

Nelly said...

hey! hahaha eww why did you guys want those fishy things swimming right next to your tummies?? hahaha I love the pictures they are awesome!!!!! Miss you guys soo much!