Huahine to Raiatea

Wednesday early evening we picked up Chris from Sea Bear and went ashore for a beer….which turned into a bit of a session…and we returned quite late.  It was really nice to catch up and have an evening off the boat.

Thursday we started later than planned and really couldn’t get into it – so jumped into the water for a swim to liven ourselves up.  Whilst there we decided to give the hull a clean so spent an hour or so doing that.  Later on Richard ran ashore to arrange for a hire car for Friday and to buy some petrol for the generator while I stayed put.   We followed up a lazy day with a nice evening listening to tunes and relaxing on board.

Friday morning we were up early, collected Chris, and headed into town to pick up the car.  By 9.30 am it was all ours…a little Ford Fiesta….and Richard had to remember how to drive a manual gearbox again LOL.     

We set off around Huahine Nui (the big island) in a clockwise direction on surprisingly good roads and first stop was the archaeological sites which had been discovered, destroyed in a cyclone in the early 90s, and rebuilt.   Were the biggest examples we had seen on this trip so far and the little museum was pretty interesting – my favourite was the ancient fishing hooks made out of mother of pearl. 

Moving on we drove along the shore of Lake Fauna Nui and admired the fish traps which are used to trap the fish in the lagoon by the rise and fall of the tide.   Then we headed to see the Art Gallery which was run by an American called Melanie although all of her subjects were locals – I loved the amazing faces with the full crowns of flowers and some of the less staged pieces of art.  Sadly not really practical to buy during this type of journey but we certainly enjoyed our visit to the gallery.

We then continued inland to Faie where we saw the sacred eels – these are black with blue eyes – and actually look a bit evil LOL.   They are living in a sort of culvert which has water running through all the time but there really isn’t much water for them to live in as you can see by the pictures – kind of interesting that they stay and breed here.   Some of them were huge!

Continuing around the big island we went up in the hills and came across a view point – Belvedere de Maroe – and enjoyed the sights across Maroe Bay towards Huahine Iti (the small island).    We then crossed over a bridge and headed around to another view point looking across the ocean at the different colours.  

Whilst driving around we came across some fishermen who had just come back with their catch – so had a chat with them – and saw that they really just eat anything that comes out of the sea.  They had caught some parrots, some triggers, other reef fish and a good supply of conch.   We realised they were feeding the fish scraps to a pig tethered in the water – I asked if they were fattening him up for food and they were shocked!   “No, he is domesticated like our dogs, he is a pet.  We would not eat him.”   And just to prove it they gave him a bath in the sea and then took him home on a lead LOL.

Moving on we went to the Pareo House where they showed us how they made the cloths that they use for sarong-type dresses here – was interesting and I liked some of the designs – but thought that the prices were a bit steep.   We then went to Avea Bay and saw the wrecked catamaran still sitting there on the reef getting bashed by the waves.  

We headed into the hotel to check out the beach restaurant but the guests looked us up and down like something they had trodden in so we decided against staying for lunch – it felt very unwelcoming – despite the lovely surroundings.

We then headed to Chez Tara Restaurant which came highly recommended by Parker on our boat tour the other day to find that it was closed because of a family bereavement.   So we headed back towards the top of the small island and took a detour to Haapu where we found a small local restaurant where we had lunch.  My plate of tuna could easily have fed two people.   It was absolutely delicious.

Heading back towards Fare we still had time to spare so headed into another hotel to check it out – it was very fancy with a nice pool and great views over the anchorage.  And, unlike the other one, it was very welcoming and we were able to wander at will.   Afterwards we went to the shell museum which was a local guy’s own collection.  Was really interesting with a huge variety of all shapes and sizes and certainly educational as there was one shell which is a common sight here which we didn’t know carries a critter that has enough toxin in its spike to kill you….and it doesn’t hurt apparently when you get pricked either.   Will definitely not be picking up any shells in the shallows any time soon!

Back to Fare and we returned the car…..we did a bit of shopping….and the returned to Morphie.  We got cleaned up and headed back to the Yacht Club as there was supposed to be live music.  We enjoyed happy hour and another spectacular sunset but the band never showed so we gave up around 7.30.

Saturday morning we picked up anchor.  It was quite difficult as it had got wrapped around a rock but the water was so clear I was able to direct Richard at the helm and we got it back on the bow without having to resort to jumping in the water.   We headed out through the pass and said goodbye to Huahine and had the most wonderful passage of 24 miles on a beam reach in 12 knots of breeze under a blue sky…..    We both really enjoyed it.

We arrived at the outside reef at Raiatea and worked our way through the pass and headed into Faaroa Bay and found a spot to anchor in about 50 feet.   This was another lovely mountainous anchorage and flat calm so we enjoyed the rest of the day on board.

Sunday morning we took off in dink up the Aoppomau River – which was lovely although a tad shallow in places.  

Absolutely stunning scenery although very little in the way of bird life which surprised us. We had read lots about this place and, apparently, most people get a tour from a local guy who then supplies them with copious amounts of fruits and vegetables.  Well, of course, he wasn’t there today – perhaps in church? – so we navigated as far as we could and then returned to Morphie without any goodies.   Despite the absence of the tour it was a lovely little excursion.

On our return we picked up anchor and headed off out of the bay. 

We planned to stop at Uturoa – the main town on the island – but couldn’t find a suitable shallow enough spot to drop the hook and didn’t want to go into the marina or pick up their mooring balls – so continued on through the lagoon towing dink behind us.    The scenery here in the lagoon is just spectacular!

We then looked at the Carenage area where there are haul out and boat facilities – with the fuel polishing idea in mind – but the anchorage was full of derelict boats and after our experience in Key West we’re a little wary of them.    So we turned around and headed back towards Apooiti which is the marina home of the Moorings fleet.   We picked up one of their mooring balls and enjoyed having internet access again via a hotspot – despite its terrible speed!

Later on we headed into the marina to have a look around.   The bar/restaurant on the map was derelict, the other bar/restaurant was closed until the 18 August, and the rest of the place was shut up too.    Hmmmm……Le Weekend strikes again!      Richard is going to try to talk to the guys in the Carenage and/or marina Monday about the fuel and, if we can’t get that organised, we’ll just move on.    According to the latest weather forecast, we shouldn’t continue moving west until next Tuesday at the earliest anyway.   

This morning – Monday – we were up early after a windy and slightly rolly night.   There is another island inside this huge lagoon, called Tahaa, which we will probably move to later on as we can get better protection from the weather there.   But  it looks pretty quiet – and Richard is getting a bit bored with the whole experience despite the obvious natural beauty and culture as there are very few opportunities to socialise outside of tours / hotels.   After Tahaa, Bora Bora is our final destination in the French Polynesian chain, so looking forward to seeing that iconic ‘jewel’ and, fingers crossed, maybe even getting a bit of diving and socialising in! 

Bye for now