11 September 2009 | Avea Bay, Huahine, 16 48.70'S:150 59.40'W
Two days ago we motored south inside the reef to Avea Bay. The island of Huahine is like Tahiti in that it is made up of two islands. Nui (big) and Iti (small). Each was originally a volcano that has now settled leaving two islands with a large circling reef. Here in the Society Islands, there are a limited number of passes through each reef to access the lagoon surrounding an island. Often, once you are through the pass you can circumnavigate the entire island, but sometimes the coral heads make this impossible.
Huahine is on my top 5 list. We've met up with our friends from "Shelette' and went on an amazing excursion with them. When we arrived they had made arrangements to go out and see Humpback whales (if there were any around). Well it was our very lucky day. A whale and calf were spotted and as we drifted near we were able to quietly slip into the water with our fins and snorkels. What a site that was! From there we went back inside the reef, did some drift snorkeling and got a great view of 'Iti" as we motored by in the Boston Whaler. Jeremie, who owns Moana Turquoise was our guide. He came here a number of years ago from France to surf. He speaks French, Tahitian and English and is very tuned in to the local culture and environment. If you're ever in the neighborhood don't miss out on having him show you around. We'll make a link to his website here on the blog.
The following day Brad and I rented bicycles. I don't know what I was thinking when I suggested we rent them for 8 hours. The last time I rode a bike was years ago and let me tell you my butt was dead in short order. We toured around for about 4 hours, up and down hill with stops at a small village, a vanilla plantation and a roadside fruit stand. At the vanilla plantation, Francois showed us around. He's a wirey little Tahitian guy with a great sense of humor and a bit of English in his repertoire. I don't know if you have ever seen vanilla grown, but I was surprised that it's vining plant grown in a shade house. When the flower opens they are tediously hand pollinated. It takes months for the bean to develop and then they are hand picked. If you want a job that smells heavenly, this is it.
That evening we went out for dinner at Pension Mauarii with Mike, Marnie and Gary from Shelette. A Basque fellow from San Sebastian (John) that they had met earlier in the day also joined us. It was a fabulous meal with some local specialties and an amazing pie (Gary and I are still not sure what it was made with) for dessert. Of course it poured buckets during dinner so we threatened to spend the night in John's room rather than go back to the boat in a wet dinghy. Eventually the rain let up though and we headed back to Kattywompus.
Tomorrow we plan to head back up to Fare, do a little sightseeing and pick up some provisions. John is going to join 'Shelette' for his first sailing experience and to do a little snorkeling with them.