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Debbie and Philippe Visit
My sister, Debbie, and her French husband, Philippe, joined us on the island of Huahine. Luckily, they had not departed when the raw water pump on our engine failed, so I was able to arrange for the parts to be shipped to her and she brought them in through customs. I repaired the engine and we spent time on Huahine, then back to Raiatea and Taha'a, then on to Bora Bora where they departed back to the US.
I met Debbie and Philippe as they arrived at the Huahine airport.
The next day, we rented bikes to ride out to the wonderful marae site on the west side of the island. At a small store, the owner gave to Debbie this lovely haku lei, or head lei.
Philippe looks stern, but is quite the contrary. He's a lot of fun and very bright.
At the marae site we found some new exhibits, including this dugout canoe. You can see one of the old maraes in the background.
A marae is a sacred area, usually bounded in stone that was then covered with soft sand and woven palms. The linearity and angles always surprise me.
The island of Huahine is shown here. The marae site is in the upper right of the island.
This is the inside of a traditional structure built at the site. It's always been closed so we took the opportunity to visit since it was open.
Bone and shell fish hooks show their mastery of the technique.
These are stone weights carved from the local basalt and grooved to attach to nets and such.
The other end of the structure, showing the roof construction.
I had no idea that they possessed bows and arrows. Certainly these are replicas but I've never seen the weapon in any other information source.
This is the outside of the structure showing the beautiful and cool roof.
The ground remains of a lodge with rounded ends. It's the first that I've seen.
Lovely Conni sits beside her troll.
Pineapples planted on a newly-cleared hillside.
Debbie in her haku lei and Philippe shooting video as we pedal back to Fare from the marae site.
I always carry my cutlass (local name for a machete) and we look for green drinking coconuts everywhere we go. Having found one, I quickly rendered it for drinking.
We biked south of town and ended by sitting along the shore where Debbie dipped her feet.
Before leaving Huahine, we had one last meal at the Huahine Yacht Club. Conni and Debbie enjoyed coconut water.
A squall brews over Huahine while we enjoy lunch.
We sail from Huahine, in the background, to Raiatea, a 25 nm trip.
Once back on Raiatea, we quickly motored down to Taputapuatea, the holy of holy marae sites. Here we're strolling along the road toward the site.
Taputapuatea is the holiest site in the Eastern South Pacific and the maraes here are the most sacred. It's an enormous site that's gaining world-wide recognition.
A curious feature of the site are these apparent small rooms. Are they for storage? Bad children?
We have NO idea what this cut stone is doing here, but it most certainly was not made by the original inhabitants. Perhaps it was a parting gift from those damned aliens.
Coming back through Uturoa on Raiatea, Philippe slays some coconuts that we had collected.
Wings tied to the Uturoa municipal dock.
Philippe and Debbie commune on Raiatea.
We motored to Taha'a, the sister island in the same lagoon as Raiatea, and visited Ha'amene bay and village. Here, Lovely Conni strolls along a main walking path.
We had promised Debbie and Philippe a meal at the Taha'a MaiTai restaurant, owned and operated by a Cordon Bleu-trained chef. I'm a suck for the mahi-mahi in vanille sauce.
Yeah, and I'm also a sucker for chocolate.
We sailed around the north side of Taha'a. Here, D and P enjoy the sights.
We sailed around the top of Taha'a and stopped on the West side to allow D and P to join our old friend Noah for a tour of the vanilla plantations. The Vanilla Tour starts at the family home at the head of Hurepiti Bay.
As is traditional for Polynesia homes, buildings are specific to tasks and this was the cooking and dining building, scheduled to be replaced soon because of termite damage. I regret that since my hero, Bernard Moitessier, helped build it and wrote a book in it.
Our friend, Noah, who studied in France and has a degree in aeronautical engineering, now runs the family tour business. He's astoundingly knowledgable about local practices and plants.
The head of Hurepiti Bay with Wings (far right most distant boat) hanging on the Vanilla Tour mooring. Can you tell that it rains a lot?
Taro, the main starch for the Pacific islanders.
Noah points out the taro at his feet, local (and original species) sugar cane behind him, and bananas, all within reach. Why work?
Copra, the staple export crop of the country. This traditional worker uses a hand-carved tool to stir the copra. Note his beautiful tattoo on his calf.
Our last stop on the tour was to the Pari-Pari distillery. Here a worker grinds the meat from a coconut to be used for oil production.
Pari-Pari distils lovely rum from locally-grown sugar cane. They distill with this German-made and beautiful still. They make some delicious rum!
Taha'a Rhum is aged in...Jack Daniel's barrels! It's excellent rum.
At tour's end, Noah prepares drinking coconuts and fresh fruit. Here, Philippe enjoys a fresh green coconut, prepared on the spot. To learn, I did the work with my cutlass.
Back on Raiatea, we walked through Uturoa and came across this bundle of flowers being prepared for a display.
We found a mooring at the Bora Bora Yacht Club, with its magnificent view.
We rented bikes on Raiatea, too, and pedaled south to Matira Point for some snorkeling. We stopped here for the view. Someone had nailed some tuna tails to this tree.
As with last year, we enjoyed a meal at a great pizza shack on Matira Point. Wood-fired ovens and great Hinano beer made for a feast.
We enjoyed a great meal at the Bora Bora Yacht Club after dragging our shower gear ashore. Mahi-mahi carpaccio was lovely.
I also ordered their grilled tuna, cooked to perfection.
The next day, we rented a vehicle and toured the entire island of Bora Bora, something that Conni and I had not done. Here we stop to see THE tree that James Cameron used as his model of the Tree of Souls in Avatar. We didn't find it.
Papayas growing. The leaf stems are hollow and make fine straws for drinking coconut water. I gathered several for that use.
We strolled where we could, then hopped back in the vehicle.
A great shot of another peak on Bora Bora.
With Huahine in the background, we see the shallow bay of southern Bora Bora.
After almost 40 years of marriage, Debbie and Philippe still walk together.
Ah, more coconuts to eat and drink! Debbie scrapes out the meat of a fresh green coconut.
Locals join us in Bloody Mary's Bar.
Rarely touched, this is the flush handle for the urinal in Bloody Mary's Bar.
Out of the car for a bit, D and P stroll on the Matira Point beach.
Bora Bora was heavily used by Allied forces during WW2. In fact, the airstrip built by the Americans was the first in the country and is still used as Bora Bora's airstrip. We found these old gun emplacements, still intact.
The sighting shack oversaw the gunnery.
Note that these guns, used in WW2, were forged in 1907, making them 110 years old as of this writing. Shoot, they were old when put into place here!
Orchids, of course, but growing wild and being beautiful.
We had heard of the model boat museum in the guidebooks, but it was never open. We were fortunate and it was open when we drove past. This is a model of "Spray", the homemade boat in which Joshua Slocum became the first person to solo around the world. Read his book, if you haven't: "Around Alone".
Famous in French Polynesia, of course, is the HMS Bounty. The story of the Bounty mutineers takes place in and around Tahiti. This model reveals the amazing attention to detail.
The model builder speaks great English, although he's French. He's been building the models since he was a kid in Paris.
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