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We're closing in on the trip's end. Raiatea is the home of the Raiatea Carenage, of course, and we plan on putting the boat to bed there on 4 July.
Taha'a is a beautiful island, called the "Vanilla Island" because of the number of vanilla plantations it supports. Tahitian vanilla has a different flavor than other types and is highly valued. We've been coming here for many years and have friendships in many bays.
On one of our last days on Taha'a, we motored to shore and enjoyed a walk along the coastal road. We stumbled upon a local wedding, and these were the decorated cars, just as in the US.
Here's the entrance to the wedding party. It's beautiful weaving.
The locals love their colors! Shoot, if I lived here, I'd like bright colors, too.
We see these things everywhere and they don't seem to be eaten. They turn reddish as they mature, a lot like an apple.
I asked these lovely ladies if I could photograph them and they agreed, smiling at the idea. They're dressed to the nines for the wedding.
The younger set was also represented.
Even late in the afternoon, these folks were still dancing.
A bit closer to the dinghy, we came across this...well...bread box. Is it named or labeled?
Yeah, I'll take this house. There's a coconut grove below it and it sits in the cool breezes.
Tapuamu Bay is one of our favorites. We've spent many days here waiting out storms. In the distance is the wonderful Rhumerie (rum distillery), Pari Pari.
This is the tiny town of Tapuamu. The large building is the shipping warehouse. We know this area very well.
At the head of Ha'amene Bay is Hotel Hibiscus, built and operated by Leo and his Tahitian wife, Lolita. His roof-top sign reads, "Hibiscus", then, "VHF68", referring to the way to reach him by radio.
We love Hotel Hibiscus and we adore Leo! He's befriended us and we're always glad to see him. We spent a few hours with beer and his Wifi and made arrangements for dinner. Here, lovely Conni awaits her cocktail and meal. We knew that we were on the home stretch so she got dolled up for the dinghy ride from the boat.
As we waited for dinner, Conni fired up her laptop. Hibiscus is a grand old place with yacht club burgees from everywhere imaginable
Leo doesn't disappoint! Here are two of his signature MaiTais, freshly made with local ingredients.
We know that his speciality is "lagoon fish", so when he asked for our choice of meal, that's what we requested. Of course we have NO idea what this thing is, but it was tasty. There are two starchy taro-like things, some local greens, and the homemade mayo.
What a set of chompers! Holy smokes!
And I guess that about does it for that meal. Bones and scraps are all that remain. Still, I could, and did, have a Chocolate Mousse for dessert.
On to Raiatea and the Champion grocery store. Cleverly, they packed frozen food from New Zealand in bagged ice from Tahiti.
We've written about this bakery in Uturoa, and here are some shots of the offerings. Everything looks good and it is. We enjoy the egg tarts, bottom left.
This is the bread section, displaying the gorgeous loaves that they make every day. It's just a family-owned operation, too.
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