The Society Islands

My parents had come to see the Society Islands with us so off we set visiting 5 islands in this archipelago, all very different from one another.

MAGICAL MOOREA
Moorea is approx 20 miles away from Papeete and is the weekend destination for Tahitians where they leave behind the traffic jams and go to enjoy nature. The landscape is very different with high mountains, valleys with waterfalls & plantations and beautiful scenery.

Yes we’re in France; even the dogs eat baguettes

Opunohu’s Bay is impressive with stunning views up the valley as you enter.

We hiked to 2 belvederes in the bay to see the views and get some exercise. Both very sweaty hikes up but worth it when you saw the views.
At Magic Mountain looking out along the reef with SW below us in Papetõai Bay.


Below Opunohu Bay (Left) Cooks Bay (Right) with Rotui Mount at 899m between the 2.

Snorkeling from the boat at the Sunken Tiki anchorage we found tikis that have been placed in the clear water near the channel. The coral nearby has a growth all over it and very few fish so real shame.

Snorkeling and kayaking in the channel between Coco and Dream Islands had crystal clear water and some coral with a number of different reef fish hiding out.
Of course we had to visit Stingray City while it wasn’t busy with tourist boats to see. The black tip sharks and sting rays.

Dad getting up close and personal with black tip sharks and rays

WILD HUAHINE
Huahine is 90 miles from Moorea so after a perfect, overnight downwind sail we arrived into the town of Fare early in the morning lucking out and picking up a free mooring off town. It’s a small village so was nice to wander and stretch the legs finishing our afternoon at the Huahine Yacht Club restaurant for a nice cold beer.
Decided to hire a car to see the sights and was surprised at how big the island was with lush, green wild vegetation.
Fare Potee had a well restored Marae site which was interesting with a small museum and excellent English information boards.
The over water fish traps with stone channels to divert the fish were a major provider to secure food in earlier days. People sit in the huts over the water to net the fish. The traps are still being used.
As we travelled around the island we saw a number of people busy weaving the fronds from the coconut trees for decoration around trees and at hotels. This man was working hard when we stopped to admire his work.

In a stream we found about 30 chunky looking blue eyed eels with what looked like big teeth waiting to be fed. Hmmmm they didn’t need food!

After admiring the views in the various bays along the coast we stopped at Chez Tara’s In Baie Avea for lunch and found out about the Sunday traditional Umu (underground oven) so made a reservation for our trip through the lagoon over the weekend.

Nice table in the shade, its hot here!

 

Music at Chez Tara’s

We made our way along the inside reef to the SW corner at Baie Avea to enjoy the protected clear water with its stunning shades of blue. Kayaking, swimming, snorkeling and a hike to the hill above us gave us all some good exercise after the huge feast at Chez Tara’s on Sunday.

View over Baie Avea with Seismic Wave below

Snorkeling off the dock at the hotel in Bair Avea had sea anemones and clown fish, something none of us had seen before.

the mouth of a sea anemone

RAIATEA
The downwind sail to Baie Faaroa on Raiatea was approx 20 miles where we took our water convertible up the river meeting Andre, who invited us to see his fruit & vege plantation. He was very generous giving us bananas, papaya, limes etc. We made a few trades with him and we all walked away happy. Fantastic!

TAHA’A

We sailed up the Raiatea coast, which had some very beautiful homes on the shoreline and thru the Grand Bank Central area to an anchorage out on the reef off Taha’a. Time for a swim in our crystal clear swimming pool. Snorkeling out at the reef was OK but not the best we have seen that’s for sure. There’s a plant growth over all the coral bommies here in French Polynesia.

We sailed around the North coast inside the reef to anchor at the coral gardens off Motu Tau Tau. Excellent snorkel where we drifted with the current spotting lots of different colorful fish.
We saw fish life we have never seen before which was great.
Even an octopus trying to hide from us, good camouflage with the coral!

PRICEY BUT BEAUTIFUL BORA BORA 

After a 20 mile sail we entered the pass following one of the fancy tourist outrigger boats; so different to the large sailing cruise-ship Wind Spirit in the harbor. We dropped anchor off Motu Topua near the Conrad Hotel (ex Hilton) on a nice sandy shelf where Brett & I kyacked thru to see how the other half live. Nice and a price to stay here I’m sure. Cocktails are better on Seismic Wave and no doubt cheaper.

The tourist boats came near the shelf looking for the Manta Ray that has recently made the lagoon here its home. Alas we also missed it but did enjoy jumping in the water on the bank with Sting rays & black tip Sharks lurking around us.

It was then off to the Mai Kai Marina for Internet and a real swimming pool. I met a lady with a drone who videoed and photographed SW at the Mai Kai. Very cool.

The swimming pool is appreciated / joined by SV CocodeMer who we first met in Galapagos

You could hear the beat of drums and singing across the bay at night so we went in search to find the locals practicing for Heiva later in the month. Hopefully we see them in full costume when Brett & I return.

Quite the workout!

The East lagoon was calm with fancy over the water bungalows all along the shores; some with free internet (bonus and yes that’s how I posted this blog). The best was the amazing views over to the Peaks of Bora Bora.

Snorkeling off Motu Piti Uta there were lots of fish who obviously get food from the tourist boats.

The weather was going to turn with a trough coming thru in a few days with some strong SE trades after so we decided it was best to do an overnighter and head back to Papeete sooner so my parents had a reasonable return trip. So it was goodbye to Bora Bora

BACK IN TAHITI AND MOOREA

and hello to a very busy marina in Papeete.

After picking up water maker parts we’d shipped in and some good nights out in Papeete we headed up to Point Venus for a couple of relaxing days watching the ever popular outrigger races from the boat and wandering the black sand beach. It’s a nice spot here.

A popular sport here for sure.

With nice weather on the horizon we decided to return to Moorea for our last few days for some relaxation on the nice white sand beach, a hike up to the Belvedere (of course in the heat of the day), some cycling around the Pineapple farms between Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay and a slightly bumpy dinghy ride to Cooks Bay to visit the Fruit Juice Factory and see the spectacular views to the rocky volcanic mountains.

Moorea has regular ferries back to Papeete only 25 minutes long so my parents returned to the big city and their awaiting hotel room for a few nights, before returning to NZ. 

For us the winds were perfect for heading to Bora Bora so off we set catching a tuna and wahoo on the way. Yipee! Typical, all my Dad wanted to do was catch a fish and it doesn’t happen till they leave. oh well they had Mahi Mahi and Tuna from our stocks so thats not so bad. Our last night in Bora Bora was spent going to see Hieva. Wow, great singing and dancing with amazing outfits. Well worth being here when the competition is on.

Hieva Bora Bora – Amazing dancers & singers!

Heading to Atutakii, Cook Islands.