From Moorea to Huahine
Sadly, we bid Moorea farewell and sailed on toward Huahine, one of the last true Polynesian ports available for yachts. Commercial cruise ships often bypass Huahine for, honestly, there isn’t much to do in this one horse town. Kick back, relax, sip a beer and watch the sunset with American expat, Joe, or any one of the tween, surfboarding types that hang around the docks at dusk.
Tropical fruit stands line the streets, beautiful dark-skinned woman flaunt blossoms behind their ears, and I can walk the entire main street in approximately 45 seconds. Two days here and the bony, jovial man on the cement bench knows my name and greets me with a shout. Isolated beaches lie twenty meters from anchored QQ, a mere jump and a swim from the bow of the ship (not with the outgoing tide though as my sister soon found out). Needless to say, we had plenty of snorkeling time around the coral bottoms and turquoise waters of Huahine.
The peaceful respites of Ra’iātea and Ta’haa
Ra’iātea and Ta’haa are both seen as huge lumps on the horizon from the bay around Huahine We arrived first in Ra’iātea first, and as we slowly sputtered into the channel, we could see waterfalls plummeting into darkness in the island’s interior and hear drums beating in the distance. I liked to think that the drums were from a local tribe celebrating a special occasion or enjoying a ritual cannibalistic sacrifice but dad tells me that I have been reading too much Stevenson. For those of you without an imagination it was actually a show put on for the tourists along the pier. We weren’t the only ones wanting to visit the islands so I can’t be selfish. Two large cruise ships were also moored in Raíiatea’s harbor and the town was overrun with map yielding, fanny pack carrying, boisterous tourists. We left after one afternoon and quickly escaped over to Ta’haa, a neighboring island with a raw, untouched atmosphere.
As we motored close to Ta’haa’s fragrant shore, we didn’t see a single soul and the island was oddly hushed. White birds flew in and out of trees and an occasional fish flopped near the rocky edges. We decided to tie QQ up at an abandoned dock right next to a beautiful red, white and blue church built smack dab next to the water’s edge. As we tightened QQ’s ropes, some locals finally appeared to inquire and help, directing us to the nearest convenience store and providing local information.
As the afternoon progressed and the sun started to set, QQ was overcome with visitors of every shape and size. Across from the church was a community center that soon became full of twisting and gyrating hips as the women had their weekly Tamare (dance) practice, a dance quite similar to the hula dance. Apparently, they elected me to babysit their children and QQ became our daycare center for a few hours. Ten little ones climbed, jumped, swung, explored, peeked, and discovered all of QQ’s nooks and crannies. They bounced on the nets, played hide and seek through the hatches and practiced steering QQ towards Bora Bora, the next lump on the horizon.