Tahiti 2011:
Day 4 - Huahine


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Tahiti 2011: [Day 1 - Moorea] [Day 2 - Tahiti] [Day 3 - Tahiti ] [Day 4 - Huahine] [Day 5 - At Sea] [Day 6 - Rangiroa] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Raiatea] [Day 9 - Bora Bora] [Day 10 - Bora Bora] [Day 11 - Moorea] [Day 12 - Tahiti] [Day 13 - Tahiti] [Day 14 - Coming Home]

Wednesday, February 23: It was another beautiful morning in French Polynesia as we made our approach to Huahine.
Yawn ... another perfect sunrise.
Are you kidding us? Pot stickers AND banana fritters for breakfast? Yum.
Huahine is said to have been split into two by mighty Hiro (or "cleft in twain" for our Kiwi friends). Here, you can see the north island on the right and part of the south island on the left.
Looking to the north/right, ...
... and looking to the south/left ...
... as we approached ...
... the inner lagoon.
Douglas, the onboard French Polynesia expert and story teller, started telling those of us on the top deck to watch for Hiro's canoe paddle, ...
... a rock formation coming up on the right.
The formation is in the center of this photo -- the paddle handle is at the right of the rock column.
We stayed on the starboard side of the ship enjoying the scenery rolling into view.
This is as crowded as it seems to get on quiet Huahine.
We had a morning tour, so we met in the Cabaret Lounge onboard, took a tender to shore, and waited for our tour. There is a gorgeous reef below the dock with dozens of fish to watch.
Yes, Tom, I got a photo of the boat.
Speaking of boats, here's our tour boat, attractively decorated with tropical plant branches lashed to the roof supports, ...
... as shown in this photo of a couple of American tourists.
Our tour guide, Poerava, was cute, friendly, and funny, and she did her best to make sure we had a fantastic time.
During the boat ride to a motu off of the south island, our guide gave a pareo-tying demonstration (we call them pareus) with help from the woman who is so wealthy that she travels 11 months out of 12.
Here is the south island of Huahine just before turning left toward ...
... the motu (a small reef island) where we'd be spending the next few hours.
First, we crossed the width of the motu to the ocean side. We hadn't brought our snorkel equipment with us, so we established a new marital rule: If our destination is on an ocean, always always always bring snorkel equipment.
Fortunately, we had water shoes and goggles, so we were in the water in no time. The first few yards were tricky to navigate, because there were white sea cucumbers everywhere. They blend into the sand extremely well so we took very careful steps until it was deep enough to swim over them. Once we were out deeper, the cucumbers were few and far between, and the coral and fish were beautiful.
Back on the coral-and-shell beach, we watched the antics of extremely tiny hermit crabs. This little guy was in a shell no bigger than a half inch.
After an hour, we crossed the motu again and spent some time on our towels in the shade until it was time to pick a seat for lunch.
Picnic tables were set up in the lagoon, complete with table cloths and umbrellas. The plastic patio chairs were stacked so they were heavy enough to not float away, but once we claimed a chair, we had to remain sitting on it or get a friend to hold on to it, or off it would go.
Our hosts set up the buffet in the shallower part of the water ...
... while a band sang Polynesian songs. These guys were our favorite of the many groups we heard on our trip.
Lunch is served! Tom went first, while Debbie kept his chair from floating away, then we swapped.
We shared a Hinano beer and a Coca-Cola Light, and enjoyed a lunch of chicken, rice, beef stew, baguettes, and salad.
We often found these little squaretail mullets in shallow waters, and in this case, right next to us. Their bodies blend in perfectly with the white sand bottom, but their little black fins made them look like a school of black dots. We dubbed them "debris fish."
Here they are swimming around Tom's chair.
This photo shows how deep the water was -- just enough to keep nice and cool in the warm Huahine sun.
After lunch, two women danced for us in the water. Here is the first dancer, ...
... and here is the second. This one had a tiny little pregnancy belly, ...
... so we expect that her adorable daughter will be welcoming a little brother or sister in about four months. Here she is getting in the way of the boys' dancing. They seemed pretty used to it by now. This is a family-run tour company, so these are probably her brothers or cousins or uncles.
When she tired of splashing around in between them, she swam past our table.
As lunch wound down, the skies turned dark.
We decided to head inside to visit the rest room and gather our things, ...
... and just in time, too, because it started to pour.
Not to worry, because our guide just finished up the dancing inside with a performance, ...
... followed by the boys teaching the haka to the men. If you haven't ever seen this war dance, look it up online or go to New Zealand. It's great fun to see.
We headed back to the ship and were grateful that we had booked the morning tour instead of the afternoon tour.
Back on the tender, we got a tiny photo of the rocky feature named after Hiro's ... um ... boy part.
We tried the poolside burger bar for lunch and enjoyed French fries for the first time in days.
After lunch, we grabbed some front row seats and got some drinks from the ever-present drink waiters, because next up was ...
... a dance performance by the Mamas of Huahine. First, this pair danced, ...
... then this nice lady, ...
... then these three girls. There were supposed to be four, but one burst into tears and was escorted offstage.
She stopped crying and watched the show, but the older girls were clearly annoyed by her behavior.
As always happens, the performers bullied some volunteers into joining them onstage. We always hate this but it appears to be a mandatory part of any Polynesian show.
The first two dancers came out in different costumes, then there was a big finale with all of the dancers, and that's when the rain started.
We spent the afternoon in our cabin as we had planned, so the rain didn't bother us at all ...
... even when it started to come down this hard.
We had wi-fi, a laptop, and 300 pre-paid minutes. Sweet!
Just before sail out, the sky started to clear up.
Leaving the lagoon, our view included the distinctive landmark named after Hiro.
Here it is again.
And again. Tom set up his GPS again on the balcony to track the ship's progress through the night..
The weather just kept improving as we left. Once again, we marveled at our good luck involving rain -- it never seems to inconvenience us.
We passed some outrigger canoes on our way out.
The location of our morning excursion had been nearly at the end of the long motu shown here (behind the tiny one). Good times.

This was the first night that we would have our table for two in the dining room. We had verified with the maître d' on the first day that we had gotten our requested table for two, but it wasn't until we got to it that we realized the horror of the situation. It was located 8 inches from the table for four next to it and we were greeted with "Hey! We missed you last night!" from the queen bee at the table next to us. Debbie said to Tom, "This isn't a table for two" and Queenie replied, "No, it's a table for six!" Debbie said, "Sorry, we're very anti-social so we like to keep to ourselves." Queenie: "Where are you from?" It was Debbie's personal hell, and there was no escaping it. We got our table changed after dinner.

Day 5 >


Tahiti 2011: [Day 1 - Moorea] [Day 2 - Tahiti] [Day 3 - Tahiti ] [Day 4 - Huahine] [Day 5 - At Sea] [Day 6 - Rangiroa] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Raiatea] [Day 9 - Bora Bora] [Day 10 - Bora Bora] [Day 11 - Moorea] [Day 12 - Tahiti] [Day 13 - Tahiti] [Day 14 - Coming Home]

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