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Huahine, Fench Polynesia

Bora Bora Thursday, January 20, 2005
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Le Taha'a Private Island Resort and Spa (Le Tahaa)
Raiatea
Huahine
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Bora Bora

Morning in Huahine

Breakfast Buffet Set Up On Beach

Early morning, the anchor was raised and we headed to a small isolated bay in Hauhine. The seas had some long, rolling waves but there was little wind. The surf on the reefs were quite high, and you could see them break from afar.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Beach Breakfast

Lagoon Breakfast

Breakfast in the Water

As we headed ashore with the hotel director, Victor, we noticed that two tables were set up, and a buffet breakfast was being prepared in about a foot of water.

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Breakfast in the Lagoon

Martini Fish

As the tender pulled ashore, we got out and walked by the small a-la-minute grill that was set up for crepes, omelets and eggs ashore, while the tables and buffet were in the water. The perfectly set tables with a full compliment of dinnerware was on a tablecloth draped table. The sea, and ship was the backdrop on the horizon, while the lush tropical palm-tree canopied beach was opposite. I've never eaten a breakfast while in the water. It was an experience you would never have on a larger ship. During breakfast the captain and chief engineer swam ashore from the ship, about a quarter mile out in the lagoon.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Breakfast Buffet View with Ship

Walk to Remnants of Resort

Hike to Resort

After breakfast, the chief engineer took us up the jungle covered hill to reveal the remnants of what was once the pond reception area and a commanding view from what was once a bungalow perched over a cliff that overlooked the lagoon below. A tropical storm had decimated the luxurious resort, only accessible from the sea, and was never rebuilt. The tropical foliage had amazingly reclaimed the development in only a few years. The only signs of the past resort were some steps, a few concrete block walls, and some in-ground lighting.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - View of Ship

View From Resort

View of Ship from Remnants of Resort on Cliff

There were some Mahogany steps and a deck still visible on the cliff. Most of the boards had rotted out, but you could just imagine the grandeur that it once held.

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Dockside at Huahine

Tia Moana Dockside

From our anchorage on the other side of Huahine, the slow cruise inside the lagoon took about an hour and a half to arrive at the port town around 1:30 p.m. There was a large swell outside the reef, at about 5 meters (15 feet) which resulted in some spectacular breaking waves at the channel inlet to the town harbor. These large ocean swells produced some pipelines which the locals would go out to surf and take their outrigger canoes down the faces of the swells in the channel. The ship docked at first in the village, then anchored out to allow a small freighter transfer cargo. Even at anchor the swells moved the ship in a slow, slightly rolling manner. I inquired to the Captain if the ship had stabilizers, and he said that they used them inside the lagoon for turns (to keep the ship level) and out at sea for active dampening.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Fish in a Martini Glass

Shops at Huahine

Eco Tours

Since everything is shipped into French Polynesia, everything is very expensive. A bottle of liquor from most parts of the world is two to four times as expensive. Suntan lotion and other sundries are at least two to three times expensive. The minimum wage is about $1,200 per month, so even the basic worker in Polynesia can barely afford store-bought goods. Very little is available from the local economy, hence the extraordinary prices at resorts.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Lagoon View - Breakfast

Ancient Ruins - Eco Tour

Ancient Fish Traps Still in use Today

Paul Atallah of Island Eco Tours does a three hour tour of Hauhine and it's a great way to get introduced to Polynesian, French and other cultures that have influenced the Society Islands. Paul took us around in his 4x4 vehicle to show us both the culture, history, plant and ocean biology of the island. He imparted a great deal of his knowledge to us, and it was clear that he was an expert in a multitude of fields.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Tour of Huahine

Eels - Eco Tour

Eels

One of the stops was to a small freshwater stream where the villagers had protected a group of giant eels. It's a curious tourist stop and you can feed them fish (they seemed to like canned Mackerel quite well).

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Tour - Eels in Stream

Eco Tour - Tamanu Fruit Healing Qualities Similar to Aloe

Fresh Bananas Roadside

Paul did an excellent job describing the native and imported species of plants. One plant, the Tamanu tree, produced and oily type fruit that has similar healing qualities of aloe. He said that he had used the extract of the Tamanu fruit on some burns, which healed without and scars. The uses seem to be endless. If this product ever makes it to mainstream society, it would be a huge boost for the native Polynesian population as a source of work, which giving people a more organic option for ailments. Our tour guide explained that there are only a few resorts on Huahine. A large resort, just closed due to high operating expenses. This represents the jobs for about 50 families, so the government is looking for a buyer for the vacated resort. Right now, Hauhine has one large resort on the water, a smaller resort (bed-and-breakfast type) and one hostel (all on the beach). Resort owners tend to be American.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Tour - Beach View

Sunset

Sunset

Back on ship, just outside the anchorage was the cut in the reef where the large swells were forming big pipelines. The locals went out to surf and canoe the huge waves.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Sunset

Sunset Over Raiatea

Sunset - Raiatea in Distance

In the distance, there was a beautiful sunset over Raiatea.

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Movie- 2005 Day 8 - Sunset over Raiatea

Polynesian Singers at Sunset

Singers

Just as the Sun set it's last strokes of color amidst the volcanic mountains and the tranquil sea, a group of local Polynesian singers performed some traditional chants and songs.

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Island Eco Tours

Singers

Pepe and Victor the Hotel Director Onboard Ship

Singers

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View From Anchor

View of Lagoon Colors

The lagoons around Huahine are just beautiful. After breakfast, we enjoyed the views from the Sun deck.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

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Additional Photographs: Bora Bora

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