Huahine Iti

We left our mooring in Fare on Tuesday, August 9 after first stopping at the main village dock to top up our water tanks. The dock is in reasonably good shape but lacks cleats, bollards or bull rails – anything easy to tie a line to. You have to take a round turn or two through the decking, which makes it interesting when there’s a strong wind blowing off the dock, as there was for us that morning.

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The wooden municipal dock, sans cleats. Not to be confused with the commercial wharf, which is concrete and larger. This one is for visiting yachts. We tied up to take on water, buy ice and fresh vegetables.

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Looking the other way, the sign reads (in French and Tahitian) “Welcome to Huahine Fare.”

We enjoyed our stay off of Fare; we liked the slow, quiet pace of the village. But more secluded anchorages beckoned.

A short motor south inside the lagoon brought us to a spot near Point Teapara. This was on Huahine Iti and close to the southwestern opening to Port Bourayne, one of the two large bays that separate Huahine Iti and Huahine Nui islands. Our anchorage was off a small, fine sand beach surrounded by lush vegetation. There was evidence of abandoned buildings upland from the beach, broken concrete walls and foundations. We later read this was all that remained of a resort swept away by a major tropical storm that struck Huahine almost two decades earlier. We walked the beach, then sat in the cool shade looking out at the turquoise lagoon.

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Small, fine white sand beach of anchorage near Point Teapara.

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Staying cool in the breeze. Note the bananas and pamplemousse beside Ruth. The bananas are tiny and very sweet – excellent sliced on breakfast cereal. Pamplemousse are similar to grapefruit but sweeter and with a thicker rind. Siki gaves these to us.

Siki - the beach guardian (park tech in Randy's world)

Siki – the beach guardian (park tech in Randy’s world) takes care the beach, warmly welcomes yachties and tourists, and makes beach jewelry in his spare time. A great retirement after 20+ years with the French military on UN peacekeeping missions in hot spots around the world.

After two nights off Point Teapara, we dropped the mooring and took a tour around Port Bourayne bay before continuing south inside the lagoon to Avea Bay. Avea Bay is near the south tip of Huahine Iti, Point Tiva. The wide anchorage of Avea Bay is bounded by an expanse of shoal water created by a vast sand bank inside the coral reef. More than a mile wide in places, it stretches outward from the deeper anchorage to the coral reef itself. This shoal water is too shallow for any but small craft. You could probably walk most of it out to the reef. Deep water between the shore and the sand bank provide safe and comfortable anchorage. It makes a good water playground for tourists staying at the Relais Mahana, a small resort of beach bungalows with a very good restaurant.

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Port Bourayne bay, looking toward the head. Far up inside is the narrow channel that connects Port Bourayne with the bay on the other side, Ha’apu. These two bays divide Huahine Nui from Huahine Iti.

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A large, well kept farm on the edge of Port Bourayne bay.

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Randy keeping cool in the shade of the Relais Mahane restaurant. The resort dock is in the distance. A dozen or so bungalows for guests are on the beach to the left of this photo.

During one of the days we were anchored in Avea Bay, we rowed ashore to explore a large marae right on Point Tiva. It was quite impressive, although most of the surrounding wall has disappeared the main raised platform on the beach is still intact. The site is a public park and, while we were there, the “park techs” were busy raking up leaves and debris, keeping the grounds neat and tidy.

Another day, we followed a trail up the hills opposite the marae to a view point overlooking both Avea Bay and the bay around the other side of Point Tiva, where there is a small village.

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Coconut plantation.

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Road outside of Relais Mahana resort. This is the main road running around the perimeter of Huahine Iti. Very neat and well paved. We walked this road to the marae and the trail head.

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View from the point at which we stopped for the view and then turned around, retracing our hike back to the road. The light blue water covers the shallow sand bank. White waves break on the coral reef in the distance. The tops of the hills here are covered in salt pine woods. The long, fine needles make footing a little slippery on the trail, especially going downhill.

Exploring around the resort, we found that the restaurant next door, Chez Tara, was offering a traditional Polynesian buffet feast the next day (Sunday). Of course, we had to stay for that! Sunday noon we enjoyed a very filling and delicious buffet that included taro, breadfruit, tapioca, and red bananas as well as roast fish, marinated pork, and a couple of chicken dishes. All accompanied by local musicians who were clearly enjoying themselves. We sat at a communal table and talked with a French couple enjoying a three-week holiday – celebrating his 60th birthday and their 30th anniversary. It was fun sharing stories about travels and grownup kids. He had lived for a time in the Bay Area and had vacationed in the Redwoods and on the Olympic Peninsula, so they at least knew where Portland was – not the usual case!

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Musicians played for the buffet banquet. Very lively, and very good! We think the woman leaning out the window behind the musicians may be one of the owners of Chez Tara. Note the glasses of orange juice strategically placed on the window sill for the musicians, who sang as well as played.

Today (Monday) we are back at Fare. We’ll stay here one night before sailing over to Raiatea and exploring both Raiatea and Tahaa over the next couple of weeks.

Some miscellaneous photos:

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This is how we stow the nesting dinghy while we are at anchor and want to keep it handy for rowing ashore, but out of the water (quieter that way). The bridle has a center ring that clips to a halyard for hoisting. We use the bridle not only for temporary stowage but also to lift it to the foredeck for disassembly preparatory to stowing it on its rack under the boom. For those of you who don’t know what a “nesting” dinghy is, the front and back halves come apart so that they can be stacked. This takes up less space and makes it possible to fit it underneath the boom on its own special rack.

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Typical mooring bouy in this part of French Polynesia. These are fairly new and in good condition. We attach a two-part bridle to the eye splice on the float.

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