We had an uneventful overnight motor sail to Huahine from Moorea where we stayed for a little over a week. Huahine has a small town named Fare that had a few restaurants, a post office and a fairly large grocery store. This is where we based ourselves for the first half of the week. During this time, we rented bikes (with Steve and Lynda on Nina) and rode to the old maraes on the island. These are basically old rock structures that were used among the Polynesians for prayer and for human sacrifices. (Yes, they really did that. From what we heard, if you volunteered to be sacrificed you would be treated as if you were royalty for a year and then you’d get it. If no one volunteered, they would just club the knees of some unsuspecting colleague and kill ‘em off. It probably goes without saying I am glad we are traveling on this trip in the 21st century and not back in Cook’s time or before.)
A Dog Eating a Coconut
We also rode our bikes to the sacred, blue-eyed eels that live in a river there. It was pretty funny because we were all hungry (and thirsty for some cold caffeinated beverages), but there was nothing in this part of the island. Just before we reached the eels, we asked a woman in the village if there was a grocery store or restaurant/snack bar of any kind and she said no. Out of luck! We were starting to lose Ryan who gets demoralized when he is hungry while bike riding, so this was not good news.
The Sacred River Eels
But there she was! As exciting and surreal as a genuine watering hole in a bleak desert, a woman sat underneath her shade tent with a cooler full of cold sodas and a Tupperware container of homemade chicken spring rolls! She also had these steamed bread pockets full of chicken and vegetables, and cans of mackerel to feed the eels. Hunger makes a good cook. Ryan had a spring roll and declared that it was delicious, and very politely asked if he could have another. After a Sprite and two spring rolls, he was back in business. The rest of us also had spring rolls and soda too (and Dan tried the steamed bread pocket.) Importantly, we bought a can of mackerel for the eels.
We had to climb down a cement wall to get to the river with the eels. There were a lot of them. They were a little freaky looking, with their bright blue eyes, long bodies and their constantly opening and closing mouths. None of us fed them directly from our hands, but we did give them food and they jumped after it, sometimes getting into a scuffle with each other as they scrambled for their morsels of fish. All four of us got to touch the eels (finally) and then we needed to decide our next course of action. We knew if we continued around the northern island it would become extremely hilly. The man who rented us the bikes recommended that if we did decide to drive all the way around, we should walk our bikes both uphill AND downhill (because they were so steep). Our other option was to head back to town the way we came (which had pretty lake views). Steve and Lynda decided to head back to town, but given we are the crazy Gabiers who always choose to push ourselves just a wee bit more, we decided to continue around. What excuse did we have? We had caffeine, a few bites of food, and bikes for the rest of the day!
Our Bike Ride with Steve and Lynda
Ancient Marae Fish Traps
The hills were steep—VERY steep. We could not have ridden up those hills on bikes, even if we were promised a thousand bucks and a cold beer at the top. But we weren’t going to walk down the hills. No, we applied those hand brakes as hard as we could and rode down the hills like pros (with sore right hands afterwards). There is no such thing as a helmet in this corner of the world, so I was pleased no one got thrown over the bike’s bow (too much time on a sailboat). The ride was well worth it. The other side of the island was absolutely breathtaking!
Huahine Island Bike Ride
By the time we got back to town, we were out of water and in desperate need of ice cream. It was siesta but the grocery store stays open here during the day (what a pleasant surprise!). We got some Magnum bars and headed back to our boat for a shower and a very quick early dinner.
Why so fast? We were heading over to Paw Paw with Nina for Mexican Train Dominoes. That was a fun night! We started playing at 6:30 and ended up playing until midnight! Ryan ended up the winner out of the eight of us and he was excited. I think it was his “lucky poker chip” he brought with him from our boat. 😉
We had a few happy hours and a dinner at the Yacht Club Restaurant in Fare and then we were off to mid-island for a different view. We spent one night in this bay, which had a lovely beach that was maintained by a man who used to be a French Paratrooper and consequently received a pension from the government. He was now being paid to maintain this beach for passing boaters, etc. We kayaked into the beach with Nina and Paw Paw, this time taking Ryan’s metal detector with us. He and I searched the beach and ended up getting a few hits. One appeared to be a clump of something, but we could not figure out what. Ryan turned up the sensitivity on his metal detector and when it still went off, he said it had to be silver. Well, we got back to the boat and Dan decided to use a metal Dremel brush to clean the clump. Sure enough, it was a nugget of silver!
The Beach Half-Way down the Island where Ryan found his Silver
Hanging Out on the Beach
Ryan in our Kayak with Chickens on the Beach
The Bananas the Island Caretaker Gave to Dan
The next day we headed to the southern Huahine Island. The bay was in an area with a small resort and a decent sized beach. We went for a few walks in this area, had happy hour and a potluck lunch on the beach with our buddy boats, and had a very relaxed stay.
There was one dog there (still a puppy, really) who I just loved. He had a collar so I assume he had a home, but he was such a sweetheart! I wished I could take him home with me.
I loved this Puppy
Huahine was pretty, but it was time to move on. A storm system (lasting several days) was in the marine forecast, so we opted to depart to Ta’haa (about 4-5 hours away) the day before it was due to start so we wouldn’t get stuck too long in Huahine. We are off again!
Someone Had Trouble Navigating the Reef. Luckily, it wasn’t us…