Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sucker Wind

Well, that's what we used to say at Nitinat Lake, when we'd be drawn out windsurfing in hopes of a fabulous breeze...only to slog your way back to the beach again, dejected. was sucker wind that had us take the boat to the other side of Raiatea today, get all the gear rigged, and jump into the water...only to find out that we didn't have quite enough wind to windsurf. Hmf. Maybe tomorrow.

At least there is some comfort in knowing that we've now used the gear twice, since we left BC.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Renova's Make-over

Well, as a result of one of our cushion covers looking and smelling REALLY bad when we returned to the boat, we decided to finally recover the cushions. We've always hated our existing cushions, but they weren't bad enough to justify the expense of re-upholstery. SO....this was just the push we needed. We picked out some Polynesian fabric (surprisingly, not flowers), and I spent a full day on the boat with the sewing machine. By the time we went to visit Secret Agent Man for dinner, I had all four cushions complete, and was pretty pleased with myself!! :O)

The new, blue cushions are on the top of the image, the old, yellow-beige cushions are on the bottom. Although they didn't look bad, all the loose cushions were a pain in the butt.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Touring Tahaa

Yesterday, we took the advice our the hotel owner and took a full day tour of the neighboring island, Tahaa. The islands of Tahaa and Raiatea share a coral reef lagoon, therefore travel between the two islands is protected. While Raiatea contains the second biggest city in French Polynesia, Tahaa is very natural and relaxed and is home to only 4500 people.

Edwin picked us up in a huge outrigger canoe (powered by a merc 150) from the hotel dock, and we went around Tahaa to the north end. We anchored in ankle deep water and walked across the coral reef to the outside of the lagoon. Then we stepped into the water, and let ourselves drift into the lagoon with the current flowing into the pass. It was wonderful snorkeling, and we quickly walked across the reef to do it all again!
One of the guests managed to get a spine of an urchin into her heel. Our guide was only two happy to assist by providing some of his own urine to pour over the wound. An hour later the guest raved that the remedy was successful!! In addition, a couple of us managed to get small scrapes on the coral (mine was a result of chasing my wayward shoes through the shallow reef). Edwin quickly cut open a lime and sqeezed the juice and pulp all over the would. It stung like crazy - for at least 10 minutes. But today, it has healed faster than any other coral wound we've had in the past!

After the snorkeling, and snacks of fresh papaya, mango, banana, pomplemousse, and coconut, we headed back across the lagoon and visited a local pearl farm. 1992, there were 50 pearl farms on Tahaa. Now there are only 3. We had a full tour, showing us the grafting and production process. It was all very interesting, and we managed to leave with our wallets intact.

Next, we loaded into 4x4 Land Rovers, and headed across the island to a Vanilla Plantation, owned by Edwin and his family. They gave us an interesting tour (again, in english and french), explaining the production
and drying process. Surprisingly, they didn't even offer to sell any of the beans, but we managed to go home with a few to test out. After the tour, we were treated to a delightful lunch, created by Jacqueline and her daughters. We feasted on rice, coconut bread, taro root, sweet potato, blue marlin poisson cru, fish balls (also blue marline), mahi mahi with crème freche and vanilla, and other delicacies.

With full bellies, we loaded back into the trucks, and headed across the island on a dirt road. We had heard from other sailors the they had to get out and push the truck through one of the deep mud holes last week!!
Luckily, we were able to stay in the truck for the entire trip. It was rocky and rolly, but we were rewarded with a spectacular view point from the top of the mountain overlooking Hanamene Bay.

Finally, we loaded back into the canoe and were taken across the lagoon, back to Raiatea. This was the best tour excursion any of us had taken...what a treat! A full day with lots of local info provided by Edwin, Jacqueline and their son Ivan. We returned to the hotel still full with barely any appetite for dinner!