Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Catching Up on the Societies – Huahine and Raiatea

We did an overnight sail from Moorea to Huahine. John and Lisa got to stand their first night watch. The conditions were a bit rambuncous, but they did great. We went in on the eastern side of the island. It is the much less visited side. I enjoyed it, but it seems this picture is what I really remember. We anchored in 85ft of water. Immediately a local boat came up and in very friendly French told us that we were anchored on a pearl bed. He asked me to lift my anchor very slowly so he could make sure we didn’t catch any oyster cages. It came up clean, no problems. I asked where I could anchor and he told behind the reef that was in front of us. So we anchored over there, also in 85ft, for a few days. When we picked up the anchor we had it hooked in this massively long oyster float held together with a large cable. I ended up having to go in the water and secure a line to the cable and then fight the anchor out of the large black bucket that it is caught in in this photo. In both of these places there were no floats on the surface to indicate that there were oysters below.
HuahineP6230001   One thing you do on the east side of Huahine  is go into the bay and walk up to the area with the sacred blue-eyed eels. No good pictures of these as I only had my small camera with me and somehow I didn’t grab John’s eel shots. The black bump in the middle of the picture is an eel wanting to be fed.
HuahineP6230007 This gal is the local eel whisperer. With a smile, innate animal skills and a can of open mackerel she has then eating out of her palm- literally.

We sailed outside the reef from the east side to the west in very light winds (after getting free of the oyster trap). We were easing along at about 2-3 kts with the headsail out and saw this guy fishing. He came scooting up to us motioning us to stop. I thought we must be heading into a net of his. As we were only going about 2 kts it didn’t take long for him to come up close. His crew struggled with lifting up this massive tuna they’d just caught. They just wanted to show us what a cool catch they had. We waved and cheered and took pictures and then they ran off to fish some more.
We did find a great secret spot for shelling on the east side. We only collect empty shells – its a vegetarian thing. Chris left her beach walk’s haul of shells in the dinghy. Turns out this one was not empty. It was occupied by a hermit crab who decided to walk down the yellow dinghy painter to try to escape to see another beach.
RaiateaDSC_0697After a 20 mile motor in no wind over to Raiatea we anchored near this ancient ‘mare’, a sacred site. It was well preserved and has some interesting signage telling about the ritual use of the mares, which we hadn’t seen at other sites. In the photo background is the outline of Huahine.
RaiateaDSC_0704 Like all mares there was a sacred banyan tree. Those little people to the right of the tree’s air-roots are Chris and I.
Blue outrigger on a Raiatea river we went up in the dinghy.

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