the deck was wet with dew and my shoes squeaked when I hung the hammock at 5am. the waves crashing against the reef sounded like a train engine. a half moon still hung high in the sky and clouds hugged the peaks of Tehurui and Vaiaau. a set of headlights inched along the road and I could hear roosters in their call and response morning ritual. clouds turned from grey to pink. the water was smooth as glass and I could see the anchor chain making a wide loop off the bow of the boat in 8 ft of water. slowly the dark silhouette of land and pinkish blue of reef horizon joined into morning. today is another day in paradise.
august 19 and we headed back to Uturoa for more baguettes etc. we ran into familiar cruisers doing the same. then we headed out to explore Tahaa. our first stop was Baie Haamene for a mooring ball. next morning we took a land tour described as botanical. we were shown various plant life, another vanilla farm and then a pearl farm. highlights were demonstrations in how to make whirligigs, flutes, whistles, and plates all out of leaves. then father and son prepared a sampling of fruits and showed us how to skin, crack and enjoy coconuts. next was a more in-depth explanation of vanilla farming, followed by a description of pearl farming.
easy to make and fun to watch, these whirligigs will come in handy while we’re sailing
heading home after church. another one of those fabulous hats. they have 8 communities on Tahaa and 8 churches.
one of the millions of land crabs here – usually we just see the holes in the ground
kapok was introduced here and the billowy insides are used for stuffing
starfruit which is very tasty and slightly sour
Teva, our guide, took a piece of miro (rosewood) and stripped the skin off then make a couple cuts and voila we had a flute – and it worked sliding the naked wood in and out
Teva’s dad made whistles from palm frons
making a leaf plate
very sturdy once it’s woven. who needs plastic?
and the coconut water tastes great
dad is shaving the coconut into the leaf bowl and Teva is preparing our feast
everything he picked up along the tour off the trees
at their vanilla farm, drying the beans for several hours each day. then they’re wrapped up in the fabric and put into plastic boxes to sweat until the next day. they go from plump to withered to eliminate the water. the cotton cloth smelled fantastic but she wouldn’t part with any.
and the beans need to be massaged every day until they’re dry. growing vanilla is incredibly time consuming from hand pollination, drying and massaging. no wonder it’s so expensive.
and then the pearl farming, another time consuming activity. i’ll go into more detail in another post but here you’re looking at various methods of keeping the oysters underwater.
we booked our tour through the Hibiscus founderation which works to return baby turtles to the sea. they had a water pen of anxious turtles waiting for release
after the tour we headed out to anchor near motu Ceran for a bit of snorkeling. then we’ll sail around Tahaa, next stop the coral gardens.