Saturday, 14 April 2018

Friday, March 17, 2017- Huahine Nautique Excursion/ Nautical Tour of Huahine with Motu Picnic (HUH)

Today, we had breakfast at the pension—baguette, butter, jam, with cantaloupe, and tea. There were no leprechauns to be seen around the pension, perhaps they were kept away by the kitten or they were hiding in the lush, verdant, green foliage that surrounds the Pension Meherio, including the fragrant Tiare de Tahiti (also known as Tahitian Gardenia) bushes.

We were picked up around 9:00 a.m. to go to the Huahine Nautique tour offices to start our excursion or tour of Huahine. In the jeep we met a French Canadian man who was also doing the tour. There were people from other accommodations going on this tour. Bill forgot his credit card, but they said that we could pay after.

The boat, which is an outrigger power boat leaves from the dock there. We started the tour in a circle of the island of Huahine in the boat while the bilingual female guide pointed out some of the aspects of Huahine to the mostly French group, along with a couple from Germany.

We had done the exact same tour nine years previous during our honeymoon. The tour still included the key component parts of snorkelling in coral gardens, visiting the only pearl farm on the island, a motu picnic, and a shark feeding which is euphemistically called ‘visit to a living aquarium’ on the promotional materials (we were surprised by the shark feeding during our first tour, but not this time.)

Our first stop was near to the Huahine Royal Resort that has overwater bungalows, as it is located in the area the locals call the coral garden. Naturally, this is not the only area that is good for snorkelling in coral, however, this is a spectacular spot for viewing coral and tropical fish. We were allowed about 30 minutes to snorkel in this area, but we could have stayed for hours. We saw different fish in the coral gardens than we had seen in previous days.

The Huahine Royal Resort has overwater bungalows. This is where we stopped to snorkel.

We climbed back into the boat and continued to circle the island. We saw a sea turtle while we were on the boat.

We saw such sights as the bridge that connects the large island of Huahine (Huahine Nui) to the small island (Huahine Iti), the most important body part of the god Hiro for his bride on Huahine (see photo and video below), and the stunning natural beauty of the green high mountains meeting the turquoise lagoon waters.

In the distance one can see Hiro's most important body part according to the tour.

The island of Huahine is very lush with interesting cliff faces.

We stopped at the Huahine pearl farm next. Annoyingly, there were no bathrooms at the pearl farm, which is on a platform in the middle of the lagoon. The tour is not particularly well set up for those who are pregnant, need a bathroom regularly, or who hydrate. We browsed the display cases at the pearl farm, viewing both their loose pearls and some of their creations, such as necklaces and earrings. We thought that it looked like there was a lot less selection than when we had been there nine years ago and we asked the owner’s son when the next harvest would be. He told us that he was not sure, because they were very low on oysters (they only have about 5,000 in the lagoon right now, when they would normally have about 50,000, because they are waiting on a shipment of oysters from the Tuamotus). We were stunned by the increase in price, of even the loose pearls, especially because many of the pearls were either baroque, circled, or didn’t have a particularly spectacular lustre. We did not purchase anything. As we were getting back into the boat, we were given a half of an oyster shell as a souvenir. While this was very beautiful, it is not exactly a black pearl necklace.

It's hard to believe that the lagoon waters on Huahine are actually the colour that they are. The whole island looks photoshopped. It's impossible to capture the exact colour of the water on video or in pictures. It has to be seen to be believed.

Next, we navigated to the motu (islet) where we would be having our picnic lunch. It was the same motu we had visited the last time we took the tour. The motu is so beautiful with a white coral sand beach giving away to the turquoise waters of the lagoon.

It is the perfect area to float around while a delicious lunch is prepared and the palm trees sway languidly. While everyone watched a demonstration of how poission cru, a local raw fish dish is prepared, April continued to cool off in the water, as it was extremely hot out, and she had already seen the demonstration on our previous tour.

We ate lunch at picnic tables by the water. There was more variety of dishes this time than the last time. There was poisson cru, which we didn’t have, as April was pregnant, and we can’t risk food poisoning, cooked chicken, saffron rice with corn, a variety of tropical fruits including coconut, watermelon, Tahitian grapefruit, pineapple, and local bananas. There was also salad, cool drinks, and baguette.
The motu where we had a picnic lunch was the same one as 9 years ago and still breathtakingly beautiful.

Immediately after we finished eating, we were back into the cooling waters of the motu to relax until it was time to leave. Bill fed some of the fish that had joined us with a chicken bone and the little fish cleaned the bone of any remaining meat. One of our fellow excursion participants, a friendly fellow from Quebec, snapped this photo of us in the water.

This motu in Huahine is paradise found.

After about two hours on the motu, we cruised back around the island. We saw a large stingray off the side of the boat.

We stopped near to where our pension is, but out by the reef at a platform. We knew this time, that ‘living aquarium’ meant shark feeding and we were looking forward to seeing beautiful sharks and the accompanying lagoon fish. It poured with rain as we arrived and while we were there. Less than half of the tour participants went into the water for the shark feeding. We don’t know if it was just because they were just chickens or it was just a general aversion to getting wet from being rained on while being submerged in ocean water. Whatever it was, they missed a great show.

The black tipped reef sharks were already waiting to be fed before Claude even entered the water with his bucket of fish guts. Naturally, we were the first two into the water again, Canada has a reputation to uphold. The accompanying fish from the lagoon who are always there with the sharks are so gorgeous and abundant. We had our GoPro Hero 5 with us and filmed the entire shark feeding. I suppose when people view the footage of the sharks coming within a foot of us, they might think we have a few screws loose, but the reef sharks were much less aggressive than the little yellow fish that kept nibbling at us, thinking that we might have something to feed them. Plus, reef sharks never really attack humans and are so beautiful to view up close that it’s a shame that most of the tour group missed this experience.


On the way to the dock, by the pension where we were being dropped off, the guide taught us a couple of new ways to tie a pareo (the wrap that women in Polynesia wear in many different ways as a dress and cover up). The guide also pointed out the four mountains overlooking the town of Fare that resemble a pregnant woman lying down, face towards the sky. One mountain was her face, the second her breasts, the third her belly with external naval from being pregnant, and the fourth her knees.

We were dropped off at the dock by the beach at our pension, and walked back as we chatted with the fellow from Quebec who was on the tour. The tour operator said that they would come by later so that we could pay for the tour. We were back at pension around 4:00 p.m., so the tour took about 7 hours. It was a really nice day and good value.

For dinner, at about 7:30 p.m., we ate at the pension again. Teps cooked a lovely dish of chicken, carrots, beans, onions, in a Chinese style sauce, with taro root on the side (this is a starchy root vegetable that is used in similar ways as a potato by Polynesians). After the delicious dinner, we were surprised when the American staying at the pension said that he had picked up some different slices of cake from town that day for us to share. Who doesn’t want to be surprised by dessert? The five of us in attendance polished off the cake in no time.

The conversation at dinner was very interesting between the guests. The mother cat and her kitten were present to receive any scraps that could be spared. We felt tired at 9:00 p.m., after being in the water swimming most of the day, so we retired to our room.

April has been fighting cold-like symptoms the last couple of days that seem suspiciously like Bill’s cold. Bill’s cough has been improving, but still sounds awful. April felt very sick to the stomach that evening, but can’t figure out what made her feel sick, although we suspect eating late and pregnancy are the culprits. 

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