Huahine

Ok, we’ll get this out of the way first. Huahine is known as “The Garden Island” due to its abundance of lush green tropical foliage and wild jungle-like scenery. However, the name, Huahine, translates into “Pussy Woman”. This apparently is due to its configuration.

How the missionaries let this stand without renaming the island is a mystery. But more of a mystery is how the ancient Polynesians had a clue as to what Huahine looked like from the air.

Huahine itself is actually two islands interconnected by a bridge, known as Huahine-Nui and Huahine-Iti (Big Huahine and little Huahine). Crossing the bridge we saw ancient fish traps that shut fish in a small pool for easy pickings. It all works with the tide. Tide in; fish in. Tide out; trap closes and fish stay. From the bridge I caught a glimpse of how most of us dream of living.

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Our guide, Jeremy, must have had the same glimpse, although a Tahitian maiden was on the porch. An American, he came to Tahiti many years ago, married a Tahitian woman, and started a guide business. He probably knows more about the island than the natives.

The people who built the ingenious fish traps also believed in sacrifice to the gods. Not human sacrifice, but sacrifice none the less. The sacrificial altars have not been altered (no pun intended) or “rejuvenated” for the benefit of tourists, but are as they were in primeval times.

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We drove past thick jungle.

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At times Jeremy would stop our 4 wheeler and pick a piece of fruit here, a nut there, and flowers. There was one hard skinned fruit, that if squeezed would drip a fluid that would cure and remove the pain of a scorpion sting or a mosquito bite. I asked why this hadn’t been developed for the world market, and he answered, “Why?” I took that to mean they had what was needed on Huahine and wanted it to stay as it was, relaxing, stress free, and not touristy.

Perhaps an indication of the remoteness he was describing came with our visit to a vanilla vendor.

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Jeremy said that the Reagan White House bought its vanilla solely from this one vendor. He was a man with no teeth who didn’t speak.

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I don’t know much about vanilla, but understood that his particular vanilla was about the best available anywhere. After taking a look, that was hard for me to believe.

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Our next stop was a beer stop.

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It looked like we were the first customers of the day at the small café.

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We had to move on, but I would have loved to stay and try the local food, but the blue eyed eels were waiting.

These are freshwater eels. An eel entrepreneur put some bait in the water

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and upstream they came; blue eyed black eels, with truly white teeth.

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The specks in the photo are from the bait.

There are loads of long and beautiful white sandy beaches on Huahine.

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Just off one of the beaches was a nice looking home.

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I wish that, on these tours, we had the chance to visit with the locals and get a glimpse of their life in, what to us, was paradise.

This is not to say that Huahine was above development.

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Again, I would have loved to stop and talk. How were these people different than the beach dwellers?

It was time to head back to the waiting ship.

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I was last off the truck.

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Tonight was pirate night, and many passengers wore outfits varying from and eye patch to full blown buccaneer costumes. The best pirate would be picked after dinner. I would have joined but I had no Somalian clothes. (Sorry about that).

Talking about clothes, the Sloop Shop sells all sorts of Star Flyer attire. It was interesting that a lot of men bought the same shirts that the waiters wore.

“Can I have some more coffee please?”

“I don’t work here!!!!!!!”

Moorea in the morning.

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One Response to “Huahine”

  1. Mandy Turner Says:

    Hello!
    I recently came across your travel website. I have enjoyed reading your travel stories very much. I have been a fan of yours ever since The New Treasure Hunt and Jackpot!. I’m glad to know you’re having fun on your travels.
    On another note, since this is Final Four weekend, I am sure that due to the fact that you’re a Duke graduate, you will be pulling for any team except the UNC Tarheels to win it all. 🙂
    Best wishes to you!

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