|Nicky and Maupiti church|
Each island has a different feel, even Raiatea and Taha'a, which share a lagoon. On Raiatea, while Sue was completing her PADI certification, we hiked with Tiggy and James from Miss Tiggy, from sea level to the high plateau at 720 metres, saw a Tiare Apetahi flower up close - it's the national, very endangered flower - and back down again, a tiring 7 hour walk. We've loved drifting with the current through coral gardens, sometimes having to suck in the tummy so as not to graze the coral,
surrounded by multi-coloured fish.
|Fish traps Huahine|
We will probably leave Maupiti tomorrow for Maupihaa. It is an island with 18 inhabitants and we will be taking 3 of them with us! The supply ship only calls twice a year, when there is enough copra harvested and ready to export. The islanders take the supply ship or manage sometimes to get a
lift back 100NM upwind to Maupiti, but then they need to hitch a ride back home. The pilot book has all kinds of ferocious warnings about the pass being among the most difficult in French Polynesia; it is only 20m across but there is plenty of depth and the weather forecast looks good, and we will have 3 locals on board! The pass into Maupiti was exciting and in different winds from the south could be truly awful, but it was well marked, plenty of agitated waves but nothing too bad - power on and we made it through. The current was against us: there's always a current running OUT of the atoll, which seems strange until you think that there are always waves breaking against the reef and flooding in.
|Grey shark Raiatea|
mechanics from the UK, and the engineer from New Zealand), to finalise fixing the gooseneck, and to reprovision the freezer and other supplies. All done at 3x the price of Panama.
We have loved the people of French Polynesia, which seems remarkably prosperous, friendly, with a high sense of community and also selectively understanding that too much tourism is not a good thing; eg Huahine voted
It has been the season of Heiva or festivals, and we will post a video of the fabulous dancing and singing from Huahine. All the island was there and the cast was over a hundred of all ages, and all massively enthusiastic. Quite how all this enables the books to balance I don't know, but it is very happy. I suspect voting for independence would be a mistake, though we have seen a fair number of blue and white flags showing support for that idea.
We are now out of 3G coverage, so firstname.lastname@example.org please.