Huahine is a very old island arisen from three separate volcanoes. It is located 170 kilometers northwest of Tahiti and already the first look out of the airplane window promised some great days on Huahine.
The airport of Huahine is right next to the Pacific Ocean and when looking out of the windows of the airplane when it lands one thinks the airplane is about to touch down into the ocean.
Arriving at our resort we were welcomed with a flower garland and a cold drink. Something we could get used to 🙂 Unfortunately this custom isn’t yet established in the low-budget hostels we typically frequent…
After the warm welcome we made ourselves comfortable in our air conditioned and lizard-free bungalow:
First thing we headed for the white sand beach and enjoyed our first swim:
The town of Fare is only a few minutes walk along the coast:
On the way back from Fare the sun had started to set:
The sun didn’t set into the ocean because of the clouds at the horizon. But the clouds hiding the sun illuminated the sky beautifully:
In order to explore more of Huahine we had planned to rent a scooter again. However at the rental agency we found out that there were no more scooters available. The rental guy was really friendly and offered us the last car available for the price of a scooter 🙂
We recorded that day trip around Huahine with our GPS trekker and you can see an interactive Google map of our 78 km outing (if you wait for it to load you can zoom in on all parts of the trek; be careful when using the mouse wheel while the mouse cursor is located on the map!):
Our first stop on the west coast of the northern island was at a pearl farm. We had already bought a beautiful black pearl on Mo’orea but since this pearl farm offered a tour of their farm and according to Tini you can’t have enough pearls, we thought it a good idea 🙂
The pearl farm is located in the middle of the bay and we were picked up by a boat. The advantage of the location over the water is that there are never any mosquitoes.
The tour was very interesting. We learned what it takes and how much work it is to graft the pearls inside the oyster. The color of the Tahitian cultured pearls comes from the “Pinctada Margaritifera” oyster of the Cumingi variety. This specific variety was even registered as a trademark and has by now establish international reputation. The pearls are best known for their diversity of size, shape, surface quality and endless seeming shades of natural colors, ranging from pale grey to anthracite black.
Here you can see one of the pearl workstations were they are opened and the incision is made and the nucleus and a graft are inserted into the gonad (the sexual gland) of an oyster. The nuclei used here are beads either made from the shells of previously harvested oysters or simply plastic. The graft is a piece of the mantle of a healthy oyster.
Shopping can be exhausting! 🙂
No worries, we didn’t spend all our money for pearls, it was just very hot and we had to wait a while after the tour for the boat to bring us back to the island.
We continued on to see the holy eels. Holy, at least according to local mythology. When fed with tuna fish from the can, they wiggled out of the water and onto the floor to get even the last bites of spilled tuna.
The eels gave Tini the creeps but the local children were obviously used to them as they were swimming and playing in the river just a few meters down the stream.
View from a lookout on the southern island of Huahine:
We also visited a little farm. Do you recognize these plants?
Perhaps seeing their blossom?
It is a Vanilla plantation. The green fruits on the picture below will gradually turn into black vanilla hulls, just as the ones we can buy in stores in Europe. It was very interesting to hear about the growing process of the vanilla plants from the local farmer. The plant is actually an orchid and one flower/blossom will grow one vanilla hull. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, because growing the vanilla seed pods is very labor-intensive. The local variety is renown all over the world for its powerful fragrance and its strong taste.
The smells all around the farm were just amazing. Vanilla everywhere!
We couldn’t resist to buy a pack of vanilla hulls even though we did not yet exactly know what to do with them…
We continued on along the coast…
…and bought some pineapples from a small farmers booth at the side of the street. We found out that you obviously don’t just buy a single pineapple, but instead a bundle of five or six 🙂
Later that afternoon we stopped at a nice spot on the beach and ate two of the pineapples. They were incredibly sweet and so delicious! Just sitting at the coast and watching the ocean while we enjoyed the pineapples. Priceless 🙂
Along the way we also saw a bunch of island flowers:
On the way back up to Fare we kept on the west side of the south and north island. This way we managed to circle both the islands and get some more nice views.
When we arrived back in Fare we returned the car and headed back to our resort to relaxed at “our” beach. We did some snorkeling and roasted in the sun.
Though we both more enjoy the ocean, the pool had a great view…
And on one of the evenings we shot a time lapse videos on the beach while we were just enjoying the sun set:
On the last day of 2013 we left Huahine to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Bora Bora. It had been a great stay on Huahine and a perfect finale for 2013!