Much to do on Huahine

We hired an archaeologist to take us around to learn about the ruins and pre-contact culture. We visited a site at Maeve (primarily documented by Dr. Yosihiko H. Sinoto), one of the largest collections of ruins in the South Pacific. We were able to see some of the marae* (alters) and put early migration into perspective based on current research. The South Pacific is very complicated and migration patterns as reflected in the archaeology and linguistic record could cover a lifespan of understanding. We enjoyed learning a bit about the local history, as well as Captain Cook’s visits to this area.

Image of the guide leaning against his truck

Local archaeologist/guide picked us up in his Jeep

Image of Maeve marae,

Maeve marae today

Image of a painting of Captain Cook's arrival; there is an alter in the back with skull heads, animal offerings, and a human sacrifice

Depiction of Cook’s arrival. Note the alter in back (with skull heads), and the ahu platform in front, with offerings (animals). The human sacrifice near the bottom of the ahu may or may not be accurate for this area of Polynesia.

We then headed towards the fish traps to check out the process. Fisherman built large narrow rock passages, with a central round end. When the tide comes in with all the fish they swim over the walls, and when the tide recedes, the larger fish get trapped in the narrow channel. Then, it is only a matter of scooping them out; very ingenious. In addition to seeing the fish traps, we stopped along the way to see fresh water eels, and visited a vanilla plantation to pick fresh vanilla.

Image of many rocks in alignment in the water

One of the many fish traps located inland

After the fishing experience, we headed to the motu (a reef islet formed by broken coral and sand surrounding an atoll/island) on the eastern side of the island. Motus are land ridges poking out of the water. They act as a barrier on one side of the lagoons that surround the mainland. The lagoon formed between the pieces of land is generally calm because of the protected waters. The ocean on the other side of the motu is rougher and the tides hit hard there. If you saw Castaway with Tom Hanks, you get the idea of what it might be like to cross over these outer areas.

Image of a woman (Bonita) standing facing the water on a shore

Bonita on motu

Image of a woman (Marla) on the beach, wearing a hat and blue shirt while smiling

Marla enjoying the beach

We walked into town and had vanilla-smothered mahi mahi for dinner, and a tropical drink. We finished off the evening drinking at the beach house and watching the sunset. I drank a bit too much and ended up needing a nap. Ryan kept handing me drinks. Mind you, Ryan is quiet and a little soft spoken, I have noted that he is the instigator of the group. Everyone was smiling soon – Bonita was considering having the Tahitian Beer label tattooed on her body. This is the one with the island girl sitting with a red dress and lots of flowers, we decided it didn’t go well with the rest of her tattoos.

I woke up with a bit of a hangover and a decision to back off on the alcohol. I lasted three days of drinking heavily. The sun, the drinking, and the heat were catching up to me. More water please! Ryan came by with a glass of vodka and orange juice at 7 a.m. and asked me if I was ready to start the new day with a drink. Ugh.

On the final day on Huahine the gang scored a boat from a local French guy and opted to go out along the motu and reefs and do a bit of snorkeling. I, still green in the gills from the night before, opted out. The last thing I needed was a boat ride. Also recall that I am a little fraidy-cat when it comes to water. Instead, I took the car (the beach house comes with a car) and drove the entire road system of the island. It was roughly 28 miles. The drive was like traveling through a large garden, mostly coastal, with only two areas that rose above the ocean. Now, when I say coastal, I mean coastal! It was like a think narrow strip of tarmac along the rocky beaches. It was very curvy and there were no guardrails or streetlights. The French, like the Canadians, do not believe in guardrails. If you were driving at night and not paying attention, you could easily drive into the ocean, sometimes on both sides.

Most of the island was remote, very little people, a few pensions (a French boarding house) scattered here and there. It was not until I got to the very end of the island that I came across another village, but no real services. The people would see me come by and wave and smile and say hello in Tahitian.

Image of a local woman wearing a crown of flowers and smiling

The people here are very friendly

Huahine was a very quiet place to relax off the beaten path. The lodging was not that expensive, roughly $250/night to rent the entire house. We used the car, so we had to pay for the gas.

Image of everyone sitting the back of a Jeep

Jeep ride around the island

Image of everyone sitting in the back of the Jeep eating bananas

Snacks – fresh bananas

We caught an island hop and headed for Bora Bora, the place where all people dream of going someday.

*A marae (in New Zealand Māori, Cook Islands Māori, Tahitian) malaʻe(in Tongan), malae(in Samoan) and mālaʻe (in Hawaiian[1]) is a communal or sacred place that serves religious and social purposes in Polynesian societies. In all these languages, the word also means “cleared, free of weeds, trees, etc.” It generally consists of an area of cleared land roughly rectangular (the marae itself), bordered with stones or wooden posts (called au in Tahitian and Cook Islands Māori) perhaps with terraces (paepae) which were traditionally used for ceremonial purposes; and in some cases, a central stone ahu or a’u. In the Rapanui culture of Easter Island “ahu” has become a synonym for the whole marae complex). -wikipedia

No words can describe Bora Bora
Baguette boxes and butter
About Maya

My name is Maya, and I wander.

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