Huahine – July 24-25
It is easy to understand why Huahine has such a great reputation among boaters. The harbor by the town of Fare is beautiful. As with all of the islands in the Societies that we are visiting (Tahiti,Moorea,Huahine, Raiatea,Tahaa and Bora Bora) it is ringed by a coral reef which makes the water calm and clear, and it faces beautiful lush green hillsides. It is not as dramatic as Moorea as it is not peaked with tall volcanic peaks, but rather soft, green, palm tree and fern covered hillsides, only slightly mountainous. The little town comes to life in the morning with fruit and vegetable sellers. Yesterday a small cruise ship came in and there were some dance performances in the streets for the small group that went ashore. We noticed a small sign on the grocery store advertising a “spectacle” of dance at the local performing arts area. We decided to go, since we had not yet gone to see any Polynesian dance shows – the stuff in Tahiti looked too touristy and was also too hard to get to at night. So after a second dinner of fine dining at one of the local “roulettes” – the trucks that park by the dock and serve food – we headed off to the show. One rather drunk middle-aged surf bum gave us vague directions which made it sound very close. It turned out to be close to a half an hour walk down the main road. Luckily the road was in good shape, was lit, and there was very little traffic. The outdoor auditorium was perfect – just simple benches surrounding a large sand floor with warm tropical breezes blowing through. Nearly all of the people in the audience were local Huahinian and the show was great. There must have been about 60 dancers – all beautiful young girls and really strong and handsome young men. Just about an hour long, with a couple of fun costume changes, and lots of energy. They were probably not as “professional” as you might see elsewhere, but they were really into it, and the dancing, particularly among the women, was just great. It has been many years since we have seen Polynesian dancing, and it is quite beautiful when done without all the fire and hoopla that sometimes gets thrown in for tourists. For refreshments, the highlight for us was the fresh young coconuts – they had big piles of them and for a buck they would lop off the top and you took it away to drink. We were happy to find a whole string of local buses waiting outside after the show and we just hopped on with everyone else for a ride back to town.
Yesterday, July 25th, we moved to the southern-most part of the island, to Avea Bay. To get here you follow a deep water channel that cuts between the outside reef and the island. It is absolutely beautiful. You see the surf crashing up against the reef, but the water inside the reef (where we motor) is totally calm and various shades of blue. On the other side are the soft lush hills of the island, with assorted bays and white sandbeaches everywhere. The anchorage has a sandy bottom and places to snorkel, or walk on the beach, and it has a few restaurants as well. The swell that come up from the south from large curling waves that break heavily on the reef in this bay which faces southwest. This has made Huahine a favorite spot for surfers who live in cheap pensiones and talk among themselves about the wave forecast.