Pacific Ocean

A stroll through the Leeward Islands of Polynesia…

Published on 01 october 2014 at 0h00

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Huahine, the serene island…

Barbara’s Diary:
“We set off from Opunohu Bay at sunset, bound for Huahine… It was still nice, with the wind blowing easterly force 3 to 4. As soon as we had cleared the pass, the swell was pushing us towards the west. Without being able to offer any proper explanation, at half a mile outside the pass and in several hundred meters of water, a single steep wave, several meters high, broke over Jaganda. Olivier just had time to warn us as he leapt to the helm. Our catamaran lifted way up on the port hull and suddenly we found ourselves horizontal. Hundreds of liters of water flowed across the deck, flooding the cockpit and coming into the salon. The rice-cooker made a sideways leap, but came back down in its spot. Dinner was saved! Later Olivier would tell us that evening on board Jaganda that we had experienced the biggest list of the whole trip! He confided in me afterwards that he was seriously concerned ahead of the very steep face of that wave which appeared out of nowhere.
In the early hours of June 29th, after a rough night at sea, we entered Huahine’s lagoon via the Avamoa Pass. We anchored off Faré, the island’s main village. I am particularly attached to Huahine. I’ve been lucky enough to stop here three times already, one of which was with the Taporo, the local supply ship which serves the islands, and carries passengers. Huahine is an island apart, different from her sisters: she has not been subjected to the same touristic developments, and so her originality remains intact. In 20 years I cannot see any major changes, and I’m glad of that. Huahine is comprised of two islands, linked by a narrow isthmus, enclosed within the same lagoon. The landscape is gentler than that of her neighbors, and her heavily indented coastline provides numerous anchorages. We make the most of being in Faré to revictual at a well-stocked Chinese store. There you can find everything: fresh goods, frozen, fruit, vegetables and “pai-bananes”, a stuffed pastry with banana jelly, which we all love on board.
We then set off for a very pretty anchorage on the west side of the island, at the entrance of Port Bourayne Bay. There, under the coconut trees, is a beautiful little white sand beach, where Marin enjoyed playing with his skimmer in the waves as they crashed on the bank. A wahine was watching, intrigued, and she told me that when she was young, she played in exactly the same way with a small wood board. This game is widespread among Polynesian children, and she was worried that it might eventually disappear…

Chronicle around the world : Leeward Islands

In the lagoon south of Huahine, the serene island…

The day of our departure from Huahine, we stopped by Faré again to watch an amazing spectacle: the Va’a racing, outrigger canoes, dear to every Polynesian’s heart. Since we had arrived in Polynesia, not a day had gone by when we hadn't seen one or more tanés training in their pirogues. Their movement is supple and powerful, a rhythmic pace. A fascinating ...

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