Azyu - Raiatea, the original Big Sky Island…

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Who : Jean-Marie, Gaëlle, Coline & Erell
Where : French Polynesia
Multihull : Nautitech 475
Blog :

Erell attends the Apooiti elementary school. Located 5 minutes from the marina of the same name and from a strategic anchorage facing the shipyard, this school is used to welcoming visiting sailors. Erell met Lino, Carlotta, Chloe, and made new friends, including the nice Heifetia, whose name means “crown of stars“. Poehani, the teacher, teaches them French and math while Monsieur teaches them the art of Orero. This consists of reciting in Tahitian a speech glorifying local heroes, the feats of a tribe, the founding gods or a particular land. This subject is part of the school curriculum. It requires memory and articulation, intonation, gestures, and the transmission of emotions to an audience. Raiatea means “expanding sky“ in Tahitian. It is not surprising that people here want to paint these virgin landscapes, as if they had just been born into the world: the line of the Taha’a mountains, the silhouette of Bora-Bora topped with lime green clouds, the lagoon with its changing shades of ultramarine blue, emerald green, and misty gray. Another relaxing activity is snorkeling. We can now go down to about 65 feet (20 meters) without suffering and can stay a few minutes motionless on the surface (5 mn in very calm conditions). This training, which is still pretty amateurish, is not intended to turn us into champions: one of the world records is 425 feet (130 meters), but to become a part of the lagoon. The stingrays don’t scurry in front of us anymore, and we can now hold our own when facing the thick golden moray eels which, believe me, have a menacing look and smile. We aren’t bothered anymore by the black tip sharks that swim around in more or less concentric circles. It is good to feel a little less foreign, a little more anonymous in this underwater world of a thousand encounters.

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