Sunday, February 24, 2008

Huahine, French Polynesia

When you think about Tahiti, what images come to mind? For me, the images include palm trees, Tahitian huts, blue skies with puffy clouds, and many shades of crystal clear blue water.

Our next port of call on our 10 Day Polynesia/Cook Islands Cruise was Huahine, French Polynesia. The Tahitian Princess dropped anchor in the middle of the harbor and we used the ships tenders to go ashore. If your images of Tahiti included the ones I mentioned above, then you won't be disappointed in Huahine. In otder for us to get an appreciation for Huahine, we booked the Huahine Island Highlights shore excursion.

First stop on our tour was at Fare Potee which is a chief's residence or gathering place of the community. It is built on the grounds of one of the larger Marae complexes on Huahine. A Marae is a sacred place which served both religious and social purposes in pre-Christian Polynesian societies.

We had free time to wander through the sacred grounds of the Marea temple. Adjacent to Fare Potee was a vanilla plantation.

Inside the little store, we were able to purchase vanilla beans and other Tahitian vanilla products. Make sure you check the customs regulations before purchasing vanilla to bring back home.

For more information about Tahitian vanilla, check out this site.

The next stop on our tour was Faei where the blue-eyed, freshwater eels live in the stream. A local native woman was walking in the water feeding the eels. They range in size from three to six feet in length. These eels, which are very well known, are considered to be sacred. They have a long history which you can learn more about from this site of unusual places to visit.

Our final stop on our highlights tour was at Belvedere Lookout
where we could enjoy panoramic views of the island, Maroe Bay, the lagoon, and of course the Tahitian Princess anchored in the bay.

The highlights tour was a good way to explore Huahine. The weather was perfect, making for a fabulous time. I've included a sampling of pictures from the tour here. See the rest of our pictures in our Huahine Highlights photo album.
Next time I'll take you to Rarotonga where our exploration of Tahiti continues under the sea as well as on land and water.

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