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Raiatea & Taha’a, French Polynesia

2014 Hawai’i-French Polynesia cruise

March 4, 2014 – Tuesday – Raiatea & Taha’a, French Polynesia

My excursion this morning is called Land and Sea of Taha’a, which involves a boat ride from Raiatea where we are docked in Uturoa harbour, to Taha’a where we are picked up by 4X4 trucks and taken on a tour of a black pearl farm, and then a vanilla plantation.

Puffer fish - Offshore motu near Taha'a
Puffer fish – Offshore motu near Taha’a

Then we return to the boat and go to a motu for a swim and snorkel. I’m very impressed with the island of Taha’a. The roads are paved, the houses are neat and tidy, and the infrastructure is all there. This contrasts with Bora Bora, where they have dirt roads and everything is done in a haphazard way. The swimming and snorkelling is in shallow water, and I spot several Puffer fish – a first on this trip.

Sunset south of Bora Bora with palm trees on a motu from the westerly shore of Taha'a
Sunset south of Bora Bora with palm trees on a motu from the westerly shore of Taha’a

Our departure from Raiatea this afternoon is most interesting! Instead of leaving through the opening in the reef adjacent to the harbour that we entered through, the captain and pilot opt to take us on a scenic cruise between Raiatea and Taha’a, heading towards Bora Bora, but along the shoreline of Taha’a. A spectacular sunset occurs just south of Bora Bora as we sail away, and there are rain storms and huge cumulo-nimbus clouds to the west of us. We even see a funnel cloud appear out the bottom of a particularly large, dark cloud!

Map of my photos taken on Raiatea & Taha'a
Map of my photos taken on Raiatea & Taha’a

I had hoped to see a Green Flash as the Sun set this evening, but it was not to be. Despite this, I take some wonderful sunset photos, some including Bora Bora in the distance. The shoreline along Taha’a is absolutely stunning as we sail along in the early evening hours. It is a beautiful ending to a wonderful day, as I go back inside to get dressed for dinner.

Boats for hire in boat basin with Statendam docked behind Visitors Centre
Boats for hire in boat basin with Statendam docked behind Visitors Centre
Visitor Centre at the pier from above
Visitor Centre at the pier from above
Pierre on the bow as we start our boat ride to Taha'a
Pierre on the bow as we start our boat ride to Taha’a
Coconut drying in the Sun
Coconut drying in the Sun
Boats hoisted out of the water
Boats hoisted out of the water
College kids
College kids
Sign for Poerani Pearl farm
Sign for Poerani Pearl farm
Demonstrating how pearls are made using oysters
Demonstrating how pearls are made using oysters
Fruit snacks at the pearl farm
Fruit snacks at the pearl farm
Oyster shells in netting
Oyster shells in netting
Inlet where the pearl farm is located
Inlet where the pearl farm is located
Crab on the shoreline
Crab on the shoreline
Young Breadfruit
Young Breadfruit
Breadfruit blossom
Breadfruit blossom
Vanilla farmer explaining how vanilla beans are grown
Vanilla farmer explaining how vanilla beans are grown
Dried vanilla beans
Dried vanilla beans
Plumeria
Plumeria
Star fruit
Star fruit
School of blue fish and one yellow fish in the coral
School of blue fish and one yellow fish in the coral
Puffer fish
Puffer fish
Taha'a across the lagoon from Raiatea
Taha’a across the lagoon from Raiatea
A Tahitian woman, 2 dogs and 2 kids watch the ship pass from a fisherman's shack
A Tahitian woman, 2 dogs and 2 kids watch the ship pass from a fisherman’s shack
A Tahitian woman, 2 dogs and 2 kids watch the ship pass from a fisherman's shack
A Tahitian woman, 2 dogs and 2 kids watch the ship pass from a fisherman’s shack
A fishing shack on Taha'a with Raiatea behind
A fishing shack on Taha’a with Raiatea behind
A couple of cute houses on the shoreline of Taha'a
A couple of cute houses on the shoreline of Taha’a
Bright orange boathouse and fishing shack
Bright orange boathouse and fishing shack
The south coast of Taha'a, with a coconut grove and lovely beach
The south coast of Taha’a, with a coconut grove and lovely beach
A church on the point as we round the south shore of Taha'a
A church on the point as we round the south shore of Taha’a
Glowing sunset to the west with Bora Bora on the horizon
Glowing sunset to the west with Bora Bora on the horizon
Rain storm and clouds as the sun sets
Rain storm and clouds as the sun sets
A resort on the west shore of Taha'a with Bora Bora looming behind
A resort on the west shore of Taha’a with Bora Bora looming behind
A sailboat shelters in a bay as the Sun sets south of Bora Bora
A sailboat shelters in a bay as the Sun sets south of Bora Bora
Funnel cloud forming from a thunder cloud
Funnel cloud forming from a thunder cloud
Sunset south of Bora Bora with palm trees on a motu
Sunset south of Bora Bora with palm trees on a motu
Sunset south of Bora Bora and a funnel cloud to the north (right)
Sunset south of Bora Bora and a funnel cloud to the north (right)
Sunset south of Bora Bora with palm trees on a motu
Sunset south of Bora Bora with palm trees on a motu
Sunset south of Bora Bora with huge storm clouds along the horizon
Sunset south of Bora Bora with huge storm clouds along the horizon