Having spent a few days at Moorea, we woke up early to get underway at the crack of dawn. We wanted to get to Tetiaroa as soon as possible. If we couldn’t stay overnight due to swells, then we wanted to spend as much time there as possible before sailing overnight off to Huahine. The sail across was hard on the nose but just 10-12 knots so it was all good. Approaching the island and it is low, more like the atolls of the Tuamotus. There is no break in this atoll and the lagoon is far too shallow for a yacht anyway, but there is a resort there now and they have boats cruising the lagoons. I believe they have also created a shallow entrance in the reef north of the resort which is on the south-west corner. The island is made up of lots of smaller islands around the edge and reef links them all.
We anchored off an island called Rima Tuu. There are several moorings close in, we took one further out as a small swell was rolling in. Day trips used to come from Tahiti and I’ve heard stories of the tenders going up over the reef to land people on the beach. There was no way we were going to try that, it looked very dangerous. The reef literally dried as the wave cleared, even at high tide. As we picked up the mooring a grey reef shark swims by in the perfectly deep blue water. It was a good sign. I love the color of the water in these sparsely inhabited places. Deep blue ocean waters meeting the reef and you have the perfect recipe for a great dive. I checked out the site by snorkeling and then we had lunch before taking on the diving.
The reef is O.K, nothing special but as a dive, there was one section that made the diving truly awesome. You are diving along the wall and then all of a sudden you see a crack in the reef and the whole area has swim throughs, caves and the contours are amazing. Hidden in caves are sharks sleeping and lots of soldier fish. We did three dives with the kids snorkeling above us with whoever sat out each dive. The biggest issue with the diving was that there were so many really beautiful shells that locals had already taken the animal out of. So what is the problem? They were scattered on the bottom and I loaded up on one dive so much that it was a struggle to surface. But those shells are now boiled and bleached and will come up beautifully when I clean them up when we get home. The issue was choosing which ones to take and leave. It was like treasure hunting.
With the swell rolling through and with the kids suffering from a little nausea, we decided to sail overnight to Huahine so they could sleep for the trip. It was really light but we set off just before sunset and it was a pretty simple sail across with the motor on most of the time to make our eta early morning. As the sun rose we had rounded the southern point of Huahine and we were on a mooring near Fare by 0900. We checked out town before cruising down to Mt Teapaa again where we did the walks and enjoyed the beaches. Joakim and I even tried our hand at spearfishing, except we never saw anything of size, let alone a good eating fish. In our entire time in the Societies, we never caught a fish or saw anything worth eating. It is so over-fished and in Fare they had strings full of fish that they were selling and it had juvenile cods and dory’s on it. I would only call them fish fingers, they had no meat on them. They should consider a marine sanctuary somewhere so the reef fish can recover. Closing an area for 5 years would allow the fish to breed and multiply. They would spread outside the area and everyone would be happy, however they want fish and they want them now so they haven’t done this.
One thing they have done however is to put in moorings in some regions. They are going to ban anchoring in these regions and only allow anchoring on a sand patch south of the main entrance. Personally I believe this is good as it will allow the reef to recover. Anchors do a lot of damage as the chain swings over the reef. I know a lot of cruisers want to anchor as it is free, however we all love to snorkel and some of us dive and moorings are a great way to preserve the reef. The cost of the moorings is only XPF1500 so about US$12 a night. Well worth it in my opinion.
One thing we did manage to get done in Huahine was Annika introduced the kids to diving. They can only go to 2m but they both got into it so much. They were natural divers and they wanted more and more. Joakim finished his open water dive certification and I took Maja for a night dive to see the reef come alive with flat head lobsters, scorpion fish and sleeping parrot fish in their little cocoon they create to sleep in. Night diving is a real favorite of mine and our dive torches from LED Dive Lights Australia really light up the water. Annika says she could do the surface watch from the big boat as the lights lit up the water for a huge area. They certainly did a great job under the water.
One thing that did spoil our stay in Huahine on this occasion was a superyacht called Vantage. We had seen it in Tahiti and it is just a big Sunseeker like yacht for my liking, nothing flash NB: I hate stink boats. Well they came and anchored off Mt Teapaa just off to the side of our sunset view. No issues there. However they have this 40ft black luxury speedboat that follows it and with two of the crew in it, they cruise around at high speed throwing up a huge wake through the moorings. It’s not a very efficient boat through the water. We had our stern port holes open as we were making water. The wake put a fair amount of water in the back of our boat. Needless to say, I was not happy so I went and had a chat to them.
They are meant to be professional but the crew member driving had no idea. The fact the hostess who was in the boat was almost laughing didn’t impress me. Well this is not the worst part of this story. They have a boat that follows them called Ad-Vantage. It is the toybox, bigger than the first boat which is probably 140ft. It looks like a navy ship and is loaded with all the wakeboard boats, jetski’s and even a Submarine. Well they are so arrogant, they anchor right in front of the sunset for the three small yachts on the moorings. They had so much water to anchor in and they park in a spot that spoils our sunset view. With their gensets running and making a whole heap of noise it was pretty annoying. Sometimes I think the rich just don’t have any morals. However this is a crew thing and their crew should have a bit of respect for other water users. They’d hate it done to them with their rich clients or owners so why do it to smaller boats. Rant over.
But let’s not leave you on a sour note, all in all, Huahine is a beautiful place. The locals really care about you as a visitor and the guy who owns Mt Teapaa says they want to use his land for a huge resort and marina on the north side but he likes to keep it natural and have the few smaller boats visit, like us. It is better for his land and they are the people who buy his necklaces and actually talk to him. Sometimes life is meant to be simple and for him, he liked it simple. Paddle from home to his beach every morning, clean the beach, collect a few star fruit, crack a few coconuts for visitors, sell a few necklaces, show a few people the walks and then paddle home. What a life!
We spent two days in Huahine just chilling out and snorkeling. The kids loved the water, it seemed to energise them. However we needed to keep moving and getting away from the super yachts was on the agenda.
In our next edition we head back to Raiatea and Tahaa with the family.
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