Blogs from Raiatea, French Polynesia, Oceania

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Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea November 4th 2019

I would never have imagined there's a backpacker trail of sorts through the islands of French Polynesia, but the multi-island flight packages offered by Air Tahiti ensure travellers continue to bump in to each other. For me this has always encapsulated the magic of travel, and to see friends you have a genuine connection with in multiple locations helps solidify the special bond that only comes from getting out and exploring the world. I have to admit it was with a degree of sadness I prepared to bid goodbye to my travel friends in Moorea after our unforgettable adventures together, however after some preliminary discussions we began to realise this is a special crew. So it was off to Air Tahiti, and before you could say voila we rearranged itineraries for a second week of island ... read more
Town in Huahine
Flags in Huahine
Restaurants by the harbour

Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea April 25th 2019

‘Travelling’s not something you’re good at. It’s something you do. Like breathing’.– Gayle Foreman It is traditional for the cabin stewards on cruise ships be skilful in the art of towel origami. These usually take the form of an animal such as monkey, dog, peacock etc and use a combination of bath towel, hand towels and face cloths to sculpt a shape to resemble the desire animal. Using a set of wobbly eyes brings the sculpture to life. Whilst we have only experienced a handful of these fun images during our ten years of cruising, on this cruise, Holland America have provided a different animal each night. We learned that each cabin steward has to be proficient in at least seven different animals and it should take no longer than one and a half ... read more
A colomial syled building of Raiatea
Jean Marc boutique - Utorea in Raiatea
Examples of frescos - Raiatea

Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea September 28th 2018

I'd read that most people skip Raiatea because it isn't known for white sand beaches, but I'm really glad I included it. It reminded me a little bit of Kauai with mountains with huge/dramatic cliffs, waterfalls everywhere, and more green that I think I've ever seen. It's also the site of the Taputapuatea marae - maraes are old religious/political sites where the living interacted with ancestors/gods - this complex was once considered the central temple and religious center of Eastern Polynesia, and was recently made an UNESCO world heritage site. A separate island, Tahaa, sits right next door to Raiatea and shares the same lagoon - Tahaa is well known for it's production of vanilla beans (vanilla is an orchid, and apparently a moody/high maintenance one).... read more
Sunset - the tiny rock in the distance on the right is Bora Bora
Raiatea
Raiatea

Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea June 1st 2015

It rained today in Raiatea. Oh you’ve read that line before? Thankfully it was intermittent and we were able to enjoy all our activities more or less. Once we were all seated in the small outrigger, we were on our way across a lagoon to a vanilla farm and its basic operation and it is pretty basic. Pollinate by hand, pick them, wash, heat in the sun, wrap them up inside to get them to evaporate the water, and massage. Is it any wonder vanilla is so expensive. Off to a pearl farm where we had a pretty quick demonstration of how the oyster is grafted to create a larger pearl. Then inside to see the finished product and make sales. No sale here. Finally we get to go snorkeling. The captain throws out some kind ... read more
Vanilla Beans
View From the Vanilla Farm
Oyster Farm

Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea January 17th 2014

January 17, 2014 Today we visited Raiatea, French Polynesia. We took a small group tour by Land Rover jeep to see the highlights of this small island. The tour took us along the coast and then into the heart of the island ( actually the middle of the crater from the volcano that created Raiatea ) into the lush forest. Visited a farm that produces Vanilla in the wild. Most is grown in “ green houses “. Some beautiful views of the surrounding mountains that form the walls of the crater. There is a very small population on this island and a very small village at the dock where we left the ship. There is a hospital here that supports a few of the surrounding islands and schools up to High School. University must be taken ... read more
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Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea January 12th 2014

Saturday, December 14, 2013. Another day at sea. In the morning Dee Dee and I drop by a culinary demonstration by the executive chef, who, as it turns out, is a bit of a stand-up comic. This is especially promising because we’re going to the chef’s dinner on the 16th when we’re docked in Bora Bora. Now we’re looking forward to it even more. In the afternoon we have wine tasting. Dee Dee tries the reds and I sip the whites. The after-dinner desert wine is especially yummy and I get mine and hers. In the evening I listen to a jazz ensemble. Really really good musicians. But I don’t make it down for the show which Dee Dee tells me later was a lot of fun. Oh well. Sunday, December 15, 2013. Seeing double. It’s ... read more
Raiatea Harbor
Pearl Farmer
Black-pearl Oyster farm

Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea June 30th 2013

Raiatea, French Polynesia Snorkeling 6 24 13 Bora Bora co nhieu beaches nhung o day khong co mot beach nao. Raiatea la hon dao lon thu nhi sau Tahiti va cach Bora Bora khoang 15miles di tau mat khoang 2 tieng va di may bay mat 15’. Dao nay be ngang khoang 10km chieu dai khoang 16km va co chu vi khoang 98km. co 3,500 dan song o day mat dau dat rong den170 sq km. Toi muon xe de di quanh dao. O day co nhieu noi cho muon xe khong nhu o Bora Bora chi co 1 noi nen o Raiatea muon xe re hon, khoang $70/ngay. Nhu da noi o nday khong co bai bien bu lai o day co nhieu coral rat dep de snorkel. Vi the ma sangt toi thuc day ... read more
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Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea March 19th 2012

Raiatea is the second largest of the Society Islands (Tahiti is the largest), but only has about 12,000 residents. It is also thought that Raiatea was where the Polynesians that settled Hawaii and New Zealand originated. The traditional name for the island is Havai'i, which is spelled exactly how Hawaiians say 'Hawaii'. I did not have a lot of time to explore the island, but to make the most of it, I found a guide who takes people on stand-up paddleboard excursions up the Faaroa River, which is the only 'navigable' river in all of French Polynesia. I say 'navigable' because the river is very shallow, for the most part only a couple of feet deep. There is hardly any current, or rather, there was hardly any current--I imagine it could be quite different in a ... read more
SUP 2
Jungle
Downstream

Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea November 22nd 2011

The trip, my time on the Mata Fenua, is past the halfway point and I am already sad thinking about the end. Today the weather was not the greatest. It is hard to say the weather was bad, but it was cloudy, actually a welcome relief for my skin. (Side note: So we have many idioms where the translation does not make sense. The first one that comes to mind is “raining cats and dogs.” The French also have these, my new favorite is “Un coup de soleil.” Which means sunburn. Literal translation is hit, or punched, by the sun.) Yesterday evening ended quickly after we had finished dinner, it was a long day and we were all tired from the sun and the many activities. I was able to wake up early for sunrise, but ... read more
Madame de la Ferme
Class on Vanilla Production
Vanilla Farm

Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea November 19th 2011

When I left you I was ready to leave the bungalow and do something productive. I decided that I would walk to the grocery store, have I mentioned how effing expensive everything is here? Crazy expensive. Anyway, I decided to pick up some dinner and a few other provisions, so I made the fifteen minute walk into the town. After returning to the bungalow I made myself a sandwich and drank a couple of the local beers, Hinano Tahiti, while I watched the sun set. I had a long day and was feeling like I could just go to bed, but when I looked at my watch I found that it was only seven o’clock. There was a happy hour going that changed from having a Polynesian band to having a full traditional Polynesian show. I ... read more
Local beer
Raiatea in the morning light
Locals weaving leas




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