The coming week we check out Papeete’s ship chandlers and harware stores. We start early on Saturday morning, take the bus from the Marina Taina to town and walk from store to store until noon, when everybody closes for the weekend.
By accident we see a group of Ukulele players in a bar across the market, that’s a sign to take a break, have a beer and enjoy the musik. While in the beginning there are only 3 guys playing we watch more and more join in with their instruments and count a maximum of 12 musicians.
On Sunday we profit to wash the laundry, take up water with our 5 to 10 liter bottles and do a hike up the hill through the villas of Taina.
Then we continue our search, especially for a generator and finally decide on a chinese product from Kipor that we purchase at Polynesie Marine. Lately we had to run our engines so often to produce energy, we really have enough of that now.
By accident we also come across the company Solarcom, where we find two Sunpower solar panels, exactly the ones Reto wanted to have since the beginning (but which weren’t available at that moment in Turkey). The price is without tax and customs and therefore quite a bit cheaper than in Europe, so we decide also to get them.
Since they measure 1.50 times 1 meter we feel uncomfortable about transporting them with our dinghy, so we head up into the Marina Papeete in order to get them on board.
The next hours we demount the old ones and mount the new ones and in the evening everything is working again, just with 30% more efficiency on the same surface.
Glimse into Papeete night life
Then finally we can enjoy Papeete, we eat with our friends at the roulottes, movable restaurants, that install themselves every evening and offer their specialities. Afterwards we have a beer at the bar in the corner, listening to poynesian Karaoke songs and watching a rugby play New Zealand against England.
Buying our Tahitian Ukulele
The next morning we have a last walk through town, just for fun and having in mind to maybe buy an Ukulele. We check prices and qualities in 4 different stores but are not happy with either of them. In the last music shop a customer helps to tune the Ukulele they have and play a short song for us. We still don’t like it and give up the project.
Around the next corner we meet Vaihana who is selling Ukuleles on the street. She immediately tells us that what she has are not souvenirs, they are not so pretty, but they are instruments.
While Reto starts to tune and to play, her son comes and joins him, then the customer of the shop we’ve just been to, we find out that he is Vaihana’s husband 😉 The three of them play a few songs and have a lot of fun, Reto likes the quality and the price is also ok. We are happy that we have in the end found our Ukulele!
Heiva Festival in Papeete
On Saturday evening we have cards for the Heiva Festival in Papeete thanks to the Pandora.
Heiva is a festival every year in July where several traditional dance and singing groups compete with each other. We watch the first group singing and the first group dancing and during the break we agree that is is nice, but a bit boring still.
Then we arrive back on our seats while the second group is startting to perform and our mouths remain open for the remaining performance. The faces are all enthusiastic, the movements of the women’s hips incredibly fast, the choreography which the more than 100 men and women follow is amazing.
Time to explore Moorea
The next morning we have to say good bye to our friends, we move on to Moorea, which is only a short sail from Tahiti. We pass the famous and beautiful Cook’s bay and find an anchor space close to the reef in the also beautiful Opunohu bay. Interesting, that Cook anchored here first, not in the Cook’s Bay.
The water is clear, the view of the bay and the sourrounding peaks of the mountains is sensational and there is even a tiny dinghy dock, where we can land without getting the feet wet.
This is helpful, because the next two days we profit and take out our mountain bikes in order to explore the north side of Moorea.
We get to know the main road up and down and find many mountain bike paths through pinapple plantations and up to the Belvedere view point with a beautiful view on both of the bays and the mountain Rotui in between them.
We also visit the Rotui juice factory, unfortunately it is not “pineapple production day” and we only see the filly of the juice packs.
When we find a pack of pinapples in the super market our capacity in carrying fruit on our bikes is challenged as I already have the backback full with passion fruit that I found on the side of the road.
Therefore Reto loads the 5 pinapples on his handle bar bag and after a few trails manages to drive straight without loosing them.
Snorkeling with rays and sharks
On our last morning we visit at 8 am the spot where the sting rays and sharks are fed for the tourists. A bit skeptical in the beginning, we also get into the water with our snorkeling gear and find ourselves in 1.3 m deep of water withing many sting rays, a few sharks and many tourists…
From Moorea to Huahine
Afterwards we start on to an 88 mile overnight sail to Huahine. There is little wind from Southeast in the beginning but a large swell from Southwest, which results in quite a uncomfortable wave system and my normally robust stomach is not so happy. In the night the wind picks up and we arrive at 8 am.
Quattorze Julliet (French National Holiday)in Huahine
Punctually at 9 am we sit in the dinghy in order to join the festivities of the 14 th of July, the french national holiday.
It also starts immediately with the parade of the former soldiers, the police and fire brigade, the scouts and many clubs and folkloric groups.
All of them wear their uniforms and parade to great the important people on the stage and then make place for the next group.
After a short speach, the hissing of the flags and the national and local hymns comes the competition of the fruit carriers. First come the ladies, then the men. They have to pick up their fruit on a pice of wood and then run for about a kilometer and back. The differences are quite large and some of them return back quite exhausted..
Then the official part is over and the lady mayor invites everyone to the cocktail offered by the “Marie”, the town council.
We expect quite some chaos, and too many people standing in a queue but decide to have a look.
We find 20 tables full with lokal food made by the grandmothers of the districts who distribute to everyone including the tourists.
We taste some excellent poisson cru and fafa (cooked taro leaves) with chicken together with mandioc and taro and eat it out of the banana leaf with our fingers. To finish we get a coconut and fruit and in the end even some more to take home.
It is not even noon and we are happy and well fed and absolutely amazed by the friendliness of these women.
In the evening we are punctually at happy hour in the Huahine yacht club, a restaurant right on the excellent dinghy dock. There is polynesian live music, a one man entertainer makes the people move to the dance floor and it doesn’t take long until we also join.
The next morning we check out the village, but it is Saturday, at noon everything is closed, apart from the large Super U supermarket which is open until Sunday noon. We immediately like this supermarket, it has a great choice (polynesian prices..) but also some quite good offers.
Heiva in Huahine
In the evening we meet again for happy hour but while the others continue with getting some food, Reto, myself and Anja from the Robusta hitchhike to the festival site of the Heiva Huahine.
We want to see this, that’ s why we hurried up to come here so quickly. We are already late, but the costume designer who gave us a ride shows us where to get tickets, we sit down and off goes the show.
The decoration of the stage is very natural with a lot of greens and even two water fall and the floor is sand.
We like the more family like atmosphere, the costumes from more natural components and the wild dances of the men and the gracefulness of the women, no matter how much they carry on their hips.
We feel a couple of hunderts of years back in a time where eventually some of the foreigners would have been placed in the pots over fire…
On the way back a family takes us in their pickup truck. Only the moment I get off the truck I see that the father is a police officer. I thank him gratefully and have to smile, since taking people on pickup trucks usually is forbidden in French Polynesia ;-).
Back in town we cannot see Thomas or the dinghy of the Robusta, so we take Anja back to the boat. There we find 4 dinghies, so the party is running on the Robusta. We join in and thanks to the Pisco Sour and Caipirinha from Anja we have such a good sleep that we miss the church next morning.
In the evening we go to the last evening of the Heiva, the winners are singing and dancing once again, we enjoy it, but in the end we feel that we have seen it now often enough as well.
Now it is time to do some hiking and biking and to get to know the island.