Huahine is the French Polynesian island overlooked by most tourists – at least that’s what it felt like to us. The main town of Fare is a lovely sleepy spot with only its city sized supermarket indicating greater things. It was almost as big and probably better than Papeete’s Carrefour and was a fantastic place to buy fresh tuna – especially given that our efforts at fishing on the overnight sail from Moorea had been fruitless. We hooked a huge mahimahi at sunset (our favourite time to fish) only to see it lost to a shark.
With friends Chick and Pete Anderson on board we were keen to eat as much fresh fish as possible…luckily fresh tuna is readily available and dirt cheap here – $8 kg. Chick is a fantastic cook so we were completely spoilt and have feasted on tuna tartare with olive oil and capers, tuna in fresh coconut milk with lime and coriander, seared with sesame seeds and delicious barbecued tuna.
We headed to the south west of Huahine to the gorgeous Baie Avea – a safe anchorage to shelter from forecast bad weather. It was calm and idyllic with just a few other cruising boats. The resort ashore seemed very quiet – unlike the bustling ones in Papeete and Moorea – and with low key beachfront bungalows rather than overwater burres. It was a great spot to have sundowners on the sandy beach with fellow cruisers The Southern Cross, Outsider, Island Fling, Bangarang and La Rochelle.
Baie Avea was a good place to sit out the low that resulted in a few hours of torrential rain. We filled our water tanks in minutes and managed to give the decks a good scrub. The wonderful thing about French Polynesia is there is little change in temperature…even when it’s cloudy and wet it’s still warm. We enjoyed some magical snorkelling spotting lots of “nemo” (clown fish) hiding in the anemones. Some arm twisting resulted in David taking the bikes ashore and we had some lovely rides. Huahine is called the Garden of Eden for good reason; the vegetation ashore is lush with tropical fruit and flowers everywhere – mango, banana, pineapple, breadfruit, hibiscus, frangipani and of course, the ubiquitous coconut palm.
Once the weather lifted we headed back up to Fare stopping for a snorkel on the way. In Fare we went to happy hour at the waterfront bar and met up with Outsider for a good strong rum punch then opted to dine local style at the roulottes. Roulottes are caravans on the street where locals serve up all manner of dishes. We opted for fish and the plate came piled high with frites on top of which sat three huge tuna steaks. Digging around underneath we found delicious poisson cru and potato salad. It was a fine feast and a fitting way to end our time in Huahine. Next day we set out for Taha’a and caught up with friends Chris and Sara for a fun dinner on their catamaran Tulu. Our stay on Taha’a was brief (we plan to return) as a good northerly breeze came up. With BoraBora beckoning we took advantage of it to head there.