Next on our Society Island itinerary is the beautiful island of Taha’a, it actually lies within the same protective coral reef as its larger sister island Raiatea and they may even have been a single island many moons ago.
We had a wonderful sail from Huahine in glorious sunshine and a settled sea, entering the reef pass on the eastern side in good light mid-afternoon, then we sailed around the southern shore of Taha’a in between the two islands. Raiatea looked busy, so many yacht masts in one place! As our Pacific crossing clock is ticking we decided to stop at just one of these islands, and Taha’a being smaller and quieter we opted for the slower pace of life as always.
One late afternoon stroll along the shoreline of Apu Bay (where we were the only boat anchored in the whole of the huge bay, maybe because it was 20-30 metres deep) Jez spotted an octopus in the shallow water. We watched for a few minutes as he scouted around the rocks perhaps looking for his dinner, then he suddenly propelled himself away into the deep. What a wonderful sighting!
One reason for coming to Taha’a was to snorkel the ‘Coral Gardens’ a shallow area in between two motus where the currents can be quite strong, but it’s full of coral and friendly fish. We had a few gloomy rainy days while we were on the island, so late one afternoon when the sun finally showed itself as it dropped beneath the clouds, we grabbed the opportunity and whizzed over in the dinghy. It was busy with snorkelers when we arrived as there is a popular hotel complex on one of the motus, and after walking a short trail on the smaller uninhabited motu we entered the water on the seaward side and got carried back by the current into the lagoon. It was a little like being on a fast conveyor belt whizzing over some very shallow corals and lots of pretty tropical fish. It was amusing negotiating the maze created by the coral under full speed. We managed to find a couple of spots with less current tucked up behind some larger coral where we could hang around and enjoy being in a tropical fishtank. The fish were so friendly I even had my ankles nibbled at!
The sunsets here were beautiful with the majestic outline of Bora Bora visible in the distance, this will be our next stop and our last in French Polynesia.