Monday, June 30, 2008

This was taken June 19, the day after our 34th wedding anniversary
We are in paradise, for the past three days we have been anchored in a gorgeous spot. There is a sandy beach with palm trees, the water is that amazing light blue that you see when you have a white sand bottom and with crystal clear water. It is quiet and serene; if you listen carefully you can hear the waves crashing on the barrier reef. The reef is wonderful, it stops the ocean swells from entering the anchorage and so we have a flat calm spot that allows an uninterrupted sleep. Simply marvelous: we live in our bathing suits and if we get too hot we just dive in and cool off.
We went snorkeling yesterday and the coral was spectacular. I thought I was in the Finding Nemo movie when the Dad was showing Nemo how to hide in the coral. We would swim close to a coral head and all the tiny fish would disappear into the mass of coral, if you just hung there in the water and didn’t move, in a few moments all the colourful little fish would reappear. I had never seen so many different types and colours of coral, I wish I had an underwater camera to capture their beauty. We had seen the stuff that looks like brains before and it is not too exciting but here there are fans and branches and all sorts of other kinds and the colours were exquisite.
A couple of days ago we rented a car with Cathy and Brian from Tarun and toured Huahine. It was a great change of pace and it was super to share the day and the expense with good friends. The island has a number of ruins from ancient times and they had been written up quite well. Barry exclaimed at how thrilled he was to see yet another pile of old rocks but he did admit at the end of the day that there was quite a variety of ruins on the island.
It was our mission to explore every road and we almost managed. At one point we turned around because the road was just a soupy mix of slippery clay. We stopped and fed the fresh water eels at one point. They were pretty creepy and I was glad that they were 10 feet away in very shallow water with no way of touching us.

Vanilla is one of the crops on the island so we stopped with great anticipation at the sign that proclaimed “Vanilla Tour”. We all had visions of the last tour we had taken on the atoll of the pearl farm and what a wonderful experience that had been. We got out of the car and there was one man that was fixing some old piece of machinery in a barn like structure. He eventually acknowledged us and waved us over to a stand he had set up. There was a briefcase on the stand, with great fanfare he opened it and waved it under our noses. We all sniffed with great enthusiasm; there were about 10 packages of vanilla beans in the case. Then he took out a package and opened it and waved it under our noses. Then he said 1000 francs for a package and then pointed at a sign that indicated that you were supposed to remember your guide. THAT was the end of the tour, we were actually quite stunned. We couldn’t believe what had just happened to us and as we drove away one of the other of us would break out into a guffaw and snort out "vanilla tour"!!!!
We are going to head to Tahaa, which is and island just north of Raiatea. Tahaa and Raiatea are surrounded by the same reef. We will spend awhile there and then head on to Bora Bora. We will leave French Polynesia from Bora Bora and we have to be gone by July 19 and we want to be in Bora Bora for Bastille Day, (July 14, I think) which is a huge celebration down here.