Papeete - Tahiti - Polynésie Française
We arrive in Papeete one day before our departure. The time zone magic. It is hot ! An enveloping and moist warmth that we feel as soon as we step outside of the airport. We booked a little airbnb to land softly and try and catch up on our delay to produce the articles and videos. So we arrive at Laurent's place.
He takes pity on us as we are trapped in our room working and takes us for our first snorkelling in PK18. Yes, places on the islands are located by their distance in km from a point zero, generally the city center of the main city. We discover, eyes wide with wonder, our first coral potatoes (that's how they're called in French) full of multicolored fishes. The visibility isn't that good because of the recent rainfall but we still enjoy it immensely.
During our snorkeling at PK18, we meet vaha and their crew, in polynesian canoes.
We go the the Tahiti market and discover gigantic avocados ! Paradise ! Unfortunately we go a lot to the Carrefour around the corner in order to get a phone number, find someone who sells us second heand snorkelling gear...etc.
We go several times in front of a tattoo parlour. After researching them, we realize they are in the top 20 of the world ! Our respective wishes to get one are waking up. We hesitate. Laurent shows us his own made over there. We think we could take the chance of being there to make this dream a reality. Soon, an appointment is taken for may (we are in February), we will do it just before leaving French Polynesia so that we have time to think it over beforehand and to enjoy the marine life here.
Papeete is a small and animated city which takes us back to the 90s in Paris, France. With the additional perks of being on the edge of the ocean, sunnier but with heavy rainfall episodes too. Laurent rents us his car which allows us to explore a bit the island. We drive to the south and discover a little local tin can maker which make a vanilla tuna tin which is pretty amazing as well as delicious lunch food. We continue to the famous big wave Taupo. We won't see it from up close as, as in most islands here, the waves break on the reef around the island, which create the blue turquoise lagoon, so one needs a boat to get to the wave. Instead we chose to walk along the coast.
We get a glimpse of a huge and long fish that winds along in the river bed. The local river god ? Apaprently there are sacred eels in Euahiné so why not on Tahiti ?
We take the chance of our few days working on the computers to contact various people that could be interesting for the Alterculteurs project. We receive a few answers. We are going to meet Laureline and her « Mon Fare Durable » (Fare = house / home, durable = sustainable) who is promoting homemade cleaning products which use non toxic ingredients and produce little waste, find out more about this here below. We also meet David and his non-profit « Objectif Terre » which experiments with super-adobe, a Californian technique of natural building, find out more here below. We make a short but great encounter with Philippe Darius at his place, he practices permaculture and contributes to its development in Tahiti by training people and with a non-profit project to create a permaculture garden for the community. We are very enthusiastic after these meetings, things are really moving in French Polynesia around ecology, agriculture and self-sufficiency.
Before leaving for Raiatea, we are strongly advised to go spend a few days in Moorea. We therefore board a big ferry for the best part of an hour and here we are on the little island of Moorea. We try to reach our airbnb, 2km from the ferry quay with all of our stuff on foot. It is hot!When we are nearly there, we meet our host who takes us into her car and brings us home.
The next we have booked a little touristic tour according the advice of one our previous airbnb host in Tahiti. We end up on a big polynesian canoe with « Elvis » who plays yukulélé and the captain who take us to discover the aquatic fauna of the lagoon. We are not disapointed ! We start with the lemon sharks, we then get a glimpse of several turtles in the ultramarine blue of the deeper waters of the lagoon, we stop on a shallow sand band in the middle of the lagoon and go meet the sting rays (which here give you moisty kisses instead of cutting your belly in half, rather nice!) and black tip sharks as well as a few trevallies which swimming around in the area.
We follow this with a snorkelling in a coral garden where the visibility is really good and enables us to appreciate how incredible the colours are, purple, rose,pearly and the fishes and the shells that are populating this area. Next stop, the motu (small island) for a lunch with the feet in the water. It will be raw red tuna prepared as a tartar in coconut milk and lemon with freshly gratted coco. It is absolutely delicious !
We finish our little stay on Moorea with a nigh in a little cosy bungalow in a rather classy hotel thanks to Tom's parents christmas gift. What a nice time ! There is a small quay that goes into the water so you can swim with the fishes right there. We make a tour of the island on the scooter to go see the lookouts, enjoy the fruit juices and cocktails from the local fruit juice factory, Rotui. It is said that the profile of the most beautiful mountain here is like the profile of a sleeping tahitian woman, a vahine. We can really see the beautiful giantess vahine lying in the ocean and which face comes out creating Moorea. The « pineapple island » as it is surnamed is a very pretty discovery and we are definitely under its charms.
Videos made during this time:
With Objectif Terre on super adobe
with Laureline on zero waste
Article FémininBio (French magazine) about zero waste with Laureline ICI