Last week we shared part of our Taha’a Island Tour with Vanilla Tours Taha’a at the organic vanilla farm. So, let me tell you about the rest of our fabulous day! If you missed part I visit “The Vanilla Bean Story”
QUIZ – WHAT IS THIS?
What do you think this is a photo of? Think hard…look at the shape and guess. I will give you a clue, all residents have to go to the Poste to pick up their mail so it is not a mailbox. See the answer in the photo caption.
After our amazing vanilla farm tour, we headed to Noah’s home and headquarters of Vanilla Tours Taha’a. They have spectacularly lush and colorful botanical garden across their entire property. It also includes a field of lime, banana, pomplemouse and grapefruit trees. Check out their open-air kitchen below.
Noah showed us a very unusual palm tree – check out the pitch form spread at the top – this is highly unusual
TAHA’A ISLAND VIEWS
Noah stopped along the way to let us take photos of the majestic views and to show us the local flora and fauna.
DO IT IF YOU DARE…
We stopped on the side of the road where Noah picked 8 stems with these little purple flowers on it. The flowers are edible. So we each, tentatively took a nibble and to our surprise they left a mushroom taste behind.
At another short stop he picked a fern type stem and handed it to each of us. We found that when you put the leaf on your skin, smacked it hard it left a lovely white tattoo behind. You have to look hard as it is faint, but it is there…I put it on my leg, but one of our companions put it on his forehead.
It is Heiva in French Polynesia which is the annual celebration. Each island holds different festivals which include dance, music and sporting competitions. The events include tossing a javelin at a coconut to see who hits the target, outrigger races, coconut shucking and more. While we were there, they were practicing shucking coconuts and filling baskets with hand shredded coconut meat. We caught the coconut competition on Taha’a Island.
TAHA’A RHUM DISTILLERY
Taha’a Island has its own distillery as well. This distillery not only makes rum, but they process sugar cane, tamanu oil, bug spray, coconut oil, vanilla beans (organic small scale), and coconut meat. We did a small rum tasting as we are not fans of “rhum” which is stronger and a bit bitter.
We also got to see them process coconut meat using a machine (as opposed to the people at the Heiva festival who were doing it by hand). See top 2 photos. Check out the hand drill used in churning the coconut meat (top right picture). The middle row shows the pure coconut water extracted from the meats. The bottom photo is their sugarcane processing. One bundle (bottom left) is about 1.5 tons and it takes 2 tons to fill each container. They use the sugar cane in their rhum and sell the rest.
There is a “stinky” fruit that we’ve seen in the Gambiers as well. It is called “NONI” and it is actually a great anti-oxidant. It boosts your immune system and helps you stay healthy longer. Locals will take a shot a day for 10 days, then take one week off before repeating the process. The noni is the 5th largest export from French Polynesia
After our tour, we packed up the boat and headed toward Riatea. Wayne’s clock is ticking and we wanted to show him a few more islands before he left. We stopped at Uturoa to fuel up and made use of our “duty free” certificate that we got from Tahiti Crew. Wow, it saved us over $300 in fuel! Sweet.
We were losing the light so we picked up a mooring ball right outside Uturoa (pronounced “ew-tuh-ew-roa”) for the night. A beautiful sunset danced across the sky over dinner.