Our friends Mark and Isabel on Jolly Dogs have been hanging out with us near Taha’a. This is their first time here so we decided to show them the coral gardens and the local rhumerie. Isabel and I did the drift snorkel three times while Matt flew the drone.
Coral Gardens Drift Snorkel
The coral gardens are the most renowned snorkeling spots in the Society islands. It is crystal clear, turquoise waters gently running from the Pacific Ocean to the Taha’a/Raiatea lagoon. It is also called a “false pass” because water can get in and out but boats cannot due to the shallow nature. In some places the gardens are only 1-2” above the coral while other places you can easily float by. The current generally comes from the Pacific and pushes out toward the lagoon allowing tourists to drift snorkel over the coral gardens.
Matt took these photos with the drone. The first photo is facing the Pacific and Bora Bora. The second photo is the opposite direction facing the lagoon. The bottom photo shows my friend Isabel and I walking to the end of the motu.
Here are some more drone shots. The top is closer to the lagoon showcasing the Taha’a Resort. The bottom photo shows Isabel and I drifting down the gardens.
Lots of amazing sea life. My favorites are the clown fish and puffers. I’ve written a lot of posts about the Coral Gardens so be sure to read those as well. Use the search function on the blog by typing “coral gardens.”
These drone shots give you the entire picture of the drift snorkel. First, you walk toward the pacific on Ilot Mahararae (top photo), then you drift down the gardens (2nd photo), then you walk out and repeat (bottom photo). Isabel and I are in each of the 3 photos – can you find us?
Mana’o Tahiti – Rhumerie
After our snorkel we moved the big boats to Baie Tapuamu which is directly across from Ilot Tautau. It is Mar’s birthday and he wanted to celebrate at the rhumerie. The Mana’o Tahiti Rhumerie is a small wood structure that was built about a year ago. It is super cute and quaint. I love their mask sign.
Anaise started us off with a sugar cane tasting. Who doesn’t like sucking on sugar cane? As we were enjoying our sugar cane, she told us that Taha’a has 12 different types of sugar cane on the island. They distill each variety separately then blend them together to make their rhum (yes it has an “h” in it as it is different than rum). All of their rhum is agriculture rhum and made with pure sugar cane, not molasses. Which, in my opinion is not nearly as tasty.
Behind the rhumerie they have 7 of the 12 sugar cane for viewing. It was really cool to see the difference in color of the stock, shape of the stock and growth of the stock.
Wine, Rhum, and Beer Tasting
We sampled the white wine next which was very dry, but ok. I really wanted to try the rose and Mark wanted to try the red, but they would only open on bottle of wine for sampling 🙁
Next we moved on to the rhum tasting. Afterall we are at a rhumerie and need to taste the rhum. They have a white rhum and a dark rhum. The white rhum was very harsh and difficult to consume. The dark rhum is aged for one year in an oak barrel which gives it the brown color. Both rhums are organic and received the first ever “organic rhum” rating in the world.
The sugar cane is grown, picked and distilled in Taha’a. But the fermentation and bottling process happens in Tahiti.
The last sampling was of their local craft beer. They had blanch, blonde, amber, and triple. We tried the blanche and amber were pleasantly surprised. Not bad for 380 xpf per bottle.
After a quick trip to the boat we headed to Jolly Dogs for a birthday dinner. I made a chocolate cake, homemade mango salsa, and fresh lemon cubes (mojitos). Even the sun was celebrating Mark’s birthday with a gorgeous shot.