Tag Archives: huahine

Steve at rock the barge

Rock the Barge

We often hear locals strumming on their Uke or practicing on their drums and it draws us like bees to flowers.  However, it is rare to attend a music gig or concert outside of a heiva, especially during covid.  So, we jumped at the chance to attend “rock the barge” with a few locals and cruisers.

Steve, on Liward, is a very talented guitar player and singer.  He has been playing and putting on mini concerts with locals all over French Polynesia.  He invited Frank who owns the shell museum (see this post) who is a percussionist, and Terani to sing and play guitar.

Now, all they needed was a venue.  Typically, they play at the Huahine yacht club.  However, with covid restrictions we could not “gather” there.  However, there is a local family, Teiki and Tea, who have a beautiful house boat.  They have sailed it all around French Polynesia (by spinnaker).  They graciously offered their vessel for rock the barge!

A Polynesian House Boat

This remarkable house boat looks like a party barge as you approach. We had seen it around several islands. We approached it once hoping to buy a drink.  However, we quickly learned it was “prive” and went on our merry way.  They have a large engine and a spinnaker that helps maneuver the vessel from anchorage to anchorage.

Several large solar panels and a small generator provide power.  Everything looks authentically Polynesian and several varieties of local wood are used all around the boat.

Teiki and Tea's home

Teiki and Tea’s home

They have an open floor plan where the galley and salon are out back.  The helm is in the front, sleeping quarters are upstairs and below the sleeping quarters is a living / storage area.

They have a baby goat, an old rabbit, a cat and soon a chicken onboard.

They used a piece of bamboo for their herb garden and have beautiful Polynesian art all over the boat.  Can you guess what the rock like item is in the middle photo?  See answer at end of the blog.

They also had a beautiful, fast outrigger that they hand built over many months!  It was gorgeous sailing across the lagoon toward our anchorage.

Rock the Barge

It was time to rock the barge!  Steve had set up all the gear, did the sound check at 1700, and the festivities begin at 1800.  The main band consisted of Steve (left) lead guitar and singer, Frank on percussion and Terani on guitar and co-lead singer.

They had Teiki (the owner of the barge) fill in on harmonica on many songs and we had a guest appearance by Puamu who sang an amazing rendition of an Adel song!

We should have been better at social distancing, but considering there are zero cases of covid in Huahine we thought we were safe.  Hopefully.  There were about 20-25 people on the barge and another 12 people in the dinghies.  I love the local ladies’ flowers; they just enhanced their natural beauty.

A few of the dinghy crowd.  Tope is Linette and Neils (Storm Along) and Floris and Ivar (Luci Para 2).  Below is Dave and Jan (Hanna) and Ramon and his wife (Nawom)

Somehow, I was blessed with a crown and a floral leigh at the end of the night – perfect ending to a perfect concert.  I love Rock the Barge nights.

ANSWER:  The rock like item is an anchor.  A line is tied around the top portion, then it is tossed in the water and holds their barge in place.

Events from this blog occurred on 18 October 2020.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind our adventures.

Shell Museum in Huahine

Huahine Shell Museum

Frank, the owner of Expo Coquillages (Shell Expo) or the Shell museum. He has spent 38 years collecting precious sea shells from the beach.  He has built an amazingly, organized, educational, shell museum next to his house for Huahine visitors. 

Frank has spent the last 38 years collecting and expanding on his private shell collection.  80-90% of the shells in his museum come from the beaches of Huahine and Rangiroa. He does not collect them from the sea as he does not want to kill the inhabitants for their shells.  His museum is small, but extremely well organized.  Each group of shells is in a numbered box with an index that gives their name.  In many instances. He has photos of the shell with its inhabitant.

Shell Museum Tour

Frank starts off by talking about conch shells which are both beautiful and deadly.  A “real” conch shell has an opening from the top to the bottom of the shell.  That’s how you can differentiate a conch from another similar shell.  99% of all conch shells open to the right.  Meaning if you hold a conch with the pointy part down, the opening will be to the right (top photo).  Only one type of conch shell opens to the left and they are rare (bottom photo). One in a million will open in the opposite direction for both of these types of shells.

Conch shells opening to the right

Conch shells opening to the right

Deadly Conchs

Many of these conch shells are poisonous and or deadly when they are alive.  They cause 2-3 deaths per year (similar to a shark).  But honestly who wants to admit they were killed by a small sea shell compared to a shark?  Which is why you don’t hear much about these types of deaths.

The interesting thing is that these conch shells are afraid and will retreat when threatened.  They don’t try to kill or injure humans.  It is the curiosity and greed of humans that get’s them stung.  Humans see the shells in the sea, pick them up, put them in their pocket and whamo – they get stung.  The shells cause paralysis within 2 hours and then death.  They are 32x more deadly than the cobra and there is no vaccine.

The Conch Anatomy

The conch has a snout that protrudes from the shell that does the “investigating”.  When he is in danger, he jets out his stinger under the snout.  It is so fast that you can’t see it with the naked eye.  They can sting multiple times, like a bee.  When trying to capture prey, the shell will extend its snout, then sting a fish and open its mouth to bring it to him.  Sometimes it will open its mouth so wide that it collects multiple fish.  When that happens, it stings the fish while inside his mouth (see lower right image).

Deadly Conch

Deadly Conch

These look like conch shells, but they are not.  The opening does not extend from the top to the bottom.

Shells that look like conch shells, but are not.

Shells that look like conch shells, but are not.

The conch shell grows with its inhabitant.  It is not like a hermit crab where they change shells.  These little guys are nocturnal and hide during the day.  By the time they reach the beach they are dead and can be collected and admired.

Shells, Shells, and More Shells

Frank has a gorgeous collection of over 500 different types of shells. Unfortunately, most of his presentation was in French so I had to rely on Floris to translate bits and pieces for me.  I am sure I missed a lot of the information, but I was enthralled with the beauty of the shells none the less.

And more beautiful shells

I loved seeing many of my favorite shells at this shell museum.  He had several varieties of sand dollars (I have 4 of the 5 shown in the middle picture.  I’d love to get the one in the lower left corner but have never seen one like this before!  I have several of the cone shells including one polished as pretty as the all pearl ones (top right photo).  We also have several sea urchins (lower left) and one of the super dainty shells on the lower right.

One of my favorite shells is actually part of a defense mechanism for a large shell!  I had collected many of the shells on the bottom photo with a cool swirl.  I found out from the shell museum tour that this is used to close the critter inside a large shell (see top photo).

These are all my favorite shells from the shell museum.  Check out the top left corner – isn’t it beautiful with its pearl stripes?

This display had the evolution of the queen conch shell (furthest away on right).  This shell starts small (lower left corner) and evolves over time into a queen conch with large fingers.  I am a proud owner of one of these beauties as well.

Evolution of the queen conch

Evolution of the queen conch

In another display, Frank shows long, pointy shells that he opened up so you can see the complexity of the framework of the shell.

This cool photo shows what the shell and inhabitant look like while alive (top) then you can see the dead shell left behind (red shells toward bottom).

One of his beautiful displays


Frank also sold pearl jewelry, carved shells, and more.  He personally creates and fabricates all of the jewelry.  Some of his products are made by other locals of Huahine as well.

This was an interesting summary of the quality of pearls, their color, shape, and luster.  He also has the number of pearls exported.  Japan and Hong Kong take 87% of the pearls from French Polynesia.

What an interesting day at the shell museum.

Events from this blog occurred on 15 October 2020.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind our adventures.

Huahine Yacht Club View

Huahine Hide Out

The first weather window to Huahine opened up and we took it. Following this small window was another “blow.”  We needed to get to our Huahine Hide Out. We need to go “east” but the prevailing winds are coming from the east so it makes a sail trip difficult.  Not only do you have to tack a bunch of times, but you also head into the wind and the waves.  Well, the wind was still coming easterly but at least they had calmed down (from 25-30kts to 15-18kts).  So off we went.

We had a lovely sail with only 2 tacks which is remarkable considering we were going into the wind.  It took us a little longer and sailed a little further than planned, but we made it.  Pretty awesome day.


  • Raiatea to Huahine
  • Miles to Destination:  27nm
  • Total Miles Sailed: 40.8nm
  • Max Speed: 9.8kt
  • Avg. Speed: 5.7
  • Moving Time 7 hours 11 minutes

We took advantage of our Huahine hide out by visiting with friends, doing a few boat projects, and getting caught up on paperwork (blogs, banking, etc…)  Matt had to find and fix a few “leaks” around the hatches, we replaced a ceiling panel in the office, and we put together lists of things that need to be done when we get to Tahiti.

In between all the “chores” we had some fun too.  We hit “Izzy’s Burgers and More” several times because the food is amazing, the service is great and we love to patronize Isabel!  This is (left, back, front) Mike “Easy” Steve and Lili “Liward” Matt, Floris and Ivar “Luci Para 2” me, and Helen “Wow”

Izzys Burgers & More Huahine

Izzys Burgers & More Huahine

A few great sunsets at the Huahine Yacht Club during happy hour with 500xpf ($5) cocktails and 450xpf ($4.50) beers.

Huahine Yacht Club View

Huahine Yacht Club View

Huahine Anchorage

Matt and I usually anchor in the “flats” which is a shallow area in between the two passes.  It is less crowded and in beautiful shallow water (top photo).  Most monohulls anchor or take a mooring closer to the village of Fare (middle photo).  Our friend on Luci Para 2 (Floris and Ivar) use their kayak instead of a dinghy to protect the environment.

Not much of a Huahine Hide Out as we are out and about, but the anchorage is safe and protected.  Always a good thing.

My friends on Luci Para 2 (Floris and Ivar) take me to the shell museum.  Check out the next blog for details on our shell adventure.

We had a small weather window to get to Tahiti but we decided to wait until the next one. Why?  Because some friends of ours were playing a gig that we wanted to attend. So, stay tuned for the blog when we show you how a Polynesian concert is done!

Walk About and Small Hike

We explored with a 5-mile walk around a few bays and went half way up the mountain.  First we crossed over this lovely little bridge surrounded by gorgeous trees, plants, and flowers.

We walked along the shore and came across this sweet path with short, leaning palm trees.  I loved how uniform they looked as they reached out toward the water and sun.

Beautiful views of the Marina Apooiti Bay and hillside.

Huahine Views

Huahine Views

Back to the boat for some relaxation.

Because we are trying to fill our blog with posts through the year, some of these posts may be a bit shorter.  I am concerned we won’t have internet in the Gambiers so I am trying to populate and schedule out blogs during our stay there.  So we don’t go “dark”.

Events in this blog took place in early October.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind our adventures.