Here’s Day 3 in a nutshell: we did the L’Excursion Bleu, a boat tour around Taha’a island.
- 13 people on the tour, only 1 other spoke good English, a few others knew a little.
- Our captain did speak English, but such that you had to listen hard to understand. I think we got the condensed explanation for all that was going on. Regretting not paying more attention to the Learning Conversational French CDs.
- First stop was a vanilla plantation. After learning how much of an ordeal it is to grow/harvest vanilla beans, I now understand why pure vanilla extract is so damn expensive. We bought some beans. Creative vanilla experiments coming up!
- Second stop was swimming/snorkelling with sting rays and sharks. VERY cool! Probably could see 20+ sharks all around at any given time. I touched a stingray, Ritchie!
- Third stop was a drift snorkel, the first of two. We got dropped off and drifted over a coral garden with the current for a few hundred metres. So much to see; coral and fish! The water in the lagoon is so warm. As I’m getting close to getting back to the boat, I started floating on my back (salt water really helps with buoyancy!) and was looking at the palm trees and sand on the little motu beside us thinking that this day can’t get much better.
- Back on the boat, the captain hands out cake and rum cocktails – I think this day did actually just get better.
- Next stop was a pearl farm. Very interesting to see the process involved. They served a snack of raw mussel, which I actually tried. Everyone was looking at me – kinda of a peer pressure thing. They say that it is ‘cooked’ in lime juice, but I don’t think that anything other than heat can actually cook something. Wasn’t too bad, but probably won’t do that again.
- Now on to lunch (at 3:15pm!). We went to a motu where a feast was waiting – fish, chicken, rice, sweet break, baked bananas. Then, right at that beach was another drift snorkel location. I sat this one out. I was cold and pretty much done with drinking salt water for the day. Plus, they had tea after lunch, so I was happy to sit and watch. Actually, I walked down the beach a bit towards an over water bungalow resort and snooped around and took pictures.
- Graham here: I did the snorkel. We walked all the way along the motu to where it reaches the surf. In we went: the water was cold! The current was much stronger than the other drift snorkel. Amazing views – the fish were crazy. The best part though, an eel! I got some great video. Came away with only one scrape. Okay, back to Sandi…
- Then, we headed back to the Raiatea marina. A very full day. 9:00 – 6:00 or so.
- Back to our place for a much needed shower and dinner. Last day in Raiatea tomorrow before catching a 6:00 flight to Huahine.
A few other random observations from the day. #1: If you are from France (most of our tour) you are very likely to smoke, and do so often. #2: Graham was the only one (in my opinion) to have an appropriate length of swimwear for a man!