Around Raiatea and Tahaa

We’ve been hanging out around Raiatea and Tahaa (the two islands share one, big lagoon) for two weeks now. The infrastructure around these islands is very convenient: 4G internet, little supermarkets everywhere that get stuff from the supply ships several times a week, but sell also local produce. The nicest way to get locally grown fruit and veg is to walk down the coastal roads: whenever somebody has too many bananas/pamplemousse/rambutan/avocados/… they just set up a table in front of their property–great to get fresh things and to have a chat.

We’ve anchored in various spots and most locals who go by with their boats give us a friendly wave. Only the NW side of Raiatea (Pr. Mirimiri) is ‘famous’ for disliking cruisers. In the muddy bay there we got chased away a few years ago ‘because we destroy the coral there’ (in mud??) and this year a boat came by out on the shelf to tell us that we were disturbing their spearfishing area (by parking there?). Two years ago a local cut the anchor chain of a cruising boat and according to the verdict of this February he was found guilty and got a fine of 50.000 CPF (approx 500 USD), because he had ‘an understandable reason’…

It’s a hot autumn here, so we’ve spent quite some time in the water. Many reefs are dead and overgrown with algae, but some coral in the shallow areas is in surprisingly good shape, despite temperatures above 30°C. There are not many fish around and the ones we see are small and skittish–there’s too much spearfishing going on. At least we’ve seen a few turtles, and they were rather relaxed, so they don’t seem to get hunted here anymore.

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