Monday, September 03, 2007

September 2, 2007 - Fare, Huahine

After a squally overnight passage from Moorea, a welcoming committee of three whales greeted us as we approached the pass at Fare, Huahine. Sten spotted their spouts first.
We hung out watching them for a bit as they dove and surfaced repeatedly along the reef. When they dive it creates a boil on the water.
At one point they were right under Mata'irea's bow.
After a while I dove in to try to swim with them, but they quickly moved off. Neither of us has ever been so close to a whale before. The big ones were massive. The little ones were the size of a small car. It was really amazing to listen to them communicate with each other.

We plan to be here for approximately two weeks. Mata'irea is the ancient name for this island, so it seemed fitting that we spend some time here. The fact that there are several good surf breaks, doesn't hurt either. The down side is that there is intense localism here. The locals don't want outsiders surfing their waves. They regularly steal surf boards left on the decks of cruising boats and outside at the resorts and pensions. They have been known to trash cameras, because they don't want their wave publicized. It is such a different attitude than we found in Teahupoo. Sten has found that if he goes out really early in the morning, he can ride for a bit before the locals arrive. This morning, he was surfing Fitii with a French cruiser who has spent several seasons surfing these breaks, but once the locals showed up, they both packed it in.
After two years of not being sure if we were pronouncing the name of our boat correctly, it is fun to hear the local guys saying our boat name as they paddle by on their surf boards or in outrigger canoes. As it turns out, we have been mispronouncing it. We have been saying "ma-ta-ray-ah". The locals really emphasize the "i" that we've been leaving silent - "ma-tie-ee-ray-ah" - almost like there is a guttural stop in the middle.

It has been fun to catch up with some of the other tail-enders, including Storm Along and Emelia. Last night we had drinks and dinner with Bahati, a boat we first crossed paths with in Bermuda. They are also surf crazed. Apparently, all one has to do to make my normally introverted husband the life of a party is to pour some rum into him and set the conversation to surf. Who knew?

For lunch today, we visited Te Marara, a waterfront bar and restaurant, where we satisfied our fried food craving with the best fries we've had since leaving the States. Sten wrapped up the day with a session at the left break at the Fare pass with Josh from Bahati. As they surfed, I watched the sun set over Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora.

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