The Society Islands saw the arrival of our first guests since we began our Oyster World Rally adventure wayback in January. Sitting at the heart of French Polynesia the Society Islands include the famous (Bora Bora and Tahiti) and the unknown (Huahine, Raiatea, Moorea and Tahaa). Our first guests were Tilly, Hugh and Janice's daughter and her boyfriend Matt, followed closely by our friends Sally and Jeff McGeachie. Our starting point was Papeete, the capital of Tahiti and whilst the name conjures up images of deserted palm fringed beaches and grass skirted locals, Tahiti, like most of the islands is a reef encircled volcanic island with high verdant mountains surrounded by a single road running around the perimeter. In fact the beaches are few and far between, but as we discovered what all the islands have in spades are stunning views, amazing hikes, abundant sealife, friendly locals and absolutely heaps of culture. Here are our guests Top 5 Society Island highlights.
Hiking to the waterfall in Tahiti...which went from a leisurely walk along the river bank to a rock scramble, an unexpected swim through a canyon, finishing with a breathtaking dip in the waterfall. Snorkelling with sharks and stingrays in Moorea...literally standing amongst dozens of sharks and rays as they swam around us
Discovering Hinano on tap...at your table - serve yourself!!
Watching the breathtaking Heiva (festival)...a visual feast as hundreds of dancers wiggled their hips and waggled their knees to the rhythmic sounds of the Polynesian drums in outrageously gorgeous costumes
Taking part in the Oyster Polynesian Games...banana carrying, outrigger canoe racing, coconut breaking, boulder lifting, Polynesian dancing and a tug of war - just some of the days activities!
The picture perfect views of Bora Bora...the glinting turquoise waters against the backdrop of soaring tree covered volcanic peaks – just jaw-droppingly beautiful.
A river trip with a fruitful end...after a peaceful dingy jaunt up the river in Raitatea we were met by Andre who runs the farm at the river head. We sampled the delights of the local fruit and veg as he gave us a guided tour of the farm and then left with a basketful of delicious goodies in exchange for a 6 pack of Hinano Beer!
Staying in the slightly bonkers Fenua Mata'i'oa Hotel...run by the lovely, exotic, effervescent and positively eccentric Eileen, the hotel was a hidden haven packed full of eclectic French artefacts and furniture and although the room arrangements in our Presidential Suite were more dormitory than hotel, the view, the service and the food made our stay an experience we’ll never forget.
It’s been lovely having people to share our amazing adventure with and we’re looking forward to our next stop, Tonga, where we pick up “the kids” - Matt, Harriet, Ellie and Jake.