We had visited nearly all the islands in the Societies archipelago and cycled on most of them. (The exception was Maupiti which was just too small to justify assembling the bikes.)
The only island we were missing was Huahine so after a false start – due to the toilet being blocked – we sailed overnight from Moorea and reached the pass through the reef just after dawn. Australian friends were at anchor so we sailed towards them. Their warning that it was “very shallow” came a few seconds late so we unfortunately scraped a little anti fouling on to the coral. The anchorage was strewn with coral heads so we moved across the bay and anchored next to another friend on his boat “Elin”.
Our first trip in to “the big city” (the whole island has a population of six thousand people) made a very positive impression. A nice floating dock for the dinghy, a yacht club with half price happy hour, a huge supermarket and cheap SIM cards. We may be in the middle of nowhere but it is a very civilized middle of nowhere.
With the bikes we set off anti-clockwise to explore the islands. There are two, Big Huahine and Little Huahine joined by a bridge. The road is almost empty and the vegetation rampant. The reef is ever present out to sea and the mountains in the middle of the island can be glimpsed up the valleys. Whoever dreamed up the Garden of Eden could have just cycled around Huahine.
We visited the largest temple ruins we have yet seen in Polynesia, admired centuries old stone fish traps in the lagoon and feasted at a road side food stall. Mostly it was a gentle rolling ride but there was one hill that looked suspiciously steep. The sign at the bottom claimed it was 15% so Heidi decided she could “easily do that”. After she had cycled to the top with Neill pushing next to her, we came to a more honest sign which proclaimed 30%. She is crazy!
A few days later we sailed to the far end of the island. There was little wind but we were inside the reef so also no waves and we could gently ghost along enjoying the peace and scenery. That trip really summarized Huahine. Extremely beautiful and exceptionally laid back. A wonderful place to while away a few weeks.