Large sacred eel
Large sacred eel

Hua means sex and hine means woman as in vahine. Known as 'The Garden Island', for its lush rainforests, it's a beautiful and peaceful island. It is small, at 29 square miles, and is made up of two mountainous ranges of Huahine Nui (big) and Huahine lti (small), connected by a small bridge. The volcanic summit of Mt. Turi is 2,200 fee.

Our ship anchored between the two islands in Maroe Bay. After lunch we set off on a tour to experience the cultural highlights. Our first stop was the single street main village of Fare, where we saw the giant ginger roots in their annual competition. We visited a vanilla plantation and then onward to Maeva, one of Polynesia’s most important archeological sites. Passing the ancient fish traps, still in use today, we arrived at a small stream full of enormous

eels. These large, sacred (to the locals) eels, range from three to

six feet in length and have translucent blue eyes.


Thr tour concluded with a stop at the Belvedere lookout for spectacular views over the bay.

Ginger roots
Ginger roots
ginger roots
ginger roots

Huahine is located 175 km North-West of Tahiti within the Leeward lslands. The island is covered with dense rain forest and large trees. The 6,000 people live in 8 villages with the main town being FARE. Polynesians have lived on Huahine for some 2,000 years.


Captain Cook was the first European to visit Huahine in 1769. He later returned taking a young Polynesian named Omai to travel around the world with him and live with him in his homeland, England,


ln 1809, Protestant missionaries Tyerman and Bennett undertook a one year tour round the island writing one of the first journals on the area. Starting from 1847 to 1888 Huahine fought against French annexation but fell after a long series of skirmishes and negotiations to eventually fall to the French protectorate in 1897.


Settled in the 1830's, this former whaling port was established for those ships going North and South during the months of May and June. The village sits along the waterfront with different general stores and some tourist opportunities.


In times past, Huahine was a center for Polynesian culture, with it now being one of the richest in archeological sites. In the village of Maeva there are close to thirty Maraes (ceremonial temples) restored. lts Maraes and grounds are one of the larger Marae complexes in Polynesia.


In a river outside of Faie is home to some very unusual residents – the sacred Tahitian eels!  The eels range in size from 3 to 6 feet long and are very interesting to look at. They have fins along their side which many people think are "ears" and their eyes are a translucent cold blue colour. They are believed to be found only on Tahiti, Moorea and Huahine. The ancient legend says that the first eel crawled across the mountains from a pool in Arue, on the north coast of Tahiti. Feeling lonely, the eel married a beautiful maiden from Mataiea. After much courting and splashing about the water, the present day inhabitants supposedly descend from this incongruous couple. Regardless of who believes the mythology behind these slithery yet graceful creatures the eels today remain a tourism favourite and mainstay on the island of Huahine. They are gentle, harmless and are only interested in "sacred mackerel" from "sacred cans" that can be purchased at any "sacred market" on the island.

South Pacific