Taha’a is a small island enclosed within
the same barrier reef as Raiatea, The 4,470
inhabitants live tranquil lives, fishing
and raising livestock. Taha’a has a
wonderful string of beautiful motus along
the northern reef edge.
In the morning we headed west for some coral
garden drift snorkelling. We disembarked
our boat and walked through the coconut groves
to the ocean side of the motu. We then began
our first drift snorkelling run letting the
current carry us through the shallow lagoon
towards the boat. Effortless snorkelling!
The seabed abounds with amazing coral and
a spectacular variety of tropical fish –
the best that we saw during our trip. It
was fantastic and definitely recommended,
although we would have preferred another
drift down the channel.
Then on to Motu Mahara, a private paradise
motu, where white sand, a sumptuous grill
buffet & floating bar greeted us. The
staff from our ship has excelled beyond any
expectation. We drank cocktails from a whole
coconut, lunched well, snorkelled, kayaked
and walked around the island before looking
at the trinkets & souvenirs on sale from
the local Mamas. What a most enjoyable and
Taha'a is often called the Vanilla lsland
for its numerous plantations of ‘blackgold’
– it produces 70-80% of all French
Polynesia’s vanilla. Raiatea may be
quiet, but Taha'a is quieter.
Taha'a was once known as Kuporu (or Uporu),
a name which in other Polynesian centres
indicates some great migratory connection.
Taha'a lived in the shadow of Raiatea,
its larger, stronger and more important neighbour.
At times, Taha'a was a pawn in struggles
between Raiatea and the fierce rulers of
Bora Bora. Taha'a was the centre for
fire walking ceremonies, but today, they
are a rare occurrence. ln 1822, the first
missionaries arrived in Taha'a, at which
time the island came under French control.