Fakarava is another atoll where we spent a lovely day at the beach. Fakarava is classified as an UNESCO biosphere reserve. My Rare One went snorkeling and saw a shark. Luckily, it was not in the mood for trouble.
The island of Taha'a is called "the vanilla island" and produces 80% of French Polynesia's vanilla crop. So of course we visited a vanilla farm to learn how it is grown. The woman in the red tank top is the very entrepreneurial farmer who gave us a funny and informative tour. Those are vanilla beans on the drying rack. Growing vanilla is incredibly labour intensive. The vanilla flowers must all be fertilized by hand with a Q-tip in the early morning hours. While drying, the vanilla beans require repeated individual massaging by hand to release the full flavour within.
The final island we visited was Mo'orea, possibly the most spectacularly beautiful of all. It is also more urban than the others and in that regard is similar to Tahiti which is only a few miles away. Look at that gorgeous water and reef!
Another harbour and valley on the island of Mo'orea:
You can see Mo'orea's typical volcanic mountains in this photo taken from a catamaran as we sailed out to a reef to snorkel.
French Polynesia is an ideal place for a quiet vacation of sun, sand, snorkeling, swimming and relaxing. I suspect Hawai'i was very much like this in the 1950s before it became more touristy and commercialized.
[Photos by Debra She Who Seeks, 2014]