Back to Raiatea / Pearl Farm & Ile Taoru

Trip Start Nov 27, 2010
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Trip End Dec 13, 2010


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Where I stayed
Dream Yacht Charter

Flag of French Polynesia  , Society Islands,
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Miles travelled - 36nm from Bora Bora to Anapa Pearl to Ile Taoru

We departed our anchorage on Bora Bora at 6.45am. Dale wasn't well today, so I had a quick breakfast of toast & we headed off starting with 2 reefs in the main as it was quite gusty here at 25kn. It was easier to shake the reefs that put them in, so off we went and headed out of the pass. When we got out, the headsail was set and when we headed past "the lighthouse" on the south west point of Bora, we found we had between 18-25kn so we decided to shake the reefs in the main. On the way back to Raiatea, I called the Anapa Pearl Farm to check if all was OK to do the tour today (which I organised yesterday) and everything was fine for a 1pm ETA. Our course was a little off and we were headed south of Rautoani Pass. Had a good sail back and with 6nm to go we started the motor rather than tack, as we would not have achieved our ETA.

I called Summer who ran the Pearl Farm Tours and she guided us to where the farm was located. Once it was pointed out to us (it was the overwater hut on the far western side of Raiatea) – look right as you come through the pass and it is a few miles down & stands out in the middle of nowhere. We were directed to pick up a mooring in 3-4m of water amongst a heap of bommies which we did with some trepidation. There is another mooring a little further toward the mainland in deep water as an alternative. I guess in a monohull that draws 1.5m or more we wouldn’t have chosen this mooring – but it is a lovely place to snorkel as well. When picking up the mooring Dales directions to me were lost in translation and as a result we lost the boat hook! Thought it would float but it was nowhere to be seen – we even got in the dinghy for a look in the almost crystal clear waters but to no avail. It was a little too choppy to see clearly.

We had a beer whilst we waited to be collected by their boat and soon we were picked up by Summer and 2 crew and they took us to the bungalow but stopped on the way where one of the crew dived off the boat and bought up a string of oysters. You could get in the water with guys if you wanted but we chose not to. Their farm is cleverly disguised under the water – usually you see rows upon rows of buoys, which are the farms but this style kept the area looking natural.

Once we got to the bungalow, they cleaned the oysters and then slightly prised open the shell and with a dentist mirror they inserted this to check out the colour of the shell from the hairlip (which determines the colour of the pearl). If the colour was exceptional that would sacrifice this one and take the DNA from it and insert it into another oyster. If the colour was good then they would place a small incision in the “genitalia” remove the pearl and insert a man made ball of the same size back into the shell – which the pearl would then take form around. It would be left for another 1.5 years to grow. It was truly remarkable what they do to perfect the perfect pearl. Even the man made ball has an amazing history. Well worth doing this tour. You may or may not want to buy a pearl afterwards – I did as I wasn’t going to leave French Polynesia without one. So I bought a nice A grade black/peacock colour 12.5mm pearl (25,000XPF) & a small A grade silver coloured pearl. They have a boutique also in this bungalow.

We were dropped off to the boat at 2.45pm and we dropped the mooring straight away and headed to the main wharf in Uturoa. We purchased another 5lt of dinghy fuel and I ran to the supermarket across the road & bought some steak, fish & veg for the next few nights. The supplies must have come in as I spotted Broccoli, Zucchini & other vegetables that don’t grow here that looked fresher than those I get here in Airlie Beach! Back to the boat and we motored around to Ile Taoru which is a little island on the east side of Raiatea about 20 minutes from Uturoa & immediately after Teavipiti pass. We dropped anchor in 8-10m of clear water just on the south-west corner of the island but we had to keep away from the buoys they had there. Again a private island but had good protection from NE-E. I cooked up the Thazard fish fillets, with some mash spud & ratatouille – Dale ate a little as he still felt crook & we went to bed fairly early.
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