Huahine page 4
Freshwater Eels
Reviewing the hotel's posted daily activities we noticed a half day excursion by outrigger canoe to feed eels and enjoy some snorkeling. Being exposed to eels during our dives we were naturally drawn to this adventure and signed up immediately. Today's outrigger canoes are not what you might expect. They are about 20 feet long and equipped with a powerful outboard which allows them to cut through the water with ease. Our journey began with a twenty minute ride through an inland waterway to a small village. Seeing Huahine by outrigger canoe


Island scene of Huahine The scenery along our root was breathtaking. You could certainly understand why Huahine was called the garden island. Small island were planted with tropical vegetables and fruits. The mountains and valleys were covered with lush tropical greenery. The water alternated its color from a beautiful aquamarine to a deep blue depending on its depth.

George, our tour guide (right), was friendly but a bit quiet. When I questioned him as to his name he replied: "George, my American name." When I questioned him further he informed me that he used three different names. His native name and an American and French name. As you can see, George was an excellent billboard for one of the island's favorite pastimes, native tattoos. His entire left side, from neck to ankle, was embroidered with traditional Polynesian tattoos. Anne and I almost caved in and got a small tattoo. We were ready, but we postponed it until the end of the trip because of having to be careful as to the amount of water exposure it got. Then, in Tahiti, we just never saw a tattoo parlor.
George our outrigger canoe tour guide



George feeding the freshwater eels
Arriving at the village dock we all went ashore and began the five minute walk to the stream where the freshwater eels were. Along the way we passed small homes and gardens that the inhabitants had planted. When we arrived at the stream George climbed down to the stream bed and began to attract the eels. There was no sign of them when we arrived, but they were there in a short time, just as soon as they knew George was there with snacks. We all watched from the bridge as the eels swam up to George's feet and he began to feed them. Being a bit bored just watching I joined George in the stream and also fed the eels. They would come right up to your hand and take the food eagerly. They averaged about three feet and they were not as intimidating as the large saltwater eels we see when diving. Their mouth was more rounded and I didn't see the sharp jagged teeth you so often see on the giant Green Moray eels.
A freshwater eel


After feeding the eels we proceeded back toward the hotel stopping at a sand bar where George dropped us off for some snorkeling. The water, however, was very murky and I didn't take any pictures. One of the other tourists had an uncanny ability to find the most beautiful snails hiding under the sand. He would approach an area of sand on the bottom, wave his hand vigorously to remove the top layers and find these beautiful spire shells. Finding them he would proceed immediately to the nearest person, twice it was me, and hand the shell to them to admire. From there they went back to the bottom.

Leaving the snorkeling area and heading back to the hotel we stopped once again on this small island. George went in search of some ripe coconuts and returned with a couple. He skillfully split them and shared the coconut water with the group. He also grabbed a few small coconut palm tree seedlings to plant at this house.
Arriving back at the hotel we proceeded past the dock and "buzzed" the beach. The picture (right) shows our bungalow on the beach. The small truck was cleaning the beach area of accumulated debris that washed ashore. The beachfront huts at the Sofitel Heiva
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