Archive for the ‘French Polynesia’ Category

Mosquito RaquetMosquitos love me. I don’t know why but they definitely bite me more than almost everybody else.

I was getting savaged through Central America and desperately tried to locate one of these electric tennis racquet things everywhere I went.

The local are so used to it that they don’t bother about the insects and as such there is no market for them, and I had to do without. In Tahiti there certainly is a market for them with the affluent tourists, and I buy one for my travel bag.

Electric-shockYou could never win the war with mosquitos, but I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to win a few battles.

I have no qualms in admitting to smiling as I taser each one of the little pests. I hope it hurts them as much as their bites irritate me!

The sound is fantastic:

ZzzzzZZZZzZZZttttttt!

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Surf FashionSurfing has been used to advertise aftershave, cars, beer, insurance comparison websites, Hush Puppies, and many more random items that it has absolutely nothing to do with in an attempt to capitalise on it being so ‘cool’. 

However the result of silly adverts like this one is that most surf shops are just another retail outlet touting overpriced garments that will make no difference to your surfing apart from leaving less money in your pocket to get to the beach. There is more than a touch of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ about it all.No Surfing

Having had to abandon my board in Chile I wasted a whole day trying to locate anywhere that hires them. All the big name brands have shops in Pape’ete but none of them actually appears to cater for surfers. Not one even had information about breaks on the islands.

I am having a shocker locating a vehicle and now wondering if I have been a bit too rash offloading the surfboard in spite of the obscene fees. However I try a different tack and head for the surf breaks to ask around there. At Papara I meet a lovely guy called Poi who has just been surfing with his family, who in turn introduces me to one of the lifeguards at Tea’hupoo, which is Tahiti’s headline wave. 

leg sideEric is a really interesting guy. A real waterman who loves the ocean and has so many tales to tell about kayaking, outrigger canoes, surfing, etc. We get on well and he is kind enough to lend me his wife’s surfboard for a reasonable fee.

Eric’ wife cannot use the board for a while because she is having major surgery to her leg to remove joints and bones before replacing them with artificial implants.

I am more than a bit bionic myself (see attached) so have every sympathy for her and promise to look after her lovely 7’4″ which is really chunky and ideal for me to use.

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Paul_Gauguin_-_Three_Tahitian_WomenI’ve been off air for a while due to having been rather busy and a further series of IT woes that I wont bore you with. However I have lots to catch up on, so my apologies for the number of posts coming your way in quick succession.

As ever I will start with the ladies and in particular the local Tahitian women who are stunning. The artist Paul Gaugain moved to Tahiti and was inspired by the local women, painting them many times.

Mutiny on the BountyThe beautiful ladies here were also responsible for the mutiny on HMS Bounty because the crew did not want to leave after an extended stay in the company of the women on the island. Fletcher Christian and most of the crew took control of the ship and then set Lieutenant William Bligh and the renainder of their shipmates adrift in a small boat.

The story has been made into a movie three times and when Marlon Brando was filming his version in 1965 he too succumbed to the charms of the islands, and bought a thirteen island chain circled by a coral reef, which is known as Tetiaroa. It is located 35 miles from the main island of Tahiti, and in accordance with his will, is in the process of being converted into an eco-tourist venture. http://tetiaroa.pf/ 

Miss Tahiti RightAlthough it is not as common as it used to be, many of the local ladies still follow the tradition of wearing flowers behind their ears, which looks fantastic

However wearing a Tahitian gardenia, also sends a signal to any gentlemen who may be interested. If worn tucked behind the left ear, it means the wearer is taken. If worn tucked behind the right ear, it means the wearer is available. Finally waving the flower behind the head means  they want you to follow! Based on this it would appear that the current Miss Tahiti is available. Any takers?

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Pape'ete

Without my board I have flown into Tahiti and landed at Pape’ete the biggest town on the island.

It is a wonderful place which is similar in geography to Hawaii, but it seems to have retained more of it’s island charm, despite the years of French influence. (It is technically part of the European Union.) 

Pearls

The primary industry of the island for many years was the production of pearls which the locals would dive down to the sea bed to prise from oysters.

Pearls are formed inside the shell as a defense mechanism against a potential threat, which can be as simple as a grain of sand. The mollusc creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation, which then hardens.

Although tourism has probably overtaken it as a revenue generator on the island, there is still a huge operation here in the city, as well as a museum about the history of the jewel here.Pearl Necklace

I am single so the only pearling I will be doing on the island is likely to be the number of face plants I will be doing as a result of surfing crappy second hand boards thanks to LAN airlines!

I am however going out on the town tonight, and am hoping to meet the sort of girl to whom I could give a pearl necklace to.

Wish me luck!

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Tahiti FlagTahiti was somewhere I had to make time for on my trip, and I am looking forward to the next week there so much.

Heading for the island that is the largest in French Polynesia marks my return to lands of the people who introduced surfing to the world. 

Tahitian SurfThe break of Tea’hupoo (pronounced cho-poo) at the south of Tahiti makes regular appearances in Billabong’s XXL contest, and is also one of the stops on the world championship tour each year.

The pros will be arriving here in August but the swell season has already started. This picture was taken a few weeks ago and the following link will show you more of what the chargers were surfing: http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/teahupoo-returns-round-two_96196/

Mind The GapNot to be outdone I have timed my visit perfectly just as a swell is arriving. (http://magicseaweed.com/Teahupoo-Surf-Report/619/)

Does this mean it will finally be time for my first ever tube ride?

Mind the gap please!

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