Back to Teahupoo, Tahiti

Excerpt from my journal, March 9.

After leaving Moorea, we returned to our house in Teahupoo, Tahiti.  Despite the bugs, we really liked Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti. Although it doesn’t have the white sandy beaches you see in all the postcards, its black sandy beaches, low lying coastal roads that seem to float on the lagoons, and steep, jagged mountains covered in dense green leafy forests give it a rustic beauty of its own.  It also is home to one of the most well-known surf breaks in Tahiti – Teahupoo. Our house was within a 10-minute walk and 20-minute paddle to this world-class surf break.  Although it wasn’t really “going off” during our stay, Willie and Wylie got a chance to ride “small” Teahupoo.  Even when it’s small, it is a fast left, that breaks over a shallow reef.  The potential for reef rash is high and screwing up your take off can prove painful for days to come. I wasn’t ready for Teahupoo, even when it was “small”.  For Willie and Wylie, who had looked at endless videos of the pros riding this wave, it was a dream come true.

Walking to the surf.

The shark in the water we spotted before Wylie paddled out to Teahupoo.

Willie, apres surf at Teahupoo.

After spending a week on the island, we had driven on every main road exploring the sites, the sounds and people of Tahiti.  We were told before traveling here that the people on the island of Tahiti still have “Aloha”.  The natives here, more so than the other Tahitian islands we traveled to, were super friendly and welcoming.  Unlike the surf in Hawaii where you can get “bad vibed” out of the water, it is customary to shake hands with everyone in the line up.  People are always smiling and the sound of laughter is as common as the smell of Taire in the air.

Black sand beaches.

Lush jungles and waterfalls.

The smell of Tiare in the air.

Locals gathering at the river mouths.

Why we didn’t go in the rivers. Actually, the locals told us this fish is completely harmless and  good to eat.  We didn’t believe them.

Although Tahiti is part of French Polynesia, I was still surprised at how the French influence permeates through every part of their culture, from language to cuisine. Most people speak French, even if they know how to speak Tahitian.  Their currency is the Pacific Franc and the baguette is a staple in their diet.  Every day from morning until noon, people are walking home with their arms full of baguettes.  They even have long cylindrical “mail” boxes for daily baguette deliveries.  You can even buy baguettes at the Shell gas station!  The supermarkets shelves are filled with French wines, the coolers with Brie and Camembert and the freezers with escargot.  Stores close from noon until 2 daily and sometime never open again in the afternoon.

Aimee with her new found love….baguettes.

Baguettes were delivered daily to people in Tahiti Iti.  They were put into a long cylinder outside peoples home or these fancy boxes.  I want to bring this tradition back to Boulder!