RAIVAVAE, June 13, 2019. The small island of Raivavae, Austral south, holds many surprises that explore at your own pace here, on foot or by bicycle. The tour of the island measuring twenty-four kilometers but the surprises are numerous. Here are a few…

The ‘great’ tiki

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
Originally, the island of Raivavae had three majestic tall tiki. Since 1933, the two largest were bought and brought back to Tahiti. The largest, a very strong woman, measuring 2,72m tall, while the other is said to be a man and measuring 2,14m. The tiki oni and dad (locally called Heiata and Moana) passed for the geniuses of sand and rocks of the sea, supposed to protect the island from invaders. A third, representing a child was abducted, but when loaded, it fell into the lagoon where he still is.

Today Raivavae whose inhabitants continue to demand the return of their tiki, is proud to have one last, not far from Rairua, carved from a reddish volcanic tuff. It’s partially broken left ear and he sits majestically on a small set of stones, but we must recognize that it is very poorly developed. A big thank you but the landowner who, when not there, has the good taste to tie his dogs and so let visitors admire this ultimate masterpiece of sculpture Raivavae which we know little more than today …

Clams mountains

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
The visitor will not fail to be surprised at the discretion of his walk by watching, beach, impressive pile of clam shells. These are nice size (of the species Tridacna maxima) and are harvested within a few meters of water to be frozen by the fishermen and then exported to Tahiti. The volume and height of the stacks of these bivalves could fear a near extinction of the species. This is apparently not the case.

The immense lagoon of Raivavae is poor in oysters (Pinctada margaritifera) but extremely rich in clams, which, according to one of the fishermen, would not harvested snorkeling in the deeper areas; never on sandbars or near reefs. Still, given the value of such shells for tourists, we can only regret that they end well, either damaged by sea water is “roasted” in the sun. Most of these clams provide excellent “plates” hollow to serve raw fish …

canoes sewn

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
Raivavae is probably one of the last, if not the last island to further fabricate sewn canoes for use on the lagoon. The principle is simple, planks aito resistant timber well with brine, are assembled and sewn together with links made of coconut fibers (nape). Then you caulk the joints with the sap of uru, then varnish the whole and then cover it with a generous layer of paint, to ensure this set a perfect seal. Obviously, the life of these canoes is not unlimited, but they are easy to repair in case of impact on a reef, they are cheap, and perfectly suited to their lagoon use.

Tasty seaweed

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
If you like the original dishes, do you use the seaweed salad Raivavae, a species Caulerpa racemosa, with its little green balls like tiny grapes. The Raivavae talk about more proudly as caviar of their lagoon. These algae are harvested in a few centimeters of water on rocks, submerged tree trunks, or even on coral sand funds. In these cases, a thorough washing is imperative to prevent sand grains are cracking under your teeth during the tasting. A simple recipe to taste? Once washed and drained well, algae will be served with a little coconut milk and lemon juice. Regal assured (and no need to add salt!).

apple gourds

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
If you have the eye, mountain side pedaling quietly, you will find that in the midst of a tangle of lianas climbing vegetation can be distinguished funny round fruit, like, smaller, with passion fruit . These are indeed Passiflora, but whose shell is as hard as wood. If you reap, you will need a solid knife to open and taste, as these fruits are edible. If, however, you want to keep on forever, do not worry, simply store them in the open, away from moisture. The shell will continue to harden; After a few months, the interior is dry and can hear the seeds rattle slightly when you shake off the fruit. But be careful these calabashes apples (Passiflora malaformis) since that is how they are often called; this plant species native to Central America is invasive and should absolutely not be brought back to be planted in other islands or even in Tahiti.

False edible tamanu

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
One feature is the presence of Raivavae, Rairua to port but also all around the island, many “false Tamanu” trees whose fruit closely resembles that of Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum). Now mature, they become golden yellow, unlike the Tamanu whose fruits do not take as strong a color and especially that contain a single seed; apples of mulch makers, since that is their name (Mimusops coriacea), contain six brown seeds that artisans use more and more in making necklaces. The flesh of the fruit, mealy, is edible and besides it consumed in Madagascar where originates this beautiful ornamental tree. Unlike Tamanu,

The motu Hotuata

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
At one end of the island of Raivavae, detached from the shore stands the beautiful little motu Hotuata, called “motu of women” as opposed to a large rock lying on the other side of the island, on the beach the Ruatara rock (human rock). The island culminates at just over fifty meters high and is a refuge for a colony of frigates. The legend says that women Vaiuru saying is stronger than men Anatonu, a woman would make a competition with a man to transport further into the lagoon rock of the mountain. The man was quicker, but the race taking place at night and not to be completed until morning, he decided to take a nap after filing his stone down the mountain. The woman meanwhile, slower, did not stop and put his in the lagoon. Seeing his sleeping competitor, it mimicked the song of the cop which woke; but caught short, he decided to drop his rock at the water’s edge on the beach, unable to go further before daybreak … Women are so strong if not more, at least smarter than men Raivavae.

Bananas lagoon

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
One of the peculiarities of the inhabitants of Raivavae is their very original way to store bunches of bananas, cook or eat raw. It seems that the competition between humans and rats is strong, which decided the islanders to choose a storage out of reach of rodents, on the lagoon! Here and there, when we went around the island, so we meet from time to time these bunches of bananas, perched above the water, they ripen in the sun. Apparently, the system works very well, since many schemes and end up at the animal shelter. Obviously, the system relies on the fact that nobody, ever would come steal bananas from its neighbor, even by night!

Starch, do you want

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae
On motu around the island of Raivavae, found in large quantities feet of Tahiti pia (Tacca leonpetaloides) plant better known under its name Anglo-Saxon of arrowroot. Formerly, the pia Tahiti ancient introduction played a big role in the diet because the tubers were used to extract starch (not prepared, these tubers are poisonous). In the nineteenth century, Polynesia this starch exported to California, but since its introduction, cassava replaced pia Tahiti. The starch provided by this plant was also another purpose, that of rigidity and thus consolidate the beaten bark made fabrics, tapa, dethroned by the arrival of Europeans by tissues (sarongs).

Staying in Raivavae

There are five guesthouses around the island, our partner stays in the Air Tahiti islands offering three great prices:

Pension Chez Linda
flight + 3 nights stay with half board from 58 768 Fcf / pers .
Extra night with half board from 8600 F / person
3 small garden bungalows (capacity 3 persons)
1 large garden bungalow Family (capacity 4 people)

Pension Ataha
flight Stay + 3 nights with half board from 52 648 XPF / person. Extra night with half board from 6560 XPF / person.
Bedrooms :
1 house: Fare B with 2 bedrooms (capacity 3 adults + 2 children or 5 adults) and a bathroom shared bathroom ideal for a family or for people traveling together.
1 house: Fare C with 2 bedrooms (capacity 2 adults + 2 children or 4 adults) and a private bathroom in each room.

Pension Tama Resort
Stay Flight + 3 nights with half board from 58 468Fcfp / pers.
Extra night with half board from 8 500 F / pers.
3 beachside bungalows with private bathroom (capacity 2 adults or 2 adults + 1 child). 
2 mountain side bungalows with private bathroom (capacity 3 adults).

Travel book - Stroll around Raivavae

Written by Daniel PARDON Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 15:20 | Source : TAHITI INFOS