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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Blue-Eyed Eels of Huahine

Honestly, these whimsical graffiti versions of Huahine's
blue-eyed eels were more charming that the real deal.
Where the heck are they? Are they just pulling our leg? HOLY CRAP! There's one right here and it's HUGE!” I exclaimed, urging Wayne over to see it.

Several guidebooks extolled the wonder of the sacred blue-eyed eels, in the river of Faie on Huahine. Intrigued, we rented a scooter traversing the island to find them.

I'd envisioned a broad meandering river, fecund in a jungle setting, something we could wade into or swim, teeming with eels, maybe a foot or two long. We didn't expect “the river” to be essentially a steep walled, shallow-filled concrete drainage ditch. It was.

It was tough to get decent photos as we were several feet above them,
and the water above them was clear, but very reflective.
The first eel I saw was about 5-6 feet long, and plump, at least a half a foot wide, and practically bulging out of the shallow water as it undulated along.

Scanning the water, Wayne found a cluster of a dozen or so, just poking their heads out from under a ledge. Much like the iguanas and sea lions of Galapagos, they formed a big puppy pile, jostling amongst each other. Unlike the more amiable Galapagos communes, these fishy fellas snapped at each other. Indeed, their tiny, glassy-looking eyes were azure blue; a definite contrast to their mud-colored bodies.

Huahine is worth a visit not for the blue-eyed eels, but for its laid-back charm, stunningly beautiful waters, interesting archaeological sites and friendly locals. Sure, check out the eels; we're grateful they inspired us to get a good look at my favorite of the Society Islands to date.

Chairs set up for Huahine's Heiva Festival outrigger races.
Anchorage outside the town of Fare in the background.
Location Location
We anchored outside Huahine's most populous town, Fare (S16.42.943 W151.02.321) and left there this morning. We're currently anchored in Tahaa's Haamene Bay, French Polynesia(S16.38.713 W151.27.404) on our way to Bora Bora. That will be our last stop before our 90 day visa expires July 21st. Then it's on to Tonga with a stop in American Samoa and potentially Cook's Suwarrow on the way. Will set several catch-up blog posts to run while we're on passage, internet permitting.