French Polynesia- Tahuata


Double click thumbnails to maximize.


Storm Cell

This isolated and somewhat compact storm cloud appeared as we made our approach to Ile Tahuata. Luckily, it slipped off to our stern.

Cape Te Hope Ote Keho

Clouds engulf the Cape and its mountains - Pierced Mtn plus the North and South Needle.

Hana Tefau

The village of Hapatoni sits on a bay of the same name but the anchoring is not good; we anchored with a few other sailboats in Tefau, the bay to the north.

Tefau Anchorage

We dropped our hook in 45' of indigo-blue water to a sand/coral bottom; mountains loomed to our east.

Hapatoni Bay

This is the view from an ancient Polynesian site on a hillside overlooking the bay. Not to be outdone, the Catholic church erected a large white cross and a shrine of Jesus on the same site.

Hapatoni Petroglyph

We thought Hapatoni the prettiest Polynesian village imaginable. An ancient site in the heart of the village had this petroglyph.


The village of Hapatoni is "tres jolie" - perhaps the prettiest we've seen. It's ancient stone lined uapu (road) is shaded by equally ancient temanu trees and the entire town is manicured with a park-like tranquillity.


Hapatoni village has been occupied for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Evidence includes an extensive area of paepae, raised platforms on which homes were built.

An ancient Polynesian Path

Lesie is dwarfed by tall coconut trees that line this path along the sea.


The shady road at Hapatoni nearby to gently lapping waves is relaxing. The townspeople have built small benches all along the edge of the sea to allow for lingering.


A day we visited Hapatoni woman were gathered together weaving palms in intricate designs to form shrines. This shrine included a statue of Virgin Mary with a plumeria lei, candles and other small offerings. We later learned that there would be four shrines and Mary would be moved between them over the month of May.

Palm Septre

This weaving was approximately eight feet long and adorned the tree adjacent to the shrine.

Feast of the Ascension

May 21st 2009 was the feast day of the Ascension; this palm shrine had offerings of coral, shells and necklaces placed at the base of the statue of Mary.

Stone Church

This simple but beautiful stone church, built in the mid-1800s, had a background of majestic moutains with the Pacific ocean in the foreground.


In an open-sided artisana building devoted to the display of native-made crafts that were for sale, these ceremonial drums stood in the corner awaiting ceremonial use.

Non-traditional Sailing Canoe

Tom and Anne of the sailboat Leonidas own this aluminum, double-masted, sprit-rig sailing canoe which Tom's dad bought in 1952. Though anchored in an adjacent bay on Ile Tahuata, they sailed over to Carina for a visit.