Pink Sand Beaches, Pearl Farm and Town

Before we left the Tetamanu motu, originally the main village and capitol of the Tuamotus Archipelago, we spent a relaxing afternoon relaxing on the famous pink sand beaches. Typically in the Tuamotus, we’ve encountered a lot of coral beaches in the Tuamotus, having to wear our Keen sandals so the coral wouldn’t cut through to our feet (Crocs don’t survive). So, the soft sand beach was most welcome, and relaxing.

Then, we raised anchor and moved Enjoy North to Fakarava’s newer town, Rotoava. A well laid out town, Rotoava has an airport and a very nice dinghy dock near by, to bring friends in and out to their flights. We rented fancy electric bikes from Fakarava Yacht Services and spend a 1/2 day riding around and up the Northern Garuae Pass. At 1 mile / 1,600 meters, this pass that we will transit out from is twice as wide as the South Pass we entered.

Havaiki pearl farm and buying Gambian pearls

When in Papeete, I enjoyed learning about the history from the Robert Wan Pearl Museum which had a nice display and clean bathrooms! And, one of the things-to-do in the Tuamotus is to visit a pearl farm. So, we toured the Havaiki pearl farm and heard directly from their farmers about the art and science of pearl farming. Tahitian pearls are cultured pearls and at least at Havaiki, they impregnate their oysters with a nucleus created from Mississippi mussels, sent to Japan to be machined into perfect spheres, and shipped back to the South Pacific. Seeing the process from one of the farmers who actually does the seed insertions was pretty cool. I must admit I cried with the little kids saw the speaker opening up the shells the kids picked, and handing them the little bundle of Tahitian joy that lied within. It reminded me of the joy our kids had doing the same at Disneyworld. I hope to bring them here for the less commercial version. We left the tour with four beautiful shells I plan to polish and make into jewelry dishes.

And while the Tahitian pearls grown in the Tuamotus Archipelago are beautiful, I found myself drawn to the color variation of pearls grown on the Gambier Island Archipelago. I found a local artist who used Gambier pearls and had to buy myself a present or two.

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