Tahaa was a quick stop but we enjoyed an extensive tour of the island with Alain on the Vanilla Tour. Alain takes up to eight people in his 4WD Land Rover though and over most of the island in a 4 hour tour. Along the way he stops frequently and explains the local plant life and how the natives use it today as well as in the past. Vanilla is only a small part of the botanical realm he covers.
We saw our first copra drying shed in action. The coconuts are husked and the nuts are cracked open to allow the meat to dry in the sun. The dried meat is then removed from the shell and sold for $600 a ton. This is a subsidized price. It sells for $100 a ton in Fiji but even at this high price it is difficult to get the natives interested in this labor intensive process.
We made the trip with our friends, Marta and Dave, visiting from the states. Along the way we saw the devastating effects of the hurricane that struck Raiatea and Tahaa. This landslide demolished a house but fortunately no one was hurt.