Not too far west from Bora Bora is the quiet island of Maupiti, which has remained a peaceful non-touristy mountain atoll. We decided to head there for a few days before coming back to Bora Bora. Maupiti is beautiful with a lush green central mountain and a serene blue shallow lagoon and fringe reef around the edge.
White sand beaches are dotted around and there a handful of “pension’s” to stay in but the rest are locals’ houses who live a traditional life, fishing and harvesting the coconuts to make copra.
We managed to hire some rusty bikes and set off on a tour of the island, all of a grand eight miles.
We stopped at a small beach where you can walk across the water to the “motu” island opposite. It’s a fantastic half hour walk with the warm water never going higher than your waist. The water is delightful, so transparent and you can see the occasional curious sting ray or baby shark swim past.
Maupiti has a manta ray protected research area and we snorkelled with giant mantas at their favourite feeding stations, namely coral bommies in the entrance passage current. It was a magical sight to see these magestic creatures seemingly fly with ease in the current.
On Saturday we joined in with a Polynesian feast on the nearby motu. A large hole is dug in the sand on the beach and made into an oven lined with banana leaves and fuelled with coconut husks. The oven is left to cook all night, flames put out at 2am and covered carefully with more banana leaves. At midday the oven is ceremonially opened, the layers carefully removed and the packages — wrapped in tinfoil and intricately woven palm leaf bundles, placed onto dishes, et voila – the feast of roasted bananas, breadfruit, clams, chicken, pork and fermented fish is ready! With a plate load of mostly unrecognisable food from our western eyes, we sat at tables on the beach and duly ate with our hands, much to the boys delight.
A great Polynesian experience for us all, complete with live music!