Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Home to The Holler We Go!

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Back to The Holler expecting hum-drum….but no, The Holler hates hum-drum, so look who chaired the welcoming committee!
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Isn’t he a beaut! He’s been hanging around here. His wingspan clocks in at almost exactly 5 inches.
He’s a Ceanothus Silk Moth. His larvae feeds on the wild lilacs (ceanothus) that grow all over Hollerdom.
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The adults fly at The Holler in January and do not feed. This is the first one I have ever seen.
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If you’re feeling winter weary, here’s a couple of clicks of the tropics to warm you up!
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This traditional Polynesian Canoe House is built to catch the tropical breezes and is amazingly cool even on morbidly hot tropical days. Remember Frost saying, if the world ended in fire or ice, he’d “go with those who favor fire?” He is one of my favorite poets, but he must not have spent much time in the tropics. The heat and humidity can get to you, just like the ice and cold.
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This big guy is aptly named a unicorn fish. He can grow up to two feet in length and seemed curious and unafraid.
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Flying away from paradise. Check out the surf on the fringing reef!
Cheers to you (and stay warm) from the rarely ho-hum Holler~

Bulbuls, Fairies & Noddies of Polynesia~

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Grumpy baby Bulbul.
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He wants to be FED!
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Happy baby Bulbul, he got fed!
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Red Vented Bulbuls were first identified in 1766 and originate from India.
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People tend to not like them because they eat flowers. I like flowers, and Red Vented Bulbus.
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The Fairy Tern is native to the south west Pacific. It’s numbers are rapidly decreasing and it is considered a vulnerable species.
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The White Capped Noddy, is wide spread in tropical seas and doesn’t have much fear of people. You can walk right up to them and they are studying you!
Cheers to you from the clever birds of Polynesia~

Paradise~

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What would it be like to live in paradise? Can you try and imagine? (Please click to enlarge). Here are the tools of trade for living in Huahine, outriggers, fishing boats, nets and boat hangers. Guava, Papaya, Coconut, Breadfruit, Passion Fruit, sweet potatoes and Bananas are everywhere growing wild. Fish are teeming in the lagoons. Chickens roam at will.
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This man was fishing with a drop line, he saw my camera, and performed an ocean akido for us! How beautiful is he and so at home in his sea?

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This is Huahine’ main archeological site with a traditional house, even the palm trees are laid back here.
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Lots of folks want to experience paradise on their own terms.
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They sail The Society Islands, stopping where and when they choose. They stay for a long time in Huahine. Smart sailors.
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And always the pounding surf on the fringing reefs, sings you to sleep at night and awake in the morning.
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The fringing reef protects the island and gives it such ethereal hues.
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And at the end of the day, this is home!
Oh, and if you are thinking of visiting Polynesia, consider Huahine. If you like to avoid tourists and development, you will be very happy here. Just watch out for the coral!
Cheers to you from incredible Huahine~

Huahine Storm Surf~

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Huahine is in the middle of a massive tropical storm bringing monsoonal rain, winds and massive tubular waves to the far off fringing reef. These photos were taken from shore with zoom up to 1200 mm equivalent.
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In order to give you perspective, check out this photo which shows where I shot from on land during one of the lulls in the rain. You can see the waves on the horizon on the fringing reef.
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Waves form tubes like this when big ocean swells hit shallow reefs.
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Some waves like the one below, blow out due to the erratic nature of the storm, but I think they are beautiful too. I don’t look at waves in terms of their surfability.
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This wave below had a broken, or double tube!
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Here’s another blown out beauty.
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The Huahine locals went out in force in their outriggers to watch the show from just inside the reef break zone. Here they are getting ready, you can see the breaks on the reef in the horizon.
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Paddling out in outriggers was a beautiful sight.
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Cheers to your from still storming, still spectacular, Huahine~

Huahine~

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Huahine, also known as The Garden Isle, is one of the least visited islands in French Polynesia and retains a strong sense of early Polynesia.
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We are staying in Lapita Village. Lapita refers to the ancestral culture of the ancient Polynesians. The village consists of thatched bungalows built around a natural lagoon in the style of an ancient Polynesian Canoe House.
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In addition to jaw dropping natural beauty, the area is an important archeological site, with settlements and artifacts found nearby dating from 750 AD. Lapita Village maintains an onsite archeological museum.
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Huahine is essentially tropical jungle, exotic flowers and fruit are growing everywhere in abundance.
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Our accommodations here are far more lux than in Raiatea, in that we actually have AC and island critters can’t enter our abode, and beds, through all the open nooks and crannies! Woo Hoo! I have never loved AC this much! Not to mention beds shared only with my husband!
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Far nostalgia purposes, here is a look at our over water bungalows in Raiatea. Pretty? Yes. Comfortable, errrrrrr….. AC and closing those nooks and crannies would work better for me in summer in Polynesia. Oh, and scraping the coral off the dive ladders would work too! My up close and friendly coral cuts still prevent me from going in the ocean.
Am I complaining? No. It is gorgeous here and the food is fabulous so I am a happy non-camper!
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Cheers to you from our ‘very cool’ abode in gorgeous Huahine~

Raiatea’s Remarkable Flora & Fauna~

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Raiatea has some unusual flora and fauna.
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Check out the colors of these water lilies for example!
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The scent of tropical flowers perfumes the air, sending you off to sleep, even in mid day!
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I tried my new underwater camera for the first, and last time for awhile, because I got a nasty coral cut, that is now infected. I got it from fire coral that was not visible on our balcony’s dive ladder. No more underwater photo practice for me until it heals.
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I did manage to get some decent shots on my first attempt. Can you see the camouflaged octopus here? He was quite large and stuck his tentacles simultaneously down many holes searching for prey. When he found some, he ballooned his entire body around it and killed it.
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So many beautiful fish, I even saw a lion fish wish I would love to show you. Lots of giant clams too.
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This guy was half in and out of water!
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And this one appears to live in the thatch of our bungalow.
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Raiatea is surrounded by motus, which are empty atolls, that you can sail or kayak over to, and spend your day on your own private island like Robinson Crusoe!
Cheers to you from beautiful Raiatea~

Far From The Holler~

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This is the island of Huahine taken from our puddle jumper plane enroute from Papeete to Raiaitea. This is the land that internet forgot, so please excuse my inability to stay in regular contact.
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There are WAVES here! Lots of ‘em too……
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Raiatea is a sleepy island with very few tourists, and only a couple of places to stay. This is the balcony of our rustic and simple over water bungalow. If you want the Ritz, this isn’t it, but if you want a genuine Polynesian experience, you are in the right place. No crowds, no glitz, no glamour, but also prices that are much less than half of what you would spend on the more touristy islands.
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These are the oldest over water bungalows built in Polynesia and they are on a drop off reef, leading you instantly into very deep water.
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The fish congregate in masses by the bungalows at night, attracted by the underwater lights.
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The sea life here is incredible and abundant and the reefs are pristine. Jump directly off your balcony for snorkeling, and see, sea turtles, octopus, rays, coral, and every variety of tropical fish.
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We arrived Friday afternoon in time for the Polynesian show put on by locals every week.
Everyone of the island attends, and children are instructed in traditional dance from a very early age. It was the most authentic experience I have seen.
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Please excuse my intermittent check ins & cheers for you from laid back Raiatea!