• Our Kind of High Society

Our Kind of High Society

featuring & by: Lauren Hill

Nestled in the deep sapphire of the Pacific lay the little archipelago of The Society Islands. Amongst the dreamy oases here are Tahiti, Bora Bora, Huahine, and Mo’orea, where stark emerald peaks slope into turquoise lagoons rich in coral reefs and gleaming sandy shoal nurseries for baby black-tips, sting rays and humpback whales. The colors here defy both expectation and imagination – it must be the remoteness of the isles that makes the air so clear and colors so vivd. I want to drink in the beauty around me so fervently that I sometimes forget to blink.

Early mornings in French Polynesia start with a gleaming strawberry papaya drenched in lime juice and followed by fresh baguette baked just up the road. We let the ocean dictate our days, offshores for surfing, windless for freediving and snorkelling the vibrant reefs, onshores for paddling outrigger canoes to the reef passes we watch in the far distance with waves like white horses galloping shoreward. At high noon, we borrow bicycles and peddle to the valleys of rugged, majestic mountain peaks, where traditional marae, or ceremonial centres, once stood, now replaced by simple, white European churches. Tropical flowers span the spectrum from lavender bougainvillea to sunset-hued hibiscus to the signature gleaming white tiare, a tiny-spiralled gardenia. Light winds at sunset call us back to the warm ocean playground of the South Pacific, where surfing culture as we know it began. The pace of life here is slow, and that's just fine. Everything about these little isles spill us back toward the ocean, a reminder us of where we came from, why we're here, and what it means to live as vibrantly as a Pacific sunset.