Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunny Sights in Tahiti

Last Friday, Mark and I – together with our friends on SV Pitufa – paused the usual chores and boat projects for a day (and yes, we even left our computers alone :-)), to explore a little bit more of the island of Tahiti. In pairs, we hitchhiked to PK 22 (pointe kilométrique 22 – the numbers start counting from the capital Pape’ete clockwise and counter clockwise around Tahiti Nui; the bigger round in the tilted figure 8, which, together with Tahiti Iti makes up the island of Tahiti), where the “Trois Cascades” are located. The four of us reunited near the “mile marker” to follow the short road towards the waterfalls. Once at the site (no fee), it was an easy stroll to each of the three tall cascades. We were the only visitors to take in the serene setting. It was prohibited to swim in the pools (“Beware of falling rocks!”) and the bugs were pretty persistent, so after eating our dressed baguettes for lunch, we walked back to the main road. On the seaside, a blowhole was trying to impress us, but since the ocean was very mellow, we had to do with a soft gurgle and a puff of spray. A roaring sound underneath the road announced every wave; a more interesting observation.

The sun was beating down on us relentlessly, while we waited for another ride, partly back to where we started. A friendly Polynesian man with a big enough car to fit four adults on the back seat stopped and brought us to Point Venus (PK10). Along the way, he bought some fresh local fruit, new to us. It was called pomme d’ étoile and its soft flesh had a nice, sweet flavor to it. Pointe Vénus is a small outcrop of land with a lot of history. It is here that Captain Cook built an observatory to record the transit of the planet Venus across the face of the sun, in an attempt to calculate the distance between the sun and the earth. The peninsula defines Matavai Bay, where the early European explorers used to anchor. Now, it is a peaceful anchorage bordering a popular and quite attractive black sand beach. A local student on holiday break stopped immediately after we stuck our thumbs out, and dropped us off at the Tahiti Yacht Club in Arue, where Irie and Pitufa are anchored.

On this beautiful and sunny day, we finally managed to see a few interesting sights on French Polynesia’s most famous island, without spending a dime. And, that was most welcome, since all our other recent activities (like our trip to the US, paying higher than expected mooring fees for Irie, ordering a new jib, buying groceries, bringing boat parts back, paying broker fees to “temporarily import our new sail”, …) have been breaking the bank!
Polynesian man rowing his outrigger (va'a) towards the sunset

This massive tree in Arue developed roots to support its branches!

Va'as (outrigger canoes) race towards Irie at anchor

Sunset in the bay (Arue)

Walking to the "trois cascades" with Birgit and Christian

Waterfall 1 of the Faarumai falls

Waterfall 2 of the Faarumai falls

Number 3 of the Faarumai falls

Fishing in a calm ocean

Bay along Tahiti's north coast

Arahoho blowhole along the north coast

Va'as high and dry at point Venus

Point Venus lighthouse

Black sand beach (hot!) and Matavai Bay at Point Venus

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