Monday, August 6, 2012

Mt. Teurafaatiu hike on Maupiti Island

The wind has been blowing 15-20 Knots from the southeast for the last few days, not great for snorkeling. It seemed the ideal time to explore the land, so yesterday we hiked up the highest mountain on Maupiti, Mt. Teurafaatiu (380m). Steve and Rankin from s/v Gypseaheart came with us while Sandy stayed on the boat to take photos from below. The access to the trail is a set of cement stairs very close to the dinghy tie-up area. The dusty trail wound up the hillside in a moderately steep ascent, most of it under the shade of mango trees. It was a sharp contrast to the muddy, slippery ascent of Mt. Pahia on Bora Bora. There were frequent views of the lagoon, motus, Onoiau Pass, the charcoal coloured volcanic cliffs of Mt. Hotu Paraoa, and the village with it's red roofed catholic church.

All around the lagoon the shallow turquoise water is laced with spidery gold coral reefs. No wonder there are only three safe anchorages on this island, two of them close to the pass and the third off the village. We watched as a sailboat approached the pass from Bora Bora. From our vantage point at the top of the mountain we could see the strong ebbing current flowing out of the lagoon and frothy standing waves at the pass entrance. The sailboat took down it's sails, motored for a closer look and then sensibly turned around, most likely carrying on to Suvarov or Mopelia.

We heard drums playing down below and watched as a procession of people in orange shirts walked down the main street following the musicians riding in the back of a pick-up truck. We found out later that a youth group had arrived on the ferry from Papeete for a week of activities on Maupiti and this was their welcome. On the previous day, we had seen the drummers practicing near the church and I had been allowed to beat a tune on a hollowed out tree trunk drum called a toera. The boys had laughed and encouraged me while an older man made jokes at my expense to everyone else's amusement. The ladies in the audience clapped when I demonstrated a few bhangra moves in me hiking boots!

On the way down from Mt. Teurafaatiu, I took my time as I had stretched a muscle (quadriceps) in my right thigh on the Bora Bora hike and it was still a little painful to bend that leg. As luck would have it, I slipped on the gravelly sand in a fairly level area and stretched the same leg muscle! If only I could find a good masseuse...

The photos that follow are from our first few days on Maupiti, including a walk around the island, mentioned in a previous blog post.

Motu at the pass into Maupiti

Just needs a lick of paint

Ahky's castle gate

Ahky - playing a song for us. 

Scene on the island hike

Fuel efficient island transport

At the public beach.

Beach scene

Carol and Livia from Estrellita are keen kite boarders

Chris and Rankin from "Gypsea Heart"

View from the summit - note the incredible coral reef colours

Snapping a picture from the summit

On the summit

Corals and sand in the lagoon.

A roped section of the hike

View back towards the pass.

Another view of the pass and rocky bluff of the main island - photo courtesy of Rankin

Anchorage - we are the left-most boat - photo courtesy of Rankin

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