Monday, September 9, 2013

Exploring Ono Island on Foot

Whether you are anchored at Nabouwalu Bay or off Naqara Village, there are wonderful hiking opportunities on Ono Island.  Trails connect the villages and lead to plantations in the interior of the island.

No, they do no play soccer with breadfruit!

Colourful laundry, Naqara village

A couple of days ago, we walked up to the Vodafone telephone tower on Qilai Mountain, starting from Naqara Village. Qilai Mountain is the second highest peak on Ono Island, the tallest being Madre Mountain, and people lived there in the last century.  We had moved the boat to Naqara on the evening before as the west wind had made the anchorage untenable at Nabouwalu Bay.

View of Ladybug anchored at Naqara Bay - if you look closely through the pine trees

The trail was easy to follow and we had the tower in sight most of the way. The downhill path from the pine forest on the ridge was very dry and the rust coloured  needles on the ground made it a little slippery in places. However, the steep climb to the tower proved to be easier than it looked. The wind kept us cool most of the way and we enjoyed listening to the rustle of swaying pine trees. The familiar sweet scent of pine brought back memories of hikes in the Cowichan Valley in British Columbia.

In my tropical hiking dress!

Only two small hills to go!

The view from the top provides a wonderful panorama of Ono, the reefs to its north, east and west coasts and the islands of Dravuni, Buliya and Namara. To the south lie the mountains of Kandavu.

Panorama to the north and east

25metre high Vodafone telephone tower with its 57 solar panels

Tall  grass towers over Rani as she starts her descent

On the return trek, we smelled a sweet fragrance and then saw the wild orchids - clusters of pink flowers with butter yellow centres atop a proud stem standing tall amidst the grass and scrub. They seemed out of context in the surrounding pines.

Deliciously fragrant orchid

Orchids in the wild

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