From Society islands
We've moved over to Moorea now, not having been ready to leave Tahiti but knowing the clock is ticking. It seems a shame since getting here was something we've been anticipating for years and now it feels rushed. Our last few days in Tahiti were fun. We met David & Tamsen on Twice Eleven one night at the 3 Brasseurs Brewery and finally had some decent beer since leaving the US. We also made it up to that waterfall on the second try. It turns out that the gate is locked on weekends when the water purification plant employees aren't working, but open on weekdays. Supposedly you're supposed to get a permit but nobody does.
From Society islands
This was a lovely waterfall. It was a classical tropical white stripe of water down a rock face surrounded by lush green foliage. However, where the trail went for this was different- it led to the top of the fall. There were two pretty pools to swim in and the second one reached right up to the drop-off for the fall. You could swim up to it, being careful not to go over the edge, crawl out onto some rocks and sit in the sun, looking down over the fall- crazy! We set out on this hike on our own but of course we met up with other cruisers along the way. That afternoon, there was another sports competition in the waterside park- this was the fruit carrying race for both men & women, followed by a "traditional spectacle" as they call it- traditional dancing with a warrior theme. The fruit races involved the competitors carrying a log filled with bananas & other fruits that made up the required weight. Then they ran two laps around the park on the pavement with no shoes, all dressed in colorful clothing. It was interesting to see.
For all of this we've basically hitchhiked most of the time since the bus is almost useless unless it's mid-day. We've had some interesting conversations this way and have been seriously warmed by the generosity of these people. Whenever we offer a few dollars for gas, they immediately hold up their hand & shake their head. They won't take it. The last man said something in Tahitian and pointed upward. Whatever the motive, they show the kindness & generosity that these islands are known for.
We spent the last day getting groceries, doing laundry, working on the autopilot and that sort of thing. Yesterday's trip to Moorea was 15 miles point to point and we're anchored in Cook's Bay among lots of friends. The anchorage is surrounded by beautiful, high mountains. We got here late in the afternoon and headed ashore to stretch our legs. This island feels more country like than Tahiti but in this bay anyway, the water isn't nearly as colorful. We hadn't gotten very far before we ran into a lady on the side of the road who was giving away pamplemousse. We asked her what the price was and she said "zero" and then she struggled for the words "help yourself". I almost got choked up. Pretty much all of us cruisers agree that the taste of pamplemousse is engrained in our brains now as a rich memory of arriving in the Marquesas. They taste so exotic. And the lady was so sweet to let us have some. Ever since we left the Marquesas, they've been really expensive so we haven't bought any.
From Society islands
We met up with friends on Ardea here after not seeing them since the Tuamotu and found out they were going to hike Mt Rotui today which was on our list to do. So 8 of us set out at 6am today to hike to the summit at a little more than 2700 feet and you start from sea level. Unlike the last ridge hike we did, we found this one to be extremely tight as far as footing goes and downright dangerous but none of us got hurt and we all made it to the summit. The ridge was knife edged and the trail soft such that you had to watch every step you made and make sure there was actually something firm underfoot. To look down either side and see where you'd end up if you fell was not a good idea or you'd lose your nerve. The trail was also pretty overgrown so our legs got all scratched up. But the views from the top were outstanding, our pictures almost look like aerial views since essentially they are! We all felt pretty happy with ourselves for getting back down in one piece and we headed to the Rotui juice factory on our walk home for a tour. But no, they'd closed early for a party! We had to collect ourselves after such disappointment and make a new plan to go to the store and get all the juice, water & celebratory beer we could carry, then sit under a tree to swill it down. Tonight's shower was especially nice since we were all filthy.
Michael, off the sailboat Barfly who we met for the first time today, is a madman hiker. He's got a thick Scottish accent and I find my thoughts are in Scottish this evening after listening to him all day on the trail. He said the hike today held up to the term "Righteous", saying that he learned the word as an American slang, like "man, that was righteous dude!" He uses it sparingly for things that are worthy, things that are so good they move you in a spiritual way almost. OK, I don't fully understand the word, but I'll give it to him; Mt Rotui gave Jon & I a buzz too and we're thankful we're still here to tell about it.