After long hours at the South American and New Zealand airports, we are finally in Oceania to start the second part of our world tour. We will spend forty days in the different islands of Tahiti: the Society Islands, the Austral Islands and the Marquesas Islands!
Society Archipelago : Tahiti & Moorea
- Day 211 – Tuesday 30th of July 2019 : A warm welcome
- Day 212 – Wednesday 31st of July 2019 : Chilling
- Day 213 – Thursday 1st of July 2019 : Tahiti
- Day 214 – Friday 2nd of July 2019 : Meet up
- Day 215 – Saturday 3rd of August 2019 : Moorea
- Day 216 – Sunday 6th of August 2019 : Apero on the beach
- Day 217 – Monday 5th of August 2019 : Le Belvédère
- Day 218 – Tuesday 6th of August 2019 : Great hike!
- Day 219 – Wednesday 7th of August 2019 : In the eye of the whale
- Day 220 – Thursday 8th of August 2019 : Apéro!
After long hours in different planes and a very relaxing stay dear Fritha, our super New Zealand host, we are finally in Tahiti!
Lack of luck, our plane was changed and we arrived at 3:30 in the morning in Papeete. Our hosts were kind enough to kindly pick us up for 1000 Xpf (about 8.5 euros). Although the flight went well (it’s really not bad Tahiti Nui as a company … we ate well!): D) we arrive broke like popcorn at the airport. It’s hot as a bitch (as it seems with Laura, pity she does not read my blog … yes Laura, it’s not a hidden message!): 27 degrees at 3:30 in the morning! We leave the plane with our sweaters … we should have anticipated I confess … and entering the airport there are musicians (I hope they are well paid the poor) who sing traditional music on a small scene. It’s super nice and it wakes us up a bit. We pass the customs with fear … we do not want them to discover our two pots of cod brandade and our little duck pot … but eventually everything will be fine. We wait outside and our host whose name I forget (it looks like Tiaou) picks us up. He looks less tired than us! He, his wife, and their two daughters live in the commune of Faa’a, about 4km from the airport, in a pretty house at the end of a cul-de-sac with a beautiful view of the mountains and the sea (but that one will find out when the day is up). We put our things in the living room, and our host tells us that until our room is free we can squat the sofas and chairs. Quentin rush to get shirtless and go down the couch outside, while I put a sweater and I sit on the sofa inside (yes I’m chilly …). Two hours later, a lady comes to wake me up saying that our room is ready. I’m surprised, I have trouble waking up but I’m happy; the other guests left super early! we thought we would have to wait a long time. Quentin was also in a coma and after putting his bag in the room I will not hear it before 11:30. I can not go back to sleep. I settle down and then I decide to go to crossroads (and yeah we’re in France!) On foot. I get ready and there I see the langon from home, it’s too beautiful!
Je mets mes nouvelles lunettes de soleil (je ne sors pas ma casquette Pérou par contre, que je n’assume pas du tout mais qui m’a coûté 5 euros) et je pars. Les gens sont super gentils, ils me saluent avec de grands sourires. Cinq minutes plus tard je vois une grosse voiture qui arrive, c’est Opuhinano, notre hôte. Elle me parle comme si elle ne me connaissait pas et je lui dis que je dors chez elle ! elle se marre et me dit qu’elle ne m’avait pas reconnue et me propose de me déposer à Carrefour. Je suis un peu gênée mais j’accepte ; les gens des îles sont très serviables et généreux du coup je me dis que c’est normal (et ouais comme nous les Mauriciens 😉 ). On discute dans la voiture, on rigole, elle est vraiment gentille. Elle m’explique un peu la vie ici parce que je lui demande si les gens ont les moyens de vivre correctement tellement c’est cher (ouais je sais, droit au but, toujours, sans tact !). Elle me répond à cœur ouvert et me dit que ce n’est pas facile pour tout le monde. Que pour eux c’est difficile, qu’elle n’a pas eu la chance de pouvoir aller étudier en métropole car c’était trop cher d’aller en France. Qu’elle et son mari font tout pour que leurs filles puissent aller étudier et réussir leur vie (là tu te dis que oui tu as de la chance dans la vie, et que tu as des parents géniaux qui ont fait pareil pour toi…). Elle m’explique que les sous qu’ils gagnent avec le airbnb ils le mettent de suite dans des comptes spéciaux pour leurs filles et qu’ils n’y touchent plus et que c’est les petits trajets pour aller chercher les gens à l’aéroport et les ramener qui leurs servent à payer les factures, les ampoules, les trucs cassés par les touristes etc (un trajet en taxi leur fait gagner moins de 10 euros pour rappel…).
I put my new sunglasses (I do not leave my cap Peru by cons, I do not assume at all but that cost me 5 euros) and I leave. The people are super nice, they greet me with big smiles. Five minutes later I see a big car coming in, it’s Opuhinano, our host. She speaks to me as if she does not know me and I tell her that I sleep at her place! she laughs and tells me that she did not recognize me and offers me to drop me at Carrefour. I am a little embarrassed but I accept; the people of the islands are very helpful and generous so I think it’s normal (and yeah as we Mauritians;)). We talk in the car, we laugh, she is really nice. She explains me a little life here because I ask her if people have the means to live properly so it’s expensive (yeah I know, straight to the point, always, without tact!). She answers me with an open heart and tells me that it is not easy for everyone. That for them it’s difficult, she did not have the chance to go to study in France because it was too expensive to go to France. That she and her husband do everything so that their daughters can go to study and make a success of their lives (there you say that yes you are lucky in life, and that you have awesome parents who did the same for you …) . She explains that the money they earn with the airbnb they put in a special account for their daughters and that they do not touch anymore and that it is the short trips to get people to the airport and bring them back to pay bills, light bulbs, things broken by tourists etc. (a taxi ride saves them less than 10 euros for a reminder …). She breaks my heart, I think they have courage and we had a lot of luck in life with Quentin. I’m glad we stayed at home because I think the money is going to help them for something good. We arrive at Carrefour … cable cracking in silence … there is cheese !! cakes !! duck breast !! natural yogurts !! I cannot contain my joy. Strangely and contrary to what I thought, not everything is overpriced. There are foods that are the same price as in France and others, yes, much more expensive! She helps me look for something to eat (pasta … it’s cheap and Quentin will not scream). I ask him if they have bread or buns … of course! She tells me not to take bread because she has but I am embarrassed to eat her bread, and there, the grail: pancakes that look like Breton pancakes, hot !!! I look at the price, less than five euros, zero hesitation, it goes in the box! She is super nice she wants at all costs help me carry my things (I am even more embarrassed). She tells me all kinds of things, and she calls everyone by saying “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”; it makes me laugh.
We go back home (I cannot wait to eat the pancakes … and the stuff full of custard too … it was not expensive …).
Quentin still sleeps like a marmot. She shows me the fridge and settles with me at the table while I smash my pancakes with jam. We continue to discuss, it’s nice, then another tourist arrives; he does not speak French and as she does not speak English she asks me to translate. She offers him some bread for breakfast, makes tea and coffee, and brings us some good coconut milk bread. She takes the opportunity to slip away and I discuss the coup with the young German to the head of Asian and the American accent. He is also in the whole world and I think his budget and even more abused than ours (kind it has zero limit, it is a young person who is very very intelligent and who works in San Francisco … I let you imagine the kind ). He is really super nice, we laugh well. Today he is going to Moorea so he is likely to be seen later. When he goes off his bag, Opuhinano comes back to talk to me. She tells me that she organizes tours of the island and that if it can interest us she would be happy to bring us. She also tells me that she has another room for rent for half less, so I tell her that we are interested in when we come back in September. She is super happy and the note of continuation. I tell her that she should make space for campers, that it would bring him plenty of money! she looks so interested but knows absolutely nothing. I explain what a camper is and that the camper is less boring than a tourist lambda and that if it is a good price, we would not mind camping in his garden. She explains to me that in Tahiti people have a hard time getting paid to sleep in the garden because it is not in their habits but that it is also necessary to pay the water bills etc! Quentin, the sleeping beauty finally appears around 11:30. He is happy and joins the discussion. Opuhinano brings the tourist and then I tell Quentin for the camping, the cheap room and the tours. He is as excited as me so we are happy to get a walk through Opuhinano; it will help the family for children’s studies!
When she comes back from the airport, we all start talking to each other again and again about life in Tahiti. She is really sweet. She offers to drop us off at the Papeete market. So we accept and go with it. I spotted beautiful graffiti on the internet that I would like to find. The market is pretty nice. There are fruits and vegetables that we do not know. We stroll and we let ourselves be tempted by a cheese-stuffed slipper (it’s a cheese calzone actually).
We hang out in the streets, Quentin is looking for a shirt, we find the graffiti that are beautiful and we go back quietly walking along the sea. People say hello, we smile, it’s nice. It is super hot. We go back to crossroads … and here is the drama … we decide to have fun because the Brie is not very expensive. Two girls propose to us to taste tuna mousses and as we are nice they give us back: D We go slowly and on the road we are stopped by three very nice stuffed guys. They shake hands and talk a little. They are very happy to have discussed with us; we will surely see them again tomorrow!
Finally we will have walked well. We will get very tired at home. Quentin will fall asleep reading and I will struggle to write our first adventure here.
Long day chilling in our Airbnb, planning our trip in Polynesia. Nothing much.
After two days of gland we finally come out of our room to visit Tahiti. We tend to talk about Tahiti to talk about Polynesia, but in fact Tahiti is only an island in Polynesia. Tahiti is one of the Windward Islands (Celine and Garou have certainly passed, mouahahah) and it is also part of the archipelago of the Society. It is the largest island of all and is divided into two parts: Tahiti Nui (Great Tahiti) and Tahiti Iti (Little Tahiti). Papeete is the capital of Tahiti and all of Polynesia.
We leave at 8am this morning with Inano and her husband Tea, and their baby, to make our day great. We put the baby at the nursery and Tea at work and we leave all three with Inano. She tells us a lot about her life, and the lives of people in Polynesia. We will make several stops to very beautiful points of view. We will see Moorea in the distance and a turquoise sea facing us. It’s hot and a little humid but it’s nice. We will see the mountains, green and sometimes in the clouds on one side, and on the other the transparent and turquoise sea making us an eye! During our stops we will see caves, waterfalls, gardens and beautiful black sand beaches. As she likes us, she will also take us to see a part of Tahiti Iti where we will discuss with some nice young people in the process of rolling a joint … The ballad will end at the PK18 beach (they talk like that here, the points tourist attractions are signposted by kilometer markers, PK0 being in Papeete). This beach is pretty, but still much less beautiful than the beaches of Mauritius! We were really surprised by the clarity and transparency of the water, we could see our whole body! The place reminds me of Morne beach in Mauritius with crystal clear water and mountains and palm trees in the background. In two minutes we are in the water, we waited for this moment since our arrival on the island. We go for a swim and then Quentin gets his mask because we told him that it was great for snorkeling, which makes us strange because we only see sand under our feet. Two minutes later he comes back, and in fact two meters from us there are big corals full of small fish! So no choice, tomorrow we come back!
After this beautiful day we will pick up a French of our age at the airport, she seems to love Polynesia because it is her second trip here.
We will buy breakfast then we will prepare our meal for tomorrow noon and tonight talking with Marie, the French, and Tea, finally back from work.
After this beautiful day we will go for a big sleep!
This morning Inano offers us to take us to a place we did not have time to do yesterday and then to leave us at PK18 beach. It suits us well since we wanted to go! So after a good breakfast we start all three. It’s gray today but hey, it’s not raining! We arrive at the spot she was talking about, the marai. It’s pretty enough there are two stone statues. We will only stay ten minutes in fact and then it will take half an hour to go 2 kilometers because of traffic jams. She will drop us off at PK18. There are not many people today. We change, we put our stuff and then to the water! As there is no sun the water is very cool … we will snorkel then we will go to bask the pill. Quentin will be the only one to go back to the water, for me it’s too cold! We will stay on the beach a few hours then we will start to return because we have an appointment in Papeete with Axel and Clemence, a couple we met in Bali! They are on honeymoon in Polynesia. We have several choices: walking for hours, hitchhiking, or waiting for the bus. We try to stop but we refuse to take us by making us smiles. We start walking then we will be lucky after five minutes the bus will pass. We go up and we will make the trip for about twenty minutes. Here it’s like in South America: you know there is a bus but you do not know when and it stops where you want. Once at our hosts we get ready and then we talk a little with them before starting for the city center, we have an hour of walking.
An hour’s walk later we arrive at the square where there is what the locals call the trailers: it’s a kind of street food, people sell dishes in their vans and we can settle on tables at middle. It’s really nice atmosphere. We find Axel and Clemence, we are very happy to meet again. We discuss everything, our world tour, their wedding, ours and what they did here. The evening is super nice. We will eat fish with Quentin, very good then we will close our evening in front of a big cup of ice! We will stay in contact because Clémence is a psychomotrician and she will help me to apply in a school in France, with a little luck I can dodge the contest! Quentin and I are walking back, we will take a little less time. After making our bags for our stay in Moorea, we will go to bed.
Early departure, but not too much, for Moorea. Inano drops us off at the ferry. It is well covered on Tahiti, we hope that the weather will be more fun on Moorea! We climb in the ferra, there are a lot of people, we will stay outside during the crossing.
We see a little green mountain of Tahiti, it’s pretty. Approaching Moorea we see the beautiful turquoise blue colors of the lagoon but the mountains are well covered. I listen to the conversations of two people in front of me, I think they are doctors; from what I noticed expat doctors take a little big head but what I especially remember is that there is a white calf dragging in the area! We will cross our fingers!
We get off the ferry 45min later. We will see the taxis. A driver tells us he takes us 5000 xpf to bring us to the campsite! it’s more expensive than camping night! He tells us that as it is on the other side of the island we will not find cheaper, and that the weekend bus, should not rely too much unless you wait very long. I manage to negotiate 1000 xpf less and since he does not want to say too much to the other drivers that we do this price he asks us to find ourselves on the road a little further. On the road he explains us a lot about the island and that camping is the least expensive solution. He advises us to rent a scooter to go around the island. Half an hour later we arrive at the campsite. We are greeted by a tanned grandmother and wrinkled not very smiling. She explains that tomorrow a group of 27 people arrive … the balls. She cashes us directly, then shows us the locations. It is important not to exceed the line eh! the people in the bungalows have paid a lot so they must have the sea view! Do not enter the kitchen with dirty or wet feet, do not leave the food in the sink, do not cook after 20h (we will eat like chickens), it should not be this and no mi. After all these negations I tell myself that the few days in Moorea will be pretty boring! We plant our tent and five minutes after we hit a big shower for well 20min. After the rain we can finally go out, the sky is always covered. We will go shopping in the “village” next door. When you see the prices of the supermarket we say that our meals will not be very varied! We look at the prices of scooters and bicycles; we hesitate. We hate the bike but it’s cheaper … we hesitate. We go home, we start to cook potatoes (to eat with brandade: D). We talk with a young teacher EPS who is on vacation for a month (it’s beautiful life EPS teacher, eh Jacques: P). He is really nice. When he goes away we thaw our brandade puree, it’s too good! Then we take stock of what we will do in the next few days; we must make strategic choices because of the location of the campsite and our budget. We decide to rent a scooter to go around the island on Monday. After this good meal we go for a dip. We have one of the most beautiful beaches, according to the people, in front of the campsite. We go … yes the water is pretty … but the beach is tiny! I am a little disgusted. I wonder why people make a flop of Polynesia because for the moment it does not happen at the ankle of Maurice! The sea is beautiful but there is no bottom and huge sea cucumbers … I feel like I’m going to piss off. We lie down, Quentin falls asleep, I’m pissed off. I go in the water but since there is no sun it is cool … so I will not go higher than my big cucul. When Quentin wakes up we decide to go further if it’s not better. At the public beach there are fewer corals. So we move there and we go snorkeling. Well I do not catch fire I raise my head to tell Quentin it’s naze and at that moment he shows me down the big skate that eats! phew! morale is rising. We go to the coral. There are some nice fish but the water is cold. We turn around for half an hour and then we go back to try to warm up on the sand with the little ray of sun just out. I am bored !!!!! I hate doing nothing and there is absolutely nothing to do! I hope it’s not going to be like this for three months otherwise I’ll fart a cable! After an hour I ask Quentin to return to the campsite. There is a table facing the sea so we move there. The people of the campsite who have a bungalow are a bbq … luck! we watch the sunset with the sound of crackling crisps people who take the drink and smell of bbq that starts. I take this opportunity to write my blog while Quentin reads. The evening will be calm.
This morning we met several people on the campsite: a very nice solitary traveler, Antoine, and a family around the world composed of Marion, Lionel and their two little girls Colette and Irene. There are also two cool young surfers, the teachers of sport with whom we will discuss a little earlier. While having our breakfast the little ones came to play around us, it was funny, Quentin always has the price with the children, and the animals … that must be his beard. After talking around the table next to our tent for almost an hour all together, Quentin and I ended up going for a walk not very complicated and not very far with a nice view of the bay. We decide to find each other in the pension next door where the family has migrated. We have about ten minutes before starting the hike. It’s already very hot and wet Quentin will walk the shirt open and I will remove my tank top! It is a small walk but it climbs a lot. On the road we meet a small family of Polynesians who are happy to welcome us to their island. It’s always a pleasure ! We arrive at the top in thirty minutes and there, I finally say wow !! We see the mountains right and opposite, on 180 ° bay with motus (small islets) surrounded by turquoise blue water! This is really beautiful ! We take our eyes full for half an hour then we turn back; seeing all this water made us want to swim!
We return to the campsite by the beach. There we finally see the landscapes of postcard! Some Polynesians greet us and talk a little with us, it’s nice. Some will take a drink in the water; they have the habit of drinking their beers sitting in the water on the sand or squat on chairs or chairs in the water! Worse! Once at the campsite, we decide to take only snorkeling to go to the motus while swimming. We say that it is feasible; the surfers told us that there was power in the pass only. We throw ourselves into the water ; she is really good she feels good, then we swim quietly. There are corals with lots of fish including “nemos” it’s pretty. By cons the coral is not beautiful; it is gray and black it is a little sad. We advance and after twenty minutes we arrive at the pass. There is power indeed. We swim like crazy to join the other side; there is a lot of bottom in one go and we see three turtles! Good after our experience in Galapagos we are a little less enthusiastic, they are small … but hey it’s cool anyway. Once on the other side (I spend on the different ways to swim to get in front because I have too much galley) we sit on the beach of the motu. The view from the beach is amazing! We see Moorea green and surrounded by turquoise and transparent water; the top! We walk a little and then we go back into the water in the middle of the two motu. The water is clear and there is a “coral garden” with fish. We will not see anything crazy and the water is a little cool so we decide to rest on the other motus. I dread the crossing to return to the other side because we will have to fight against the current. We go back to the middle of the two motus and there we see a boat with people in the middle. It is a tourist boat and generally when they are there, there are stingrays! We come closer and it does not miss, there is a huge line that rubs against a guy (huge too) who gives him fish. She looks like she’s dancing with him. A little further there is another! I try to make nice videos and at one time I feel that it tickles me near the thighs and I think it’s Quentin (muff this sentence can be misinterpreted I admit …); a huge line managed to slip between my legs to join his girlfriend (okay, this sentence too can be misinterpreted …)! Too funny and surprising! We will stay a few minutes before leaving because the sun begins to descend. We will see if we can reach the place where there are sharks but impossible for me, the current is too strong, so I panic and I can not swim. We turn back then we rest two minutes before starting the crossing. We swim like crazy for a good ten minutes, against the current, half suffocating. On the road we will cross a black tip shark big enough and about five huge rays! We decide to go walking a little tired of the day. There are many people who still enjoy the beach, many locals because it’s Sunday. Once at the campsite we get ready, we wait for Antoine and we will see the others in their pension. When we arrive Marion tells us that they spent the day boozing with the boss of the pension who has not stopped opening his bottles of beer and rum. When we are there we are invited to join everyone; there is a retired couple around the world, their daughter with her children and her husband, and two other very discreet people, a man and a woman. We will discuss all evening, we will get married, we will drink, smoke (small mixtures), and the manager who is super nice, and also drunk, will invite us to stay dinner! They had leftovers this afternoon: chicken, fish and pasta with some sauces. At one point I decided to talk with the two who do not speak much and it was pretty huge because the guy is on vacation and he’s a Reunionese! surely a cousin! and he lives in Saint-Laurent des Arbres !! Where we are getting married! So he tells me that he may have rooms to rent, which could interest some people;) (he does not know if he will still be there next year but to follow). We will continue to laugh until midnight. We had to get up really early tomorrow with Quentin to do a hike but we decided to postpone the alarm clock and to reverse the days of hiking. We go back with Antoine and once at the campsite he tells us that he will be on Papeete at the same time as us! So we exchange our contacts to meet there. I put it in relation with our hosts who also want to go camping (I hope they will make us money because we will bring them back!). After this good evening we will finally go to bed.
Awakening super early because of the roosters this morning. The colony of Toulouse who arrived yesterday did not make any noise finally, much to our relief. So we’ll have breakfast and then after a little chat with the surfers and Antoine we start looking for a driver. We go on the road and in less than five minutes a first guy takes us. He can not take us to the belvedere but he has already made good progress. We hitch up again and there a mini van with two young people stops; they drop us down the road and tell us that there is an hour and a half of hiking before the belvedere. We thank them, we walk a little and two minutes later a dad and his daughter recover us and we advance two kilometers! Very good ! We walk ten minutes and we see people watching the hiking signs. I see they have a car … I ask them if they go to the lookout and if they can bring us; jackpot! we go up! We talk a little, they tell us about hikes they made on Tahiti (a little dangerous) then we told them that tomorrow we would like to make a difficult one. They want to come with us … jackpot! they will pick us up by car! We exchange our numbers for tomorrow and we start walking. We stop at the belvedere point of view, it’s really splendid! It is super hot and humid outside. We sweat like sick people. We will go fast enough. We walk in a beautiful forest. The trees are huge and their trunk is flat and sinuous. It’s super pretty! The hike is fairly flat except towards the end when you reach the ridge. The view from above is also very beautiful! We will meet again Isabelle and Walter, the couple with whom we will walk tomorrow. We look at the landscape and then go down to picnic at the belvedere before getting back on the road for the second part of the hike: The Three Pinus Pass. The hike climbs a little more, still in the forest; there are indications of certain plants and archaeological remains (not many). We arrive at the top in thirty minutes and there too we have a nice view on the mountain. We go down another path that will give us great views of the different mountains and pineapple fields. At the end we start to redo the stop. Everyone stops but they are full. Two minutes after a big pickup arrives with four guys super happy to drop us off. We go up to the back and it’s hair in the wind that we will return to the campsite. They were really nice, they drove us to the mini market where we bought food for tomorrow noon. When we come back we go to change to go in the water. As it was super hot all day the water is good! We do snorkeling but the visibility is blah. I let Quentin go further. On the return I will see a moray! I’m staying next to show it to Quentin but he’s too slow. A Dutch girl arrives, she fucks one of the surfer (we saw her coming out of her tent when we were talking to her friend), she looks a little awkward so I offer to show him moray eels. She thought I was going to snorkel for an hour with her but no, I keep my spot to show the beast to Quentin! I tell her that I am not very law if she ever galley. Quentin arrives very happy to have brought me a big shell filled with a big mollusk … how are we going to take out the thing? … I show him the moray eel, she is super fat! We will go back tomorrow too, I think. While sunbathing I will take a shower and watch the sunset. This moment was pretty funny. All the minettes of the colony have landed in their little jersey. Not to say, they are cannons pullet. Just next to a family takes a drink and they have two teenagers who are discreet matte! ah young people! It’s still early but we’re tired. At the time of writing we are on the beach watching the people and the sunset. We will be able to see the others in their pension otherwise we will go for a big sleep, tomorrow we get up very early!
Lack of luck, yesterday we learn that Isabelle and Walter cannot join us for the big hike. So we decide to leave alone anyway. We wake up early, we have breakfast, then we go to the side of the road to hitchhike. The sunrise is really beautiful! We wait, a car passes, two cars, nothing, then after five minutes a gentleman wants to take us but he does not go very far and he advises us to wait for the bus that should arrive the other way. It does not really suit us because the trip will be longer but there are so few people that we decided to try it. I suggest Quentin wait for the opposite side while I’m waiting in the right direction. Two cars telling us no later, a guy with little rastas takes us with a big smile. Great ! We go up and with the luck we have right now, it goes exactly at the start of our hike! We discuss, he’s really nice. He drops us well fifteen minutes later and we start walking. At the beginning the path passes in front of the houses of people who greet us with a big smile. We begin to sink into the forest and there it starts to climb. The trail is not signposted but we find ourselves with our application. We cross the ferns, we climb over big roots, we bypass the river, we cross it several times (there we think of the song Pochahontas: At the bend of the river), we slide halfway. In short, a Polynesian hike. It’s already hot and we started at 7am! It climbs well, we sweat, but we are motivated. After a good hour and a half it gets complicated; the path we found rather easy starts to slide well, we must put our hands on the wet earth, cling to branches and use ropes! Well, we knew about it …
We meet a single girl on the way, who is already coming down! It took 1h30 to go up … we will be a little longer … I would never have done this hike alone; I’m already trouillarde but it was still dangerous. In short, we continue, we cling, we slide, we see the hole in the mountain, lawiiiin, but we see! Ropes burn our innocent little hands (yes they are huh 😀 ). We are serious in fact, let’s call a cat a cat! At times I feel dizzy; Quentin comes down to help me (he is perfect this rodoudou). We are fed up because we never see the end! Three hours later we arrive at a wall of mud with a rope. Quentin is having trouble finding points of support. At the end of five minutes it is up and it’s my turn … uh I galley I can not get my big body up. Suddenly Quentin comes down a little and pulls me so that I can put my foot; it would have been a shame to stop five meters from the end! We arrive at the top and it’s just magic! a 360 ° view of the entire island! We are very happy to have managed to put all this together! We take advantage of the view, we are amazed! After almost an hour at the top, you have to go down again! Well, we apprehend a little but we have no choice. We go slowly and in fact we are faster than expected. We do not get bored (not too much), we are very good. By cons we gather in places, we put more hands in the mud … my t-shirt white and brown and my buttocks seem even more tanned (hiking in shorts … not the right plan!). We will meet five people on our road. We had been told that it was really dangerous, that we needed a bland guide , blahblah.. Once down we are happy to find the road. As we are not far from the big supermarket we think we should go to buy something to have a drink with the family and small sweets … for now … I want too much ice cream! We hitchhike, three cars tell us no and then a guy in huge truck wants us! We are excited! It’s great hitchhiking in truck we have a great view! The Polynesian is happy too, we make him laugh! We are lucky he goes to the supermarket too! Once there we thank him super happy then we will heat the blue card … coca, brownies and snickers icy to taste it: D We will devour all that in front of the supermarket because we have a great view of the sea. this good caloric snack we must go back to the campsite which is super mega far … almost at the other end of the island. We find a gentleman with his daughter who came out of the supermarket who had to slow down to let us cross the pedestrian crossing … suddenly I go for it I ask him to take us! He accepts but it is only ten kilometers, which is already great for us! We arrive at his house and then we look for another car. After five minutes a lady takes us in her van and drops us three kilometers away. Then it will be a little more complicated because nobody has mercy or cars are already well filled. At a bend, after fifteen minutes walking on the asphalt, and even though Quentin tells me that no one will stop here, I make even bigger signs than usual (now I put both hands and I shake them with a big smile) and a guy stops! He tells us that he does not go to the campsite but that he can advance us. Very cool ! He is our age and in discussion we learn that it is also a general practitioner. He tells us that there is work here and that if Quentin wants to practice in the Marquesas or the Austral Islands, there will be no problem. So I’m making my film. We will meditate on it, one year in Polynesia it could be very cool! Quentin will be a doctor and I will make bed and breakfast and a cheaper campsite for the poor on holidays like us! To us the good life! Good of course beautiful mom we will see after the wedding, it’s not for now 😛 The guy is really nice and as he likes us and it starts to rain (there are three drops) he drops us at the camping ! We still have a chance to be sick! We thank him and we start to feel at home. For me, shower straight away and Quentin starts the laundry. I will take over and try to clean my brown t-shirt to make it white again. Quentin will go swimming, I will still be rubbing, it will leave but not 100%. After that we decide to make tea while looking at the pictures. We will see if the family is available for an aperitif then we will go to sleep, tomorrow is the exit of my life, if I do not see whales and I do not swim with I will cry!
Today we will do the trip we booked a year ago (yes I know what you say but I have a dream to achieve). Lack of luck, the whale season seems a little off … all the people we meet tell us they have not seen anything So it’s with the ball in the stomach that I leave this morning, also because this excursion is overpriced … in short, we go after breakfast. We are picked up by boat, class! Two young people arrive: Moana and Trevor. They are super smiling and friendly. Trevor will be the captain and cameraman of the boat (yeah we have a video of the day with the exit …). They ask us what we would like to see. Quentin would like to see everything, I would like to see a whale under water (they laugh because I told them ten times by email). We board the boat and go for a day in the sun! It’s a dream time!
First stop, stingrays! They know a spot that was not used at all to see them. We go there and it’s extra! The rays come up on us, we turn around! The water is transparent, we see the island too well on the other side, it’s magic! We will play with the rays for half an hour then we will take the wide direction of whaling.
After crossing the pass, we see one of the waves where surfers like to go. It’s really nice as a place. After a few minutes we will have the chance to see a big school of long-beaked dolphins! Unfortunately they sleep, so not possible to get into the water, but we’ll see them anyway. We sail for a good hour without seeing anything. Moana explains a lot about whales, it’s interesting. I’m starting to get a reason, we will not see them.
We go a little further, the boat jumps on the water, it moves all the organs.
As they see we are a little sad they try to cheer us up and suggest we go see sharks in a cool spot not frequented. Why not ; Quentin is super happy… it’s not my passion! but it must be nice. We do a tour of the island, it’s beautiful! The island is well discovered, we see all its summits. At one moment we see a lot of birds stirring. Trevor goes for it because there may be something below (big dolphins, sharks, whales etc). Lack of luck the birds are not that agitated, there are no schools of fish and nothing more interesting below? We go back to see the sharks.
We arrive at the famous spot. There is a great visibility! We see the bottom at 15 meters! There are already some sharks. Trevor pulls out a bit of fish and there are more black tip sharks coming up. We go to the water and we swim by observing them. They are as graceful as the rays. They are really beautiful but I am not comfortable. In addition there is a little current and waves so I feel nauseated and I have little vomit in my mask … it would attract them! We swim for a moment then I go back and I check that Quentin is still whole!
First stop, stingrays! They know a spot that was not used at all to see them. We go there and it’s extra! The rays come up on us, we turn around! The water is transparent, we see the island too well on the other side, it’s magic! We will play with the rays for half an hour then we will take the wide direction of whaling.
It will go up a little later and we will leave lunch. Continue on to Cook’s Bay. It’s too beautiful there! The mountains are superb. We see luxury hotels that have their feet in the water and houses for sale (not expensive too!). We see the breakthrough mountain that we climbed yesterday. I still wonder how we managed to do that without hurting! We admire the landscape. Moana goes for their meal (we took sandwiches) and with Quentin and Trevor we look at a beautiful little spotted eagle ray. Quentin had spotted a big one off. We take the snacks and we eat between the two motus where we swam the day before yesterday with Quentin. There are not many people. It’s nice. Fifteen minutes later Trevor tells us we have to leave because we have to bring the meal to the people on the other boat of their company. We go up. It’s always so beautiful. The others are off in search of whales. Five minutes later Moana comes to us telling us that he has good news and bad news. Right away I do not say “no whales” so there will be no good news. But no ! He tells us that his colleagues have spotted a whale, a young male, but that the launch is difficult because it moves all the time. Let’s go ! We will spend all afternoon if necessary. We call them and Trevor tells us we have to wait an hour for them to try the launch; So we go back and try to see the dolphins. It does not matter to us now that we know there is a whale! No dolphin blow we return gently to the spot. The sea is more agitated and the sun is really very strong. It cradles me I fall asleep halfway. Trevor is told to put pressure on others to leave with a laugh. They arrive, Matthew, the boss with whom I was in contact, told me that they come from Tonga, that the guy has his business there but he comes to see the whales here for a week! A week with this company !! It must cost them ultra expensive! Well they are 6 … but it’s still super expensive. Even Matthew looks shocked so it makes us laugh. We give them lunch and we go. The rule here is that each company can only have one of its boats near an animal in one area. The boat must be at least 100 meters from the animal and the swimmers 30 meters. We go there we meet a boat with two Japanese who can not swim … Ten minutes later we see the whale! We are excited. Moana spots the moment of immersion of the animal and from there it is counted how long it stays under water. We also find its position at the ascent. If it goes back to the same place, we will go to the water. We do this for a good hour and a half. I fall asleep halfway between each ascent so it’s hot; I’m afraid of having an insolation. When I start to lose hope (it’s still at that moment that something happens), Moana tells us to go for it and get into the water! We will try, even if we are not sure where the whale will go back. Trevor guides us from a distance. There are big waves and a bit of current but I’m good, we have to stay close to Moana. The water is blue! I rarely saw that; we understand very well the expression “to be in the blue”. It’s very beautiful to watch. We arrive at the dive site of the animal and there tears come to my eyes; we see it, downstairs, 30 meters deep! There is a huge white mass that rests. That’s wonderful. The sun’s rays seem to show us the direction it’s magic! I look, crying like a madeleine. At one point we lose sight of her and then two minutes later, she arrives !!! My heart beats the shaman, I must hold my breath because crying I make a lot of noise. We see her go up, her head approaches us; we are all three in front of this extraordinarily beautiful animal. Moana has told us not to be afraid, that she will ever run on us even if she could come near and touch us, she will not hurt us. We look, she comes slowly to us. We are really close to her, we do not move. We start to see his whole body, it’s magic. And to top it off, as she has seen, she turns a little and there we have the right to the most beautiful moment of our lives: an “eye contact”! There I burst into tears. I still have that moment engraved in my mind and I believe it will be there forever. She goes away quietly and we go up the head. The first thing Quentin says is, “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life” (nice fiance, yet a whale he sees one every day and he sleeps with it!). I’m crying in my mask so they both laugh at me. Trevor arrives and tells us to quickly go back up so that the other boats try to launch because they were super nice they agreed to stay on the boat when they saw that we went there to try to see something. So it was even more extraordinary because there were only three of us facing the animal and that is certainly why it came up so close to us. We tell him our experience and there we all watch my video which is just exceptional. They are too happy for us. Trevor tells us that he was able to film the whale’s release! Our souvenir video should be great! There I do not stop smiling and I tell them we go where they want I do not have anything to do! We leave the spot laughing. They suggest we go see turtles, whatever, in addition they will never be as big as those we saw in the Galapagos.
We only talk about this moment on the way, stars in the eyes.
We arrive at the turtle pass, the water is cold and there is power. We let ourselves be carried but lack of luck we will not see anything, we do not care anyway!
We take the boat and we go back between the motus to make a last dip and drink a shot. Trevor puts a small piece of fish in the water. Huge rays are coming! There are also plenty of small fish. I put a piece between my toes and I feel the fish chew in! Quentin goes in the water with a piece of fish and the rays come up on him! He spots a huge moray so I go in the water. Moana follows us to take her on video. He is too scared because she is super fat. We turn around five minutes then we play with the rays that come on us, it’s really cool!
After this great day we must return. The boys are very happy to have made us happy and we have gone out with them. We leave with stars in the eyes.
Returning to the campsite we will watch the video fifty times on the computer. Then Quentin will go to the beach. I will be contacting Marion for tonight’s Polynesian dance outing. It should not be very far but in the end we will have to hitchhike so Quentin is not very wanted because the evening we risk galley. So we cancel and we find them tomorrow because they will sleep in the same place as us! Big drink in perspective!
I discuss with one of the monitors of the colony; I sell him a dream with our whale and he tells me about his life, which is not bad either.
After all that we go to dinner and sleep, tomorrow we try to make a late morning finally. We will not do snorkeling again, we have already seen enough nice things!
This morning we pack all our stuff because we leave the campsite direction Papeete. Marion, Lionel and their daughters were offered to meet on the public beach because there is a kind of fair with local products. I warn crazy grandma that we go and leave our bags here in the morning, yes until noon grandma! The rehearsal! We leave. It’s really too hot outside.
We arrive at the fair; there are artisans and people who sell local products. We start by taking a cut pineapple that will be delicious! We go around. There are many pearl merchants. There are stalls for the children in the middle and we find the busy little family doing works of art with the girls. We let them focus and we continue our turn. We spot a stand for lunch. We will be stalling on the beach, we mate the girls from the campsite and then we decide to go get food. We go to the stand and we order a snack … a big sure thing! Ten minutes later we find ourselves with two large baguettes crammed bread … We will eat on the beach, eventually the others had to return to their board for lunch. I can only eat half but Quentin will finish both! After he will be a little suffering …
We go back to the campsite, we take our things and go to the boarding house to say goodbye to Ronald. He thanks us and tells us that the bus should go in not long but Lionel insists that we try to put everything in the car of their friends. We try to stop because we think it will be impossible to put everything in the car but as nobody wants us, Lionel returns and puts everything in the car. We will be tight but we will close the doors! We go to the ferry. They decide to drop us off and return the car to their friends, at the risk of missing the 15h ferry. We arrived quite late and the time for them to go back and forth is likely to be quite short. We will wait for them but no sign of them. When it’s time we get on the ferry and continue to watch if we see them. Five minutes before the departure of the ferry they finally arrive! Their friends dropped them! We are super happy and they too, especially relieved. We find ourselves on the bridge and we take advantage of the trip that will be quite short because the captain goes to the bottom!
Finally they would like Inano to take them home with us. When she arrives we hide Quentin in the trunk with the luggage. They will stay home a few days in camping mode thanks to us!
We arrive, they discover the house, we settle. We decide to go shopping. Quentin proposes to mount the tents of Marion and his family while waiting as he does not want to come. Inano is super nice she drops us at the crossroads while she is in a hurry and late! We are all too crazy at the crossroads (especially Marion, she devalizes the cheese department!). Tonight we will have a great apero-dinner well franchouillard. We buy too many things and then we realize that we forgot to take bags … the morons! Good bus will be hitchhiking. We pay, we go out and there we make big signs to have a driver. We are lucky in five minutes a guy in a nice big car that goes on Faa’a takes us too!
Ten minutes later we arrive and there we get busy to prepare the drink. There is an American couple who is there. They are very kind and impressed by our world tours.
We sit down to table and there we have a cheese party! We eat super fast, the bottle of wine goes down very quickly too: D In the middle of the meal another American arrives and comes to us to discuss it. He is very friendly and asks us full of advice on some countries. When they are all gone to bed we are only four with Quentin, Marion and Lionel. We eat, drink and laugh until midnight, when we say goodbye. It makes us strange because we really like them! So we meet in Paris when we return! Quentin and I have only 4 hours to sleep, tomorrow we leave for the Marquesas Islands.
Marquises Archipelago : Nuku Hiva & Hiva Oa
I will update the texts later because my internet is crap here. So come back to check the pics where I wrote “photo” 😀
- Day 221 – Friday 9th of August 2019 : A golden family
- Day 222 – Saturday 10th of August 2019 : Nuku Hiva
- Day 223 – Sunday 11th of August 2019 : Another great day
- Day 224 – Monday 12th of August 2019 : Suzanne
- Day 225 – Tuesday 13th of August 2019 : French cuisine!
- Day 226 – Wednesday 14th of August 2019 : Goodbye my friends!
Awakening super early, we are tired … but hey, today we will discover a new place so we are happy!
We are dropped off at the airport with the nice American couple who are super excited for us. We will wait an hour the plane and then left for 3 hours of flight. It’s funny because there are no seats allocated on the plane! We try to go to a window but lack of luck we will be on the wrong side so we will only see the ocean …
We arrive, it’s gray! I had contacted a person, Maria, for an excursion tomorrow and she offered us a transfer by a person we do not know Eve or Adam, and go camping with her and her family tonight , for free. So nice ! We accepted.
We wait, a person comes to tell us that Charles arrives … Charles was to be a woman at the base, but why not! We’re waiting for Charles outside. People come to us and ask us if we are waiting for someone and propose to host us. They are trying to guess who Charles is coming to wait for us. It’s raining outside we are a little disgusted. People tell us that here it’s not like Moorea, it’s the end of the rainy season!
Half an hour later Charles arrives but he was not aware that he had to pick us up. It is the son of the lady who had to take care of it. We ride with him, he is very kind. He tells us it’s clogged up on the road, it’s raining a lot. We will not see the landscape but we will see very beautiful pine forest and horses. I fall asleep halfway.
An hour later, we arrive at Maria’s place. We are welcomed by her and her husband (May), and their two children (Tehia and Tehetou). They have it really super nice. They tell us that they prepared us a room because they did not want us to camp because it’s raining outside! We hallucinate! We had heard that the Marquesans were nice and there it is confirmed! We put our stuff and to top it off they were waiting for lunch! The meal is delicious. They tell us that tonight we are going camping in their house where we have to hike tomorrow. We are super happy. They tell us that we do not need the tent because it is in a kind of house they built! Even better ! They go there every weekend to rest and see their family who is also traveling.
We prepare our things. We only take what is necessary. May first prepare the boat and then join him later with the others. We are well loaded, there is food for a whole colony! We find him, we load the boat and it’s gone for 30 minutes in the big waves. We see the entire south coast of the island and it’s really very beautiful. It’s wild and green. It is not nice but at least it does not rain! We see mountains that unfold as and when. We have two passengers with us that we must leave on a sailboat; they have been traveling for three years and met on the way. We put them on a sailboat in a beautiful bay and we will resume our journey to go to the bay next door. It’s splendid ! mountains, coconut palms and a black sand beach!
We have to get out of the boat and take all the stuff, put them on the beach and help Tehia and Mai push the boat so that Tehia can moor it further because the wind is too strong where we are.
I have to take off my pants because the water is too high. We have a lot to transport. We will make several trips. We will meet some family members who are discussing.
We see some pretty wooden houses facing the sea. Theirs is really in front of the sea. It was Mai who built it. Inside it’s very simple; the soil is sand. There are plenty of coconuts that dry on wooden planks. They harvest, cut and dry them for sale to a plant that will make Monoi oil. Maria is helped to tidy everything up and then put the dry coconuts in big bags.
After that we will set up our beds for the night and we will go outside until we can do something to help them. Maria tells us that the whole valley belongs to her family! We hallucinate! It’s so huge and beautiful!
May and Tehia arrive and set up the generator. We have light it’s not bad. They brought a big fish so tonight we will make sashimi. Maria will prepare a great sauce with soy sauce. The fish is huge! We will participate in the preparation by laughing and listening to their stories. We will go to bed early, happy with our meeting with this generous family.
After having a good breakfast with Maria and Tehetou Maria (Maria cooked us “firifiri”: Marquisian crepe-based donuts), we help her to tidy up a little and then we prepare our bags for today and to return to Taiohae.
Mai and Tahia come back with a whole flock of tourists that they picked up early this morning. They are so numerous that they had to ask two other sailors to help them bring people.
Everyone finds us in front of the house where Maria welcomes them. There are two big families, a couple and a group of old friends. May do the debriefing for the day and then we go towards the waterfall.
It is super nice but really hot. Quentin and I are responsible for staying behind to watch for no one to get lost or slip. We sympathize with François, a super dynamic and very funny mother, and his daughter Alice, who seems to like us very much. We discuss all four and then with others from time to time. The valley is really beautiful, very green thanks to the rain that has fallen the last days.
We walk and we plunge into the forest. A guy joins us, he is a little in his world but he is kind. He shows us the hiding places for the pig hunt it’s funny. Mai tells us the stories of the valley and we learn that there are sarcophagi in a mountain! We can see one out of the three; the bones would be arranged side by side but no one really knows why. We continue to have a nice view of the waterfall. Unfortunately we cannot reach it because it is too dangerous; there could be falling rocks because of the heavy rains of the last days.
We’ll have a break grapefruit and fresh coconut that Mai has cut in thirty seconds with his machete, then we turn back to go to lunch. Some will go to lunch with Maria’s cousin, and a family of Americans, Quentin and I will have the chance to have lunch with Maria and the children. They prepared a bbq with beef and breadfruit fries (among others). We enjoy this moment a lot! As it is late and we have taken too much time for lunch we have to hurry up packing everything and get on the boat to pick up the others on the next bay.
Another boat arrives to take people because we are even more numerous. Quentin will have to go to the other boat with the American. I will be with Françoise, her family and all the others. The sea is rough, the boat is good, Francoise is soaked, the girls scream and crack the pear. Mai turns around once in a while to check that everyone is on the boat. We see the sunny coast, it’s beautiful! We take full eyes!
Half an hour later we arrive at the port. We say goodbye to Francoise and her family then with Maria and the children we wait for Mai who went to bring tourists to their pension. We talk with Maria, it’s nice, she’s really adorable; she is only 3 years older than us!
When Mai arrives, we get in the car and we go home quietly. Tonight they have a rehearsal for the worship of tomorrow; Maria and Mai will be on guitar and singing.
The evening will be short enough finally, we will fall asleep on the bed without even going to dinner.
the church to pray. We were invited to attend Maria’s worship and her family at their friends’ home. They are all Pentecostals. Mai will play the guitar and Maria will sing.
After breakfast, an old gentleman arrives. We do not understand everything he says but he takes us to the friends. We are greeted with big smiles. A little girl gives us a flower to put on the corner of our ear. We sit behind the old gentleman and everyone comes to say hello and welcome us.
Mai and Maria go behind the desk. There is a lady who takes care of slideshows, another guitarist, and another person singing with Maria. For thirty minutes they will sing and play music in Polynesian and French. The lyrics will scroll on the screen so everyone can sing. The Polynesian is really very pretty. After that two people will come to recite texts and anecdotes then the music will resume.
After the worship we are introduced to everyone. May even ask some family members who live in the north to host us and of course they accept because they are too kind!
We thank and greet everyone and then we go back.
Quentin and I decide to go for a walk; there is a beautiful bay not far that we would like to explore. We spend lunch on the beach and walk to Colette Bay. There is an hour of walking approximately, in full sun, and it climbs! We have pretty points of view on each side. When we arrive there there is a family that makes a BBQ and a couple who bronze on the little space “beach” that there is. The bay Colette is very pretty but there are plenty of big stones so it’s not the best for swimming; but there is still a mini zone with black sand.
We sit under the trees for lunch. We are in the shade of the blow it feels good. We wait until the couple at the end goes away to go and take their place. Finally after fifteen minutes we will be alone on the beach and in the bay; perfect for getting naked! I’ll be the first to go in the water naked, then Quentin will see that it’s still not bad and will do the same. It is super hot outside and the water is lukewarm. There are some waves Quentin tries to surf on but I tell him to be careful because we are alone and we do not know the currents of the area (nowhere). We will alternate between sunbathing and swimming for an hour before the arrival of a herd of curious cows. I will still put my pants in case the bulls try to load us …
After this good time we get dressed (and yes we can not play Adam and Eve all day) and we try to hide to reach the road because a big bull stares us and makes us flipper. We are good to leave now because five or six people arrive and there is little space on the beach.
We go back slowly. We meet lots of people in front of the sea, locals. They play petanque, prepare the evening meal and talk. It’s Sunday, people are getting together.
We arrive and we find everyone. Tehia prepares the bbq, too cool! Tonight we will change wild sheep! Maria asked her uncle to give him a piece; he will hunt on an island full of wild sheep where no one lives. In itself it’s really cool but I’m not a big fan of sheep. If it is I will love (and I know that mom will get crazy because I refuse to eat in France …).
We discuss taking a drink that I went to buy with Maria. We wait for the meat to cook. Quentin remembers that Sonia brought us a pot of foie gras. Good idea ! We are really happy to share it with them because only Mai has already eaten it. Maria tells us many French dishes that she would like to eat. So with Quentin they are offered to cook them when we return from the north. She is super happy and accepts! We’re having a great time, one more, all together. The sheep is really good, not strong and tender. We enjoy ! After dinner we continue to discuss a little and then go to bed.
To thank Mai, Maria and the children for their hospitality and generosity, Quentin suggested that we invite them to have breakfast on the harbor. There is a small restaurant that does not look like that but makes great breakfasts according to Maria. So as they accepted, we leave for breakfast very early because there are many locals and sailors captains who like to linger there.
This morning it’s raining cats; not very encouraging for us as we are going to rent a car for two days! We remain optimistic, there are some clearings from time to time. We all get in the car and we take our big bags with us. We arrive on the port, no tuna fishermen unfortunately but the bar is open for breakfast.
We order tons of things: raw fish with coconut milk, crepes, homemade chocolate buns, ti dad, tea, coffee and chocolate. Only good things! We settle and we enjoy! At times the rain falls in a shower! Mai and Maria who are really adorable and who want at all costs to avoid camping, full of calls to accommodate us. Maria has her grandmother in Akapa, in the north of the island, and wants us to stay at her house if she wants to. She ends up joining her and her grandma gladly accepts us! We will have to bring him some food. It may sound strange but for people who live in the south of the island, going to the north seems like a mission! They never go there! And the same for the people of the north. Those of the North wait for the Aranui boat to bring food every month to get off! So as we have the car, it is with joy that we will bring fish and bread to Suzanne, the granny to the Italian and Spanish origins of Maria.
After breakfast we leave to pick up the car; Maria and Mai drop us off and we will go back home and look for food. It’s easy enough to rent; We go around the car in five minutes, we pay and we go. We go back home, we talk a little and then we go to the craft market. We would like to buy tiare oil to avoid the bites of mosquitoes and nonos (flies that bite!). The market is small but we find what we need. We buy food for lunch and then we leave. It’s gray but it does not rain.
We have an hour and a half maximum to go to the top of the island so we are not too in a hurry, which makes us accelerate is the fish thawing in the trunk. We will take a beautiful road that will take us through the valley. Lack of luck some of the points of view will be under the clouds because of the rain but we will try again tomorrow. We see waterfalls and bays, it’s beautiful, even if it’s gray. There are coconut trees everywhere and lots of other fruit trees. The road is really pretty.
We see the mountains which are steep and which have very particular forms, well pointed in places.
We make stops in turns with extraordinary panoramas! We take full eyes! We understand why some painters like to come here!
We arrive in front of Suzanne’s green-blue house but we are not sure if we are in the right place. This is the first house in the village. I go out and I shout her name, she confirms that we are in the right place. His house is at the top of the hill, the view is beautiful! She has a very pretty garden with plants that we have never seen before.
She is adorable Suzanne! she calls us by affectionate names like “my baby”, “darling” … She is very dynamic and reminds me of my grandmother. We immediately see that she is a Polynesian with European origins. She was cooking and of course we have no choice, the hospitality and generosity of the Marquesan invites us to lunch! We accept because it seems to make him very happy to have company. She shows us where to put our stuff … we have a room! After that we help her set the table and after she recites her prayer we have lunch. It’s very good! She speaks a lot and is very playful it’s really nice, it feels good with her.
After lunch we leave it because we would like to go for a hike to visit a bay, Anaho Bay, and if we have time, Haatuatua Bay.
We take the road again. It’s always so beautiful. The only problem is that it’s raining cats. We arrive at the beginning of the hike. We park and wait until the rain stops but it does not stop; in addition we get eaten by mosquitoes, my skin is full of pimples! After twenty minutes it calms down a bit we decided to go. Some people come back and look at the end of their lives. Others arrive and prepare.
It finally stops raining when you start walking. It’s muddy but not insurmountable! In ten minutes we are at the point of view of the two bays. Luckily they are lit by some rays of sun, it’s really beautiful! One of the most beautiful landscapes we have seen in Polynesia. There are some sailboats and catamarans that are moored, the sea is turquoise in places and we can see the different coasts very well.
We continue the road, we decide to go down. Oddly enough, even though it was a lot, the soil is not very muddy. We are moving fast. Half an hour later we arrive at the bottom; it’s a postcard landscape that unfolds! A dream beach, sand as we rarely see (brown and yellow, very fine) and a blue sea, with curved coconut trees that seem to dive in. We are amazed.
As it is early we decide to go to the other bay. We walk along the beach which is more and more beautiful, we see the mountains, the coast is too beautiful!
We arrive in an inhabited area; there are some huts of fortune but nobody in there. We discover new mountains really very beautiful and very steep. There are some horses grazing in the fruit plantations. We see the landscapes we expected coming here: a lot of vegetation, mountains, horses, beautiful beaches, and nobody! that’s the Marquesas I had in my mind! A little corner of paradise.
We arrive in the other bay … wow! Too beautiful this beach with these big waves and turquoise water caught between two high mountains and green. We admire the landscape and as the water seems very agitated we decide to return to the other bay to swim.
In less than two Quentin is in the water. The water is lukewarm and clear. We say that this is one of the most beautiful beaches we have seen and that we are very lucky.
We can not stay too long because it is late so we pack everything. Two minutes later, without warning, a heavy rain falls on us! We rush under a makeshift hut to protect ourselves from the rain and the wind. It is, by chance, only a short shower. We get back on the road, the rain starts as quickly as it came, there is no wind either and the sun makes some appearances. The road is not as muddy as we thought despite the rain, so it will not take too long to get back to the car.
We return quietly to Suzanne who is happy to see us again. She does not stop talking, even in the shower. It’s funny because it is 18h and the meal is already on the table! Fortunately we did not eat much before!
We shower then we go to the table super early. During the meal she tells us many interesting things about Polynesia. She tells us about the tsunamis, she experienced some of them and tells us that when there is, a thud rouses all over the valley. She tells us how people lived before, the difficulties that Marquisians have to live here, the problems with Tahiti who ranks all the money and does not share with the other islands, the problems on some atolls that collapse and where people will have to be sent to the other islands … She is really very interesting, we have a great time. We are really happy to have had the chance to meet her, it’s a grandma in gold too!
After this good meal, I do the dishes, and she decides to go watch TV. I take the opportunity to write a little because I’m a little late on the blog … and Quentin falls asleep almost illico … not even 20h!
Wake up early enough this morning but in good company. Suzanne has already come out to fill our belly, there is even chocolate spread!
Mai calls Suzanne around 7:30 and offers to go home with us and bring her home tomorrow. It’s really nice because they do not seem to come very often on Akapa.
So after breakfast we pack our things and Suzanne is preparing her little bag for the evening. She will come to visit with us at the same time, it is rather nice because she leaves her house only to go for a walk or go to get food once a month when the Aranui arrives, and luckily, it happened this morning! So all the small supermarkets are refueling and people will rush to buy as much as possible.
We start under a cool shower. Suzanne offers us to go see the beach. It’s really pretty, there are coconut trees everywhere. She greets everyone, she is a little grandma of the whole village. We meet her two sons and we tell them we bring her back with us to France to laugh. The people are very nice here. We look at the sea and the bay; we understand better why people learn quickly the arrival of tsunamis, the valley is very cashed and suddenly the echo spreads fast and strong.
We take the road, we stop on some points of view where we had passed the day before because this morning the summits are a little more clear and sunny. Suzanne talks all the way, she tells us a lot of things, it really looks like my grandmother!
When one arrives on the set the weather is covered and the view is blocked. We see rocks on the road and we decide to turn back in case there is a landslide.
Arriving in Taiohae, Suzanne offers us to eat at the restaurant. Obviously the sandwiches we bought on the road do not try it more than that; me neither to be honest! We go to a small restaurant that serves as a bakery. We tried to go twice but it was always closed. This time it’s open. The dishes look good. Quentin will take wild pork marinated in a Chinese sauce and Suzanne and I will take raw fish (succulent bluefin tuna) marinated in a Chinese sauce too. The meal is hearty and really super good, we enjoy.
As the mini markets close during the lunch break, and as we are all tired we go back to take a nap. Suzanne will stop talking only when she sees us closing our eyes with fatigue. It will crumble in the blink of an eye too …
Quentin and I wake up first and take advantage of the silence to prepare the shopping list for tonight’s meal. To thank our guests we decided to cook them dishes that Maria wanted to eat: quiche, salty cake and a good French dessert: the tarte tatin they do not know.
We wake up Suzanne who is doing a good and foolish form when I wake her, and we go around the supermarkets supplied by Aranui the same morning. We will meet people whom Suzanne knows, including her daughter, Maria’s mother, and Teheihetu (the daughter of Mai and Maria).
When we have everything we need we go home and we start cooking with Quentin. Maria’s mother also comes to talk, accompanied by Teheihetu who has been entrusted to her and another of his little girls, who is also very talkative. They will only stay an hour and then leave.
We will cook for hours. May, Maria and Tehia will return meanwhile all happy to see everyone. Maria and Mai will go to a rehearsal for worship, and look for Tehetou at the granny while Suzanne and Tehia will watch game shows while we finish cooking.
Lack of bowl cooking is super long because their oven is not very practical. So we all chat around the table laughing, showing pictures of our families and us when we were little. We improvise an aperitif. It’s really nice, it feels really good here. May explain to me how one cultivates the vanilla, he cultivated a lot when he was younger. I understand better now why it’s so expensive! We have to wait a year to have a plant when we planted the seed, then a few months before having the first flower. When you have flowers you have to polish them yourself, one by one, but not all as soon as you have the first flower. Then you harvest your pods, you dry them for weeks then you can use them … must be patient. He was happy to add that if you soak the fabrics on which you dry your pods of beer, the perfume is even stronger.
Around 20h we sit at the table (for them it’s late). They are all excited to taste everything and enjoy it too! We’re all laughing together and we’re eating like pigs. Beers are passing by.
When we’re finished, Tehia is chore of crockery (he was a bit forced the poor), granny is going to lie down, Maria takes care of Tehetou and we talk with Mai who tells us that he is happy that we are happy to have shared all these moments with us and that they like to receive people who travel because it allows their child to learn a lot about what is happening elsewhere. He tells us a lot of nice things but his eyes are closing slowly; it’s time to go to bed. We all say good night before going to collapse on our mattress.
As Tehia is back to school and as he leaves at 6:30 this morning we get up to say goodbye.
We find Suzanne who is happy to see us and informs us that Maria, Mai and Tehetou went to get breakfast. We prepare hot water and cutlery. A few minutes later they come back with lots of good things to eat and with their usual big smile. We all sit down to eat, Maria’s mom has come too. We have a good time and it’s time for us to leave for the airport. May give me an envelope that we have to open on the plane. We make some photos all together and I burst into tears … it surprises you? Maria tells me that they have hosted several tourists but “not like us”. It touches me and makes me happy, it means they also had a great time with us.
We say warmly goodbye and we give them an appointment in France where we will do our best to see them! It’s with a twinge of heart that we leave for the airport.
It’s a dog’s day, it’s raining cats. We hung out stops to admire the scenery but finally we will not stop. It does not rain anymore on the airport side where we arrive an hour later. We park the car in the “car park” and then we wait in the airport for the moment of departure.
The flight will only last 40 minutes. We will see in the distance the beautiful Nuku Hiva where we met some fabulous people. To us now the discovery of Hiva Oa.
We arrive but we know that it will be different (especially in terms of budget because accommodation costs us a blind). A lady asks us who comes to pick us up. She calls Jean, our new host. He is a French expatriate since 1970, it seems to me. He looks nice too and he is talkative. To be honest I’m half listening because I’m still thinking about Maria and her family. Jean is adorable he makes us go around the corner in his 4×4. On the other hand, it does not roll very fast, we did not have to exceed 40km / h … it rolls with prudence it is good;)
The island is really very beautiful too. We are lucky the weather is clear and the weather is nice. He shows us everything and explains everything and then takes us to his house where we rent a small studio.
It’s very pretty at home and the studio is great! This is one of the nicest accommodations we have had (well we pay the price too … but when you say that a guy wanted us to camp for that price on Nuku Hiva, we are pretty happy).
We settle down and have lunch then he will come back to get us to go shopping and see for car rentals at his friends’. We take the opportunity to ask for information on all on horseback, and on an island next door; we take the contacts that I will call later.
When we go back Quentin falls asleep and I try to update my blog with the little internet there is. We will do nothing more tonight.
I will update the texts later because my internet is crap here. So come back to check the pics where I wrote “photo” 😀
- Day 227 – Thursday 15th of August 2019 : Hiking
- Day 228 – Friday 16th of August 2019 : Petroglyphs
- Day 229 – Saturday 17th of August 2019 : Lara Croft
- Day 230 – Sunday 18th of August 2019 : Hanatekuua
- Day 231 – Monday 19th of August 2019 : Gauguin, Brel and Jean
- Day 232 – Tuesday 20th of August 2019: Tahuata
- Day 233 – Wednesday 21st of August 2019 : Chill and apero
- Day 234 – Thursday 22nd of August 2019 : Goodbye Marquises islands
After a good night’s sleep in our little bungalow we have a good breakfast and then we go to discover the bay and in search of a ceremonial set, in Ta’a Oa, where we should see a tiki . There you wonder what a tiki is; it is a sculpture in wood or stone, which represents a face or a body of man. For the inhabitants of Oceania it is a representation of the ancestor, half-man half-human.
As we do not have a car we decide to leave on foot. The route according to maps.me is 3:30 to go … but hey it’s never correct. We start, it is really too hot and humid, we sweat even before being out of Jean!
We go down the hill, and we go through the village towards the dispensary because we would like to see if Elvie is there. Elvie is a “friend” of Marie, the surfer we met on Papeete. She put us in contact because she and her boyfriend could possibly advise us and walk us. Elvie had written to me yesterday but I only saw it this morning and since I do not have internet and it is the nurse of the island we thought that it would be easier to go to dispensary than waiting to have internet. When we arrive, a gentleman waits but he tells us to go ahead as we just want to see Elvie quickly. A big beautiful brunette opens the door with a big smile, it’s her. We exchange our numbers and she offers to see us tonight, we accept! We leave the clinic and we resume our journey. We will follow the paved road all along but it is not unpleasant here because from time to time we have pretty views of the valley and the coast. By cons, it goes up!
It is sporty. 1h30 later (and not 3:30 as we had said maps.me) we arrive at the village (it’s a big word) of Taaoa. There are some houses and a beautiful stone church in the middle of the main square. Take a road that climbs to the right. We see lots of fruit trees that make us salivate (we love the grapefruit corner they are delicious). At some point one has the choice between continuing on the paved road or engaging in the bush. Maps.me tells us to go to the bush so we go. The terrain is not too muddy despite the heavy rains of the day before. We slowly climb the path and we arrive at the site of Upeke. We meet a family who lodge at the Pearl Lodge (the hotel of the rich). The site is pretty pretty; in the middle of the forest, a little in the undergrowth.
As it is a private site, people do not bother to brush. We will learn later that it is quite common here and that people do not pay much attention to their heritage and that our dear President and the Mayor of the island have nothing to do with it either; as a result, the heritage risks losing itself and becoming damaged. There is not even a museum on Marquisian culture here! Yet John and his friends would have been happy to do something. The government has even let people destroy Jacques Brel’s house! In short, we are on the site. We follow the arrows. It’s pretty it’s a bit like Indiana Jones. We are on the lookout for petroglyphs. We look at all the stones but nothing is obvious to us. We go deeper, we decide to climb a little on the stones and explore further. Good idea we had because we fall face to face with the tiki. He is big enough.
We look around if there is not more to see then we turn back and we take the road back to the village … the maps.me route was not really the most ideal in fact.
We decide to go take a look in the church. It’s simple but it’s pretty.
Then we head to the beach to eat our snack that Quentin prepared this morning: steak sandwich and onions: D
The beach is super pretty; we take our time before going back to Atuona.
The return will seem endless because it climbs well and we already have 3 hours of walking in the legs.
An hour and a half later we arrive at Jean’s house. It’s early enough as we left early.
I cut a grapefruit that I took in a tree and we have our little snack on a bench outside. Elvie sends us a message and we propose to come and dine with them tonight! We are happy, it will be nice.
Aline, Jean’s wife, who is very sick, is in the garden. We greet her and discuss with her. She shows me plants from her garden. She is really nice too. We go around his garden talking. Quentin leaves him reading in the bungalow. When Jean arrives he is tired because of his excursion (he is a guide too but it is a bit too expensive for us). We discuss then he shows me stones he picked up and explain to me what people were doing petroglyphs. After he takes me to his studio to show me his sculptures on bone, wood and stones. He is talented it’s super pretty. He offers me a tiki he has carved in a sea urchin spine! Super pretty! That makes me very happy.
I leave it to find Quentin reading in the dark. We get ready and we’ll wait for Elvie in front of the cemetery.
She arrives with a little delay because she had an emergency and she had to go back to the clinic as she is on call. She picks us up with a super new huge 4×4. She tells us that she made a little pleasure;)
She is really nice. She does not live far away. When we arrive at her house there is a guy waiting for us. It is not Alain, who went to get his horse (the class) but Thibault, the Dr of the island. We settle and there we discuss, Thibault and Elvie tells us a little about how it happens on the island then Alain arrives, Polynesian hunk with a beautiful accent. Five minutes later there is an emergency; Elvie and Thibault have to leave so we spend almost an hour with Alain who shows us his talents as an amateur sculptor. He is extremely talented, what he does is beautiful. So I give him an order for a necklace, I hope he has time to do it before we leave! We laugh well then the others arrive so we continue to learn a lot about life here, the job of Dr etc. The meal is super good. Elvie tells us that they had a patient who had come because he had a great earache because he had a crab inside !! How awful !! Alain says that his aunt had a hundred feet that had come in and as these insects sting as soon as they feel assaulted it was too difficult to get out! They continue to tell us stories to sleep on patients who arrive with machete-cut arms and others …. We laugh a lot! We are even entitled to photos! After this great evening Alain offers us a walk with us Monday; we are super happy. They show us the road for our walk tomorrow and we redeposit. We had a great evening, we hope to see them for a drink or dinner one night.
This morning we wanted to sleep in as the archeological site we wanted to see is not far away. It rained a lot again the night but it’s nice when you wake up. We have a nice breakfast and we decide to go to town to do some shopping for our next meals. We decide to rent the car on Sunday so we call the guy to warn him. We leave and we go to see him first. He is funny, he has two of tension. Her brother is in the room next door tattooing a chick. As usual I negotiate to death and again it works, we reduce the price of 1500 xpf anyway! I’m pretty proud of myself We’ll see his brother next door who looks nice. Both are mixed and not very tanned but we can see their Polynesian origins. The tattooed brother super well it gives me too much desire! but hey, I heal too badly and next week we go to the beach to potentially see whales so out of the question to get tattooed here. In addition Alain we met here would like to open a tattoo parlor so I would like it to be him who tattooed me because he is really talented. Case to follow … for when we come back (because we will come back for sure!);) We leave them then we go shopping. We meet Jean on the way out who wants us back in five minutes, perfect! A guy, who looks a bit far-fetched but who is nice talks to us in front of the store. He tells us that the men here are a little starved because there are not enough women and suddenly they sleep with their cousins … consanguinity hello! yuck! It confirms what Alain said yesterday when he saw that all the guys were rushing around Elvie and the other nurse metropolis to flirt with them … After this little discussion we leave with Jean who tells us a lot of things. We have lunch, we take a nap because it’s raining and we go for a hike. John sees us and wants to bring us to the point of departure at all costs. He is really too nice it is unbelievable! It still makes us gain 45 minutes of walking this story. As it rained a lot, the ground is muddy and one sinks in places. It will be necessary to cross the river … no way to cross without removing the shoes.
After crossing we will walk a few minutes and we will come across a huge stone where we can admire petroglyphs. They would represent scenes deliveries and placentas because the women had to give birth in the corner near the river.
Jean had told us that there were other petroglyphs and tikis in the area but that an idiot before put barbed wire making the site very inaccessible, and that moreover this type had oxen that could load us … good it’s still early … we decide to go take a look. We walk along the barbed wire and we each find a passage to go to the other side. We slalom between the rocks, we look at Jean’s plan, we do not find the platforms. We say that people have destroyed them. We look again then Quentin suggests going down a little way, bingo! they are on our right! on the other hand … the oxen are on our left … but, they have not seen us yet! phew! We climb, we look at Jean’s plan. We find a tiki! he was hidden behind a tree. We look at the side of the oxen, we are spotted … we walk trying to be discreet and hiding a little behind the trees. There are other petroglyphs but not all, unfortunately. We search well but impossible to locate them. We admit defeated and seeing the animals move we decide to return. We make the same path in the opposite direction without difficulty and then we join the road. The weather is cloudy and the sun begins to descend. We walk quietly. Not far from Jean we meet him and he offers us to eat pizzas with him and Aline tonight, we accept! We meet Pifa, the guide who was going to bring us to the island tomorrow and who we are keen to tell us that finally we do not go tomorrow and that he went today but he forgot to call us … in short, chelous and disappointing. We will see later we still have time. I call Alain to ask him if he wants to bring us tomorrow instead of Monday. He agree. We come back, we rest and then Jean comes to us to tell us that we will get pizzas in one hour. When he comes back we go together to the pizzeria and then bring the booty home. Aline arrives, she tells us she’s too hot … I’m quaking … Jean takes out beer, cider and we eat together. He tells us that Pifa invents stories to try to get more people on his tours. Basically it shifts “subtly” tourists who stay longer to solicit those who leave earlier. Dinner is super nice. They are really very nice both and very helpful it’s great fun like meeting we are very happy. After the meal we go to bed.
Alain picks us up at 8am this morning after breakfast. We go buy something to picnic on the road. He greets everyone, cousins, cousins, tontons, tatas, friends, a real star!
Today he takes us to visit the northeast of the island, the ultimate goal being to go to Puamau to see the giant tikis. The road is super beautiful, we see the coast, the cliffs, the turquoise sea and the beautiful peaks of the island. Alain stops us in places with spectacular views of the different bays. We take our time, we discuss, he tells us a lot about local life.
Two hours later we arrive at the Puamau site. It is well maintained, we see all the tikis very well. They must measure 2m in height.
Jean and his friends had come to restore some who were growing moldy. Yesterday at the meal Jean spoke to us about some more things to see. On this site we had to venture deep into the forest. Two very nice tikis were found and repositioned. We found them and indeed the place is great fun and often forgotten tourists.
After visiting this site, we stop on the beach. She is really pretty. We see the Aranui which brings back its tourists who have come down for a few hours. We take the road and there we look for another thing that Jean had spoken to us. We must find a church and at the foot of the church there is a big stone with petroglyphs and tikis. After two churches, we finally find the good and the stone. It is very pretty.
We take the road again and we stop at his uncle Mano. He lives in a house whose large garden gives access to a beautiful beach that we could see from above on the road. We are lucky because as it is private land only the inhabitants can access the beach … all those who try to go without authorization take the risk of being shot at with a rifle!
The house is surrounded by fruit trees. At the bottom we see lots of coconut trees. We discuss with the uncle then Alain takes the gun to hunt a goat, and we seal to pick lemons because it has dozens of lemon trees. We walk in the large garden full of coconut trees uncle. It’s very beautiful
Alain tries to shoot goats but lack of bowl they are pregnant females. So we arrive on the beautiful beach and there he proposes to shoot plastic bottles. The rifle is super heavy! After several tries, I will be the only one to have reached the target and more in the middle … the class I know.
We return quietly picking lemons, and without a corpse bloodied goat. Mano offers us to have lunch here with him; he still has wild chicken that he hunted and cooked with vegetables … too good! We eat and discuss for a good hour then we leave.
We will make some stop photos on the road.
The last stop of the day will be the smiling tiki. This tiki is a feminine tiki (we see it because it has tattoos under the lips). He has a form of phallus. He represents the women who circumcised. To reach it we take a private path then we pass between two coconut trees. The tiki is very pretty. Jean spent time taking care of it to restore it. It’s funny because at the moment we arrive Jean also arrives with tourists of which he is the guide. He explains some tips on tiki is nice. After that we go back quietly. We meet Pifa, the guy who must bring us to the island next door but waiting for the last moment … I fooled him a little pressure because the days pass quickly! Alain drops us off at Jean’s, they give him some money for gasoline and we thank him by proposing to see him again with Elvie; in addition I have to recover my super necklace! After this day Quentin will cook and we will stay quiet at the bungalow. Finally we can not get the car until tomorrow morning.
At 7 am the alarm clock sounds! This is the guyfor renting the car! He must have been stressed to give us the super car early as we had to have it last night. We’ll go get her after breakfast, we’re lazy to hurry. We decided to rent the car to swim on a white sand beach in a beautiful bay: Hanatekuua.
After breakfast we take our things for the day and go to the rental shop. As soon as we have the car we go to get a drink for a possible drink with Elvie and Alain then we start.
The road is pretty and it will only take us thirty minutes to get to Hanaiapa beach. This is the starting point to go to Hanatekuuna. We admire a little bay and then we look for the path to go to the beach.
We will turn in circles; we will end up asking people but we will not find anyway. There is a sign in front of people not to go into their garden to go to the beach and they say to go through a public trail that can not be found! I see people on the beach I decide to go ask. The type of Pearl lodge (luxury hotel) tells us to go anyway. We go but call the inhabitants in case they are there; we are wary now that we know that people have dogs and shoot the inhabitants and that the murders are hidden … We see a sign indicating where to go so we will go there to return. The hike begins. We will walk for an hour and a half, sometimes under the trees, sometimes on the ridge. The view is majestic.
We see the island “whale” in the distance the famous island forbidden to women. After a long time we finally see the bay, too beautiful! Turquoise water, coconut trees, white sand! We admire and then we hurry.
When we arrive we are still alone in the world! At least, that’s what we believe! Who says alone to the world says naked! We change, I do not put my top shirt (soon nudist). We go in the water, she is too good! in addition it is super clear and transparent, we see too well the bottom is too good! We take advantage of it and then we paint cream and oil against the nonos. We sunbathe, we eat lunch.
A little later we see an old gentleman arrive with his beautiful horse. I hide my breasts a bit … oops. He will bathe his horse. The top is super nice to see. So I put my top shirt and I will see it to take pictures.
When he goes out we talk. He is the owner of the valley and the beach … the class anyway. What is he living? Copra, hunting and fishing. His horse is super pretty, it’s a mix between the donkey and the horse. He brought it back from another island. The guy is really nice, he has Breton origins, it makes me laugh. He brings his horse back and then we go into the water where he will find us.
It’s really good. We discuss with him then everyone returns to his occupations: nap and tan.
We’ll go back and forth with Quentin until the gray clouds start to unload their water. We pack everything and we redo the hike. Once at the end, we cross Pifa! He still rocks us saying that tomorrow we will not be able to go to the other island and Tuesday is not sure blah blah. I’m drunk.
We take the road with Quentin and I tell him to go to the port, if Pifa does not want to bring us we may find someone else, tampis if we pay a little more, we have not want to miss this excursion! I’m going to talk with a sailor, but he’s a fisherman fishing at night, he can not bring us. On the other hand he tells me to contact the diving club. We know where he is so we decide to go there and ask on the spot, it’s not far from Jean’s house. It’s raining ropes outside. I ask and I am told that maybe there will be an exit. The guy gives me his card and tells me to call back later.
We come back crossing Jean. When we arrive he tells us that there is no more water! We are full of salts. Well we wait and finally he managed to repair. As we must return the car and it rains ropes, he offers to bring us back after returning the car. He is really nice.
The guy of rental gives us a gift of gas as we have not used anything. We come back and Jean tells us that tomorrow he will bring us to the port if we need and otherwise we will go to the old cemetery and see the tomb of Gauguin together. He is really too nice!
When we come back we cook and then I contact the diving club. Luckily they have an option for Tuesday! We are super happy. We will celebrate with pancakes and then sleep.
As we did not have the chance to go on Tahuata this morning again, we decide to take our time and visit the two cemeteries where Jacques Brel and Paul Gauguin are resting, and the two museums of the city.
We left after breakfast with Jean who wanted to come with us to give us explanations. It’s great because he knows a lot and has frequented Brel.
We start with the graves. First we see that of Jacques Brel. Well, people really do anything … there are plenty of ugly pebbles with names, messages etc … He tells us that one day the postman has deposited a stamped envelope for Jacques Brel! After waiting several days he and his friend decided to open it finding it really too weird and as funny as the postman made the delivery! It was a person who wanted Jacques Brel and his friend to come back from beyond … Jean tells us a lot about the life of Brel and Gauguin. It is all the more exciting that he attended Brel and Aline his wife has climbed several times in his plane “Jojo”.
Tourists arrive. Jean listens. When we get back in the car he is angry because the guide tells anything about Brel, like all the other guides on the island actually!
We are now heading to the old cemetery which is a little further down the valley. Jean parks the car and we start walking in the undergrowth. Another beautiful place abandoned by the Marquesans and politicians … The landscape around is very beautiful. We see the valley and the bay.
Here rest the ancestors. There are different types of tombs that were made with very beautiful stones and with corals. The little surprise: beautiful tikis on some tombs!
Jean tells us a lot of things. It’s super interesting. It’s a shame that the means are not implemented to have a museum, maintain the sites and discover the thousands of others that are buried everywhere in the valleys! The Polynesian system is really poorly done and poorly managed and all the money goes and stays on Tahiti; it is also why the inhabitants hate Tahiti so much and wish to become independent. After all they are already managing without the help of anyone, even the municipality does not help the inhabitants since it has nothing to gain.
We leave the cemetery and continue a little. John has another discovery for us. A little further up there are the remains of an old traditional house whose soil is very well preserved. We spend a little time here listening to Jean tell us how people lived here and then we go down and go home.
Once again we had the chance to be very well coached and learn a lot about the local culture. That’s exactly what we were looking for when we went to the other side of the world and again we were very lucky!
After lunch we decide to go to the museums of Gauguin and Brel. Well, the museum Gauguin I found it blah. By cons space Brel I found it touching. The music in the background, explanatory panels and “Jojo” hanging up, nice idea.
After this visit we go to the pharmacy to look for the product against the gall … in prevention. The pharmacist tells us that it is not useful because you should not sleep in the sheets for at least 12 hours so not practical. We discuss a little, we find sunscreen harmless for corals, too well! I wanted for a long time and it’s a French brand. Speaking she tells us that she also works in Tubuai in the Austral Islands … well bin once again I go to the bottom, I ask her if she knows people who can put the tent! She told me to go ask the pharmacist there. We’ll see ! Casually with my nerve I managed to make us great discounts everywhere and even make us free! In short, we take the cream and go back to Jean.
Tonight Elvie and Alain come to have a drink with us. We spend a great time laughing with Alain’s stories. The life of the Polynesians is really something! When they leave we meet on Wednesday night for a last meal and then we will watch an old show of music rotten on TV before bed.
After breakfast we hurry to go to the dive club where we were given an appointment. It is raining hard. When we arrive there is no one! I try to call but no one responds more I have no package … I knock on doors but there is no one. Well, we do not know what time it is (my phone is not on time) so we decided to walk to the port … in the rain! We walk in tongues trying not to fall. Finally halfway we meet the one who was to pick us up. We go up and we go get someone in the restaurant. He does not seem to speak French because of his accent. We go to the port, we get on the boat and the other tourists arrive: two families, one with young children and the other with their daughter of about twenty years. Everyone is smiling and looks nice.
Unfortunately the weather is not with us, but hey, we are happy to go on Tahuata, the famous island where live very good sculptors.
First stop to see the manta rays! too great to see! The captain tells us that there can be dozens when the weather is bad … so when it’s good it must be top! The weather is bad but we can see some, it’s really beautiful and impressive.
We take the road towards Tahuata. The weather is always bad and once at sea, the boat’s driving becomes sporty. There are “big” waves. It moves a lot but with the fresh air you feel good. We sympathize with a young Atuona, Joseph, who is the cousin of Pifa and Alain … well I think everyone is cousin here! He is super nice. He and his friend will be our guides for the day. We finally see the island. Yes, it’s raining, but it’s pretty. We see the steep coast, the beautiful beaches, a few peaks.We stop at the artisans village. Only a few have come to exhibit their works. It’s a shame for them. We are about ten tourists but there are only 4 artists, the others did not want to go out because of the rain! I wonder how they think … short. We look, it’s very beautiful, very well carved, meticulous, but too expensive for us. We discuss with one of them who shows us his workshop. There are other beautiful works in progress. They are really good.
We leave the market and we go to see the stone church of the island. The explanations were a bit lacking. So we look.
We return to the boat to go to another village where we will see another church and we will eat a delicious meal with fresh fish. We will sympathize with the family that has the girl and an American journalist who trimmballs two drones DJI and many other things too cool. He is very happy to show me everything … it sucks the balls in fact, I feel like buying a drone in Auckland before going to Tonga …
After lunch you feel a little heavy; it was a buffet so we went again!
We take the boat to go for a dip in a beautiful beach where we will be alone. By chance it’s nice!
It’s raining all day so we will not do anything special, just races. In the evening Tamatai (the boss of the diving club) calls us because he has taken our email suggesting he tell the guides to give more information about Tahuata … weird. We discuss and I hope he understood that we sent a nice email (I repeat it by email in case!). We hope that Jean will not have any worries because of us because he is so nice! It broke my spirits a lot … we’re off! I try to find pensions in the Austral Islands but they are all super expensive. We will try to point without reservation, we’ll see. I also look at the website of an organization that collects data on marine mammals. Antoine, the boy we met on Moorea and we meet again on Tahiti at Inano will do an internship for several days with them on Rangiroa (an island of Tuamotu). It looks really cool. According to what he tells us I think I’ll go do the same thing next year in September:D
Around 8 pm Elvie and Alain come to meet us for an aperitif. It’s always nice to see them because they are super smiling every time. Tonight we’ll have a drink at the semaphore. It’s a place where people get together for a few weeks in the year, when the sailors arrive on the island. There is a kind of refreshment bar. But at this moment it is not the season of the sailors of the coup the bar is closed. We talk in the car, we tell them our day on Tahuata and our day rest because of the rain. Alain tells us he did not do much … he just went fishing for a huge fish he cooked for tonight! It smells too good in the car. They are too adorable they offered us a big bottle of honey from the Marquesas! We will have to eat it every day because otherwise they will confiscate it in New Zealand. We arrive at the top of the hill. We park and there we are not alone. We find a lot of expatriates at the top. We will discuss especially with the hairdresser and the pharmacist who are super nice. We will spend a good evening enjoying some chips, beers and fish. A few hours later we return. The pharmacist Nathalie gives us contacts on Tubuai to make a whale excursion. We greet them and we go with Elvie and Alain. When he drops us off we say goodbye and we thank them for their hospitality and for having wandered us. It makes us weird. Still super nice people from which one separates. We go back to bed with lots of memories in mind.
Quentin gets up too early this morning! He’s going to get some bread. I’m struggling to get up, I still spent the night scratching my arms because of my bites of nonos … my skin is horrible and scratching I bleed … not glamorous at all! When he returns we prepare breakfast and our snack for this afternoon. We start the big bottle of honey. She is too good ! We are gluttonous; we will eat a huge baguette to two … As it is still early we tidy up our business and then I take the opportunity to call Carole who will give birth very soon. We are having a good time. After that we have the pleasure of receiving visitors; Elvie and Alain wanted to say goodbye again! Too cool! We are too happy to see them again. They came with a nurse girl who works on Tahiti and is on vacation. We discuss a moment. We go up to see Aline, then Jean arrives. We discuss. Jean is super happy he takes the opportunity to tell many more things. With Quentin we leave quickly made our backpacks and the others find us because it’s soon time to leave. There is an anesthetist who works on Nuku Hiva and who was staying with Jean and Aline who is going with us on the same plane. We say goodbye again to our friends who offer us pretty Marquisiens necklaces! We will meet in France next year as they will come to spend holidays. They leave and we’ll say goodbye to Aline. She is really nice like anything. It is said that we will return in 4 years for the festival and she is very happy and tells us that she will be happy to receive us! We find Jean and the anesthetist. Jean also offers us necklaces that Aline has made and brings us to the airport. He tells a lot of things and then once at the airport we wait while eating chips. We meet again the American yesterday who is happy to see us to tell us that yesterday he dived and he was able to film his mantas. He shows us his great video and then goes back to see his wife. It’s now time to board. We thank Jean for this great stay and we take our two planes to return to Tahiti where we spend the night before taking a flight tomorrow to go to the Austral.
- Days 235 to 247 – Friday 23rd of August 2019 to Wednesday 4th of September 2019 : Australes islands
- Days 248 to 254 – Thursday 5th of September 2019 to Wednesday 11th of September 2019: Tahiti
I will be brief because I did not take my computer to write (and to be honest it did me good not to spend two hours every night on my computer).
We visited 4 islands in Austral: Raivave, Tubuai, Rurutu and Rimatara. We had wonderful meetings on each of them.
When we arrived on Raivavae we did not know where to stay. We decided to take our tent and camp where we could. After asking the gendarmes if we had the right to camp, we had prospected with people on our way to the “city” near the airport, to know where to put our tent. We have been suggested to ask the little old men in front of the Protestant temple. They told us we could sit next to them. Five minutes after setting up the tent, two girls arrive and tell us not to stay there because there is a small abandoned house just next door where the kids gather to party. They therefore offered to come and put the tent at one of them. We accept, super happy. So we put the tent in a small corner of their large garden where two large houses were built. She lives with her husband, mother-in-law and two children in one, and there is her parent’s house where her sister and nephew live. From the first evening we are invited to share the meal and discover how his family lives. We came across a family of Protestants and Adventists.
There are some things to see on the island, although it is small. We wanted to see the famous “motu pool”. It is a kind of island where the lagoon is beautiful. Lack of luck we did not find anyone the day before to bring us. The day after our arrival we meet the uncle who offers to drop us while he goes fishing with dad! Too cool. We get ready in five minutes and then we go with them to shower the pill in a little paradise far from everything! We will be alone and take the opportunity to swim … all naked! From this day we will decide to stay for four days at home and we will do well! We will be invited for dinner every night, and every night it will be fresh fish in all its forms! We will learn a lot about their culture, their life, Raivavae and their legends. We will make a nice hike that locals do not do because “fious” (the Polynesians are very sporty and fast gnou).
Our stay on Raivavae will be really nice thanks to this very generous family.
We decided the night before to stay with Antoine, a contact that the pharmacist gave us on Hiva Oa. We boarded camp but finally we changed our minds as we had not paid anything on Raivavae and we wanted a little “comfort”, and he rented a house for a very reasonable price.
Antoine picks us up. He looks super nice! He holds the only diving club on the island and also whale-watching. He tells us that the weather will be rotten for our two days on the island and offers us to try the whales this day, but warns that the sea will be rough. No way to miss it, if I have to throw up to see whales I’ll throw up! As unfortunately his second is not there, the launch may be impossible but not necessarily excluded … to follow. A group of three tourists will join us. We will be ultra lucky, the whales will be really close to us; although we could not see them under the water the exit will remain rich in emotions.
The house we rent is far too big for both of us, but it will be nice, we can cook and eat all day long. It will rain ropes for two days but fortunately Antoine and Sarah we will lend games of companies. It made us crazy to play! We will take the opportunity to sympathize with Antoine and Sarah and discover their feelings about life here. I find Antoine very calm and nice. So I ask him if he would like to be my dive teacher for next year if I come back to volunteer. He is super happy and accepts the challenge! I think that even if I do not volunteer I will come to dive … he has sold us too many dreams with his pictures of whales!
Two days later we leave them. We are very happy to have met them and we will see each other again. Antoine really reminded us of Alexandre whom we met in San Pedro de Atacama and with whom we are always in contact and that we will see one day for sure!
We found the premises less easy to tackle than on Raivavae. We had been told that the Australians were reserved. Although we were gladly hitched, we had trouble talking with the Polynesians.
Just arrived we are offered to host us! Very cool ! We rented a car to camp anywhere, eventually it will serve us around the island. Our hosts are lovely. Once again we are lodged and fed and there we are lucky we are with dance enthusiasts. They tell us a lot about traditions in Rurutu. These people are Protestants and we will have the chance to participate in a local Mass that will make us vibrate with their beautiful songs in their native language.
Rurutu is very different from Tubuai (for what we saw and read) and Raivavae; it’s steeper and there are valleys. We will visit some nice caves and we will have a nice horse ride. The horse I think we will not refer to it, Quentin does not like that too much! We will try to see a lot of things in two days and spend a lot of time talking with our hosts. Another great experience for us!
Again, when we arrive, we ask the gendarmes if we can camp; there again the gendarme of metropolis is not aware but he asks the fireman. The firefighter tells us that he will ask his sister-in-law to host us and that he will tell us when we will meet again on the island. Very cool ! We hope to see him again with a positive answer. The policeman has pity on us and we get in his big car to drop us in one of the villages where there is a great snack. The girl makes homemade brioches, pizzas and cakes! We will take a brioche chocolate toasted and buttered (simple but effective) and we will order a smoked salmon pizza for lunch. We gander on the beach hoping to see the firefighter then we eat our pizza too good. Not seeing it we decide to find a spot to camp just in case. The island is tiny so we take our time to walk. We find a spot, we ask, we put the tent and gland. We think that the firefighter has forgotten us. It’s pretty Rimatara, there are beautiful beaches. The next morning we decide to go to the airport to change our plane tickets to get back earlier because Rimatara we go around in 6h … On the road we meet our fireman who tells us he has looked everywhere last night, that he asked lots of people, that he was worried about us! He tells us that tonight we sleep at his house and wait for him in his village. Okay, all right! we are super happy. We leave to change our tickets anyway but we regret in the end! We are waiting for our fireman on the beach near his home. We will have a chance to go crazy! Whales not far from the lagoon and one that makes us a nice jump! We are so happy! He arrives a little later and takes us home; we meet his family. We will sleep with his nephew and his brother-in-law 3 meters from his house. They are all super happy to receive us, we feel it. We will wander the day and in the evening we will ask them if we can attend Mass. Our hosts are evangelists. We will meet all their community and again we will be entitled to songs in Tahitian. In the evening the brother-in-law and his nephew wait for us with a meal of madness! Fish, chicken, taro, rice etc! Very good ! We discuss, we laugh, we exchange. They are too happy to have us at home and make us understand. We are too happy too. The next day our firefighter will take his day, on purpose to stay with us and take us to the climax with his nephew (87 meters, hiking too difficult!). We will see the endemic parakeet of the island. We will really spend a special moment with them. At noon we will remangera with everyone and we will discuss until we leave. They will wait for the plane with us and we can see that they are as sad as we are! We promise them to come back in 4 years (sooner if we can) when we come back for the Marquesas Festival and that we will stay well for three weeks to learn how to grow and do crafts.
This trip to Austral was really rich. We learned a lot and shared a lot of things with our different guests. We were welcomed like kings in simple and happy people. We will return !
Our last days on Tahiti will be great. We will meet Antoine, to whom we strongly advised to come and stay at Opuhinano and Tea. We get along very well and suddenly we will spend our time all three. We will have many compliments from our hosts who will keep telling us that we are all three super nice and that they are really happy that we stay at home. We will meet two other travelers visiting Tahiti. With Antoine and Quentin we will go for a big hike which will offer us superb points of view on Papeete and the valley. We will have a great time and we will offer a great meal to our guests who will make us laugh because they will discover the joys of aperitif and tabbouleh! We will take aperitifs every night with Antoine and we will make pancakes in turn every morning. It will be sad to leave Antoine the day before our departure but we will see each other for sure! Similarly for Inano and Tea.
Our stay in Polynesia will end really well. We leave satisfied and not totally poor! We had a little heartache when we got on the plane because we had wonderful encounters and we had such an amazing time and we know it will not be the same elsewhere. We leave with the conviction to come back next year for me and in three or four years together, Quentin wanting to come to work a year or two on Morrea. Now we are going to Tonga!