20130424 Wednesday – On Tour
Having hired a car, were off on tour. Driving around, the island is relatively flat; the highest point is only 65 metres.
On our way we pass many graves just in the forest on the side of the road. The custom is to bury on family land and
many are literally on the doorsteps of the houses. Granny may be in the garden but she ain’t picking flowers.
Having said that, many of them are quite elaborate with roofs over the top and while most are well tended with garlands of flowers on the headstones, these even have hanging baskets.
We follow the signs off the main road down seaward roads to the various sights. The have “Portaloos” and showers in the parking areas and are very well maintained.
Having abandoned the car we set out on foot on the left hand path to the “Chasm”. The track although cleared of undergrowth,
consists of razor sharp coral rock much of it loose, and would see itself through a pair of “Doc Martins” in a week.
At the end of track walls close in before opening out to form the “Chasm” where we’re rewarded with a stretch of crystal clear water between the steep cliffs.
To the chasm with fresh and salt water
Interestingly, fresh water from the stream that flows into it, lies on top of the sea water in a cold layer of a few feet deep with the warmer
salty layer below. Trudging back up the gorge we then take and alternative path to the “Arches”.
What they failed to say was it was a half hour or more slog weaving through jungle and coral outcrops before the decent into a cave mouth,
then a rope decent though another cave to the raised reef below with its clear coral filled pool.
To far side of this a long finger of rock stick out into the sea pierced by a large hole forming a natural arch.
Here we met our only other “Tripper” an American girl doing a doctorate on the Nuiean people. Having had the requisite plunge,
it was time to heave our sweating bodies back to the joys of the car park showers and to draw breath before continuing.
Despite indications on the tour map, there were no bars restaurants or shops beyond the main town so it was time to beat a hasty retreat
to the Alofi and to the Uga (Coconut Crab) restaurant bar. Fish (Yellow fin Tuna) and chips and a couple of beers, not necessarily in that order, went down singing hymns.
Back to it. A quick visit to the Noni farm. Here they grow, extract and mix the juice of this foul smelling fruit (Rather like the inside of a well matured “Trainer”) and try selling it as a health drink. Best of luck.
Noni fruit makes you happy?
A dead end road as in “Oh! Has the road finished and is that a cliff edge I see before me”, we find a cave and launching site for
some native outrigger canoes. Hastily reversing back up the road and still game, it’s of to the “Chasm 2”.
Another jungle trudge through some very odd coral pillars, then the plunge down some hundred step in the darkness of the this cleft in the rock,
to arrive finally at a non descript pool and the prospect of having to climb back up all those steps.
Steps in to the dark
Knackered and duty done its back to the yacht club, that oasis in a drought ridden land. Back to the boat for a swim and tidy up and were ready to party.
Tonight is Bar-B-Que and Quiz night at a guest house some 6km out of town. We arrive to a beautiful sunset, and see all the usual suspects have beaten us to the bar.
The Sails hotel and bar
See you at sunset?
After the quiz which was won along with a nice prize of a tablet computer, by a Jamaican girl off the other yacht at anchor, it’s time to return to a night cap and rest our weary limbs to play another day.
Bob the Blog