We decided to explore the verdant green land and managed three hikes on the island seeing a mixture of old banyan trees, ruins, World War II armoury and a massive hike up Mount Pahia, — one of the two high volcanic peaks on the island.
The King’s Valley walk turned out to be a lush valley walk full of unexpected fruit trees and we managed to eat passion fruit, bananas, star fruit, mangoes, avocados and pamplemousse as we walked along. This was a true delight for us sailors who have been without a ready supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for the last few months in the Tuaomotos and Gambiers.
On Sunday we tackled Mt Pahia (2168 ft / 661 m) and it was a truly an epic climb, not one for the faint hearted. It is a non-stop vertical climb for three hours. The path hasn’t been cleared for months so there was a lot of scrabbling over roots, vines and rocks. Some sections have ropes, others don’t and it’s a very long way down for a wrong step!
But we all managed it up, even Felix aged 7 with the shortest legs, and the view was spectacular to make up for the pain of getting there. The heat and humidity was the worst and I’m not sure we have ever been so hot and sweaty!
The colours of the water in the lagoon are spectacular, the blues ranging from turquoise to sapphire and surrounded by islets with white sand beaches. Seeing them from this height was amazing, like our own helicopter tour.
We then had the arduous job of getting back down and due to Mt. Pahia’s steepness it took three hours to get back down too. It didn’t help that as we started to leave the summit a rain cloud covered us and made the path a shear wall of mud and stone! Never mind we were soon in the tropical rainforest with its own micro climate. With the town at the end of the walk we replenished our empty water bottles and had a well earned ice-cream to celebrate. We will all sleep soundly tonight!