Day: July 6, 2017

Hiking Valle’e Vaitepiha, Tahiti

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When we were in Panama we became friends with a lovely couple, Ian and Erika, on a catamaran named Makara. Ian is originally from Britain and Erika from Germany. They stopped by Tanda Malaika a couple days ago, and we chatted about the passages we’d made since we saw them last. They mentioned that they needed to get to Taravoa to check out a marina, so we told them we’d take them and we could all explore together along the way.En route to Taravoa, we saw a sign saying Grotto de Marae, and exited to explore.

Infiltration of water has formed small bodies of clear, cool water in large caves and beautiful ferns drape the outside, framing the entrance, some of them several feet long.

Ana-Vai-poiri is the largest of three, where locals were enjoying a refreshing dip.

The area surrounding the grottos overflows with tropical flora,

and small grey Pacific swallows swoop in and out of gaps between hanging vines, branches and leaves like tiny fighter ships in space. Large Banyan trees reached heavenward with thick trunks and branches, while monstrous vines seemed to weigh them down to Mother Earth.

The scent of flowers rich and concentrated in the thick humid air.

Those that fell to the ground to join yellow decaying leaves, looked beautiful there too.

We found the marina, where Ian and Erika took care of business, then ventured on to a pleasant little park for a picnic.

The park was landscaped with mango and breadfruit trees, and overlooked the water. Picturesque coconut palms hung over the edge, as if daring to enter.

We feasted on baguettes, patte, brie, salami, apples and potato chips, and drank mango, lime and peach juice until we were filled to the brim.

Before leaving we had to check Aidan’s growth progress. Being in baguette country, we used a baguette as a leveling tool since the baguette does not lie, and much to Aidan’s dismay, he is still tiny bit away from his sisters height.

We then continued our drive along the north shore of Tahiti Iti (little Tahiti), passed through the town of Pueu and turned up a dirt road along the side of the river, Valle’e Vaitepiha.

We followed a road on foot that led us to a narrow footpath, and from there we were swallowed up into the dense tropical jungles of Tahiti.

We crossed over a stream and Aidan was able to find a way to keep his Van’s dry while the rest of us waded through the cool water.

Thick bamboo stood tall along the trail,

we meandered through open areas of wet green low-lying brush,

as well overhanging branches covered in moss and tiny ferns. I knew that if my mom was there she would have noticed the tiny fairies that quietly flew through their precious kingdom. It was magical.

Elephant ear sized taro leaves appeared to be florescent as the sun shone through them,

bright red leaves contrasted against all the green foliage,

and little yellow flowers covered in raindrops stood out against the dark earth.

We reached the end of the path, where Emma, Jude and Erika took a dip

and the rest of us skipped rocks and fought off huge swarms of bugs.

Periodically we’d see an eel moving through the water, and Emma would somehow end up on top of Judes head and shoulders to get away from it. Our walk back to the car was just as beautiful,

though I did notice something I hadn’t before…the biggest fern leaf I’d ever seen!

Tahiti is such a beautiful place.

I am so grateful for opportunity and ability to immerse myself in nature, because it is here, that I feel incredible peace.