Raiatea

Nothing wrong with a hike. I mean who doesn’t like a quick jaunt up and down a mountain? Especially when that said mountain is based somewhere in the depths of French Polynesia. Perfect! I was pretty excited about it and was super happy getting all the kit ready I needed for this hike to the top of this mountain. My colleague had given me a small map with directions to the base of the thing but with one warning…

… He said there’s an old man sat at the base of the mountain at weekends. It was a Sunday. Apparently he stops anyone who’s not from French Polynesia from walking up the mountain. They like to keep it to themselves at the weekend.

Strange I thought? Its a mountain? Why the opening times?

Anyhow. Off I went, keeping one eye out for this dude and ready to jump the fence and run up it if I needed to! I wasn’t planning on getting off here again and really didn’t want to have to miss out on the opportunity.

Arriving at the base I was greeted by a bloke just trying to manoeuvre his car through the gate. I put on my best French accent with odd added French word like Bonjour and Merci and helped him through the gate closing it behind him.

No problem. Those French lessons at Lancaster Boys are paying off nicely! Off I went…

OK so there wasn’t too much to see on the way up apart from the track… and the odd farm animal staring at me.

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10 minutes into the journey though I heard the sounds of a truck coming up behind me… They pulled along side me as I was walking up saying… “No no no! No climbing today!”

What to do?!

“I’m taking a picture mate… I’ll be back in 10 minutes…” and carried on walking. They didn’t give chase. That seemed pretty simple.

Another 10 minutes passed. This time another truck coming down the mountain with the driver trying to block my path… Waving madly with his arms calling me over!

I moved over to the passenger side and waved back as I walked by with the sounds of “Weekend no climbing” coming out the passenger window.

Again. They didn’t try and catch me. That was the last I saw of anyone until I made it to the top. Where I bumped into a couple with a dog who spoke perfect English and were quite surprised I had got up here. They said only locals were allowed up here on the weekend.

I feigned complete surprise.

How was I supposed to know?! Unfortunately I can’t read the French signs. My mistake.

However, my sneakiness had paid off. Although it wasn’t the sunniest of days – it was super hot and humid mind – the views were again stunning.

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After spending 20 minutes or so at the top I felt the first speck of rain. I packed up and jogged back down getting a good pelting of rain as I did. Exactly what I needed after the heat.

I arrived at the bottom and decided to check the town out…

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Clearly not a hive of activity.

Just a nice little ghost town with the odd pack of dogs mooching about looking hard and probably up to no good…

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… and some very sleepy looking people.

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I called it a day after this. I did attempt to buy chocolate. Surprise! Too late. The store was closed.

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