Sugar Shack made its way to a new island called Taravai. It is one of the few occupied islands in the Gambier archipelago. Other cruisers mentioned that a nice couple who lives on this island hosts BBQs for cruisers – sweet!. We left Mangareva at the sun’s peak shining time to make our way toward Taravai. It is best to make use of the sun in order to avoid the coral heads.
Argo was already here and Agape and Halcyon were scheduled to arrive the next day. We joined the Argo crew and headed to shore to meet 3 of the 7 island inhabitants. True to the rumors, Valerie, Herve and their son Ariki were incredibly welcoming and overjoyed to have visitors. They showed us around their large property where Herve grows tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. Such as bananas, pomplemouse, oranges, lemons, lettuce, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, avocados, basil, rosemary to name a few.
The property is self-sustaining with a fresh water catching system and solar panels (2000 wats). The family lives here with 3 pets that quickly etched their way into everyone’s hearts. There is Sha Sha the cat, Taravai and little fluffy Roxy (pictured below with Matt).
Much to our surprise, there is one road on the island and it is only a mile long. However, it is beautiful as it stretches from Herve’s property past the church and ends at Marcel’s property.
HIKE AROUND TARAVAI
Valerie told us there about a trail that would take us to the other side of the island where Eduard and Lolo lived. She said, it would take 30-60 minutes tops. However, we found out later that she had never been on the hike and did not “truly” know how long it should took.
Imagine our surprise when they laughed out loud upon our arrival. Certainly we were perplexed. We showed up in shorts, tank tops and flip flops. Well, truth be told, Matt and I were the only ones in flips, the Argo clan had good walking shoes. Evidently, the path is usually extremely muddy – which evidently turned out to be an understatement.
We passed the church (see below) and walked through Marcel’s property where he showed us the start of the trail. He too looked at us all strange and smirked when he saw our shoes. I’m thinking this can’t be good. After we crossed a small stream, we started through the bushes, hacking away limbs that blocked our path. If you call it a path. It was about 1-1.5’ wide, covered in mud, pine needles, and rocks. We traversed across two mud slides, hopped over collapsed hillsides, jumped over holes and covered ourselves in mud.
This beautiful waterfall kept everything nice and moist, especially since it had just rained.
So close…yet so far away
Although the trail was hard to follow, we did manage to find our way to an isolated beach just in time to wash the mud off.
Somehow, we lost the “trail.” We tried several different directions, but we just couldn’t find our way to Eduard and Lolo’s place. Most options were too muddy or too dangerous. We had been hiking for 90 minutes and decided to turn around. As a result, we never made it all the way to Eduard’s house we had a great time exploring.
A beautiful and majestic church built in the 1800’s is being gently restored. John is the caretaker and he happily shows all tourists around the church and rectory. He even let us explore the spiral staircase to the bell station.
Rachel took this beautiful photo of her sister, Riana, Becca and I leaving.
At the anchorage you can see the church steeple lit up each morning.
Across from the church is significant archway made of stone and shells. It welcomes visitors to the island and leads straight to the church.
Valerie has an amazing talent to create stunning, intricately detailed art with sand. She has a wide variety of local sand in various colors and painstakingly designs masterpieces. She creates unbelievable designs with her sand!
Stay tuned for more adventures on Taravai with our new friends.
A few more fun photos
Certainly a gorgeous island to visit. But more importantly, the inhabitants of Taravai make you feel like family. As a result, cruisers come back again and again.