we shared a half day tour with 3 other couples for a drive around some of the island. first up was Magic Mountain. probably named for the steep and nearly impossible ascent/descent on a narrow switchback road up the side of a small mountain inhabited by goats. the view was amazing, the ride was thrilling. we also visited Belvedere outlook, archeological ruins, an orchid plantation and a fruit plantation growing in the crater of the extinct volcano. he explained how the vanilla is hand pollinated and how the pineapples grow.
they could have called it goat mountain instead of magic mountain
and the views were spectacular – and we took the dinghy through all this a couple days later (post to follow on that experience)
those are people walking into the lagoon down there
and then there are the flowers
this is the vanilla flower that needs to be pollinated by hand
once it’s pollinated the beans can grow and these are fresh vanilla beans before turning black
they’ve modernized the growing process by building concrete Ts for the vanilla vines to grow up and they use dried coconut husks to retain moisture in the soil
when we arrived at Belvedere lookout i noticed the “tender” for the luxury motor yacht Exuma was there. license plate is Republic of Monaco. this Polynesian fellow taking a picture of the car actually gave us a ride a couple days earlier. he’s the lead musician at the Tiki Village.
deep inside the forest on the way to the bridal platform i saw these amazing trees with fins.
another tree trunk
the flower at the end of the banana stalk
5 families own the land and plantations inside the crater of the volcano. apparently this land is kept within the families and not sold to outsiders.
one of the crater sides
THE photographic spot at Belvedere. in the background are the 2 bays on the north side of the island, Opunohu on the left and Cook’s Bay on the right with Rotui (899m) separating them.