Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 5

Day 5: (18 May 2011):
- Morning: weather is better, but not best. Camera crew set up to interview owners.
- Camera crew head out ("to justify their trip," according to owner). We have breakfast. Breakfast just tea/coffee & juice & bread with butter & jam. Settle account, 5kF each.
- Try catch early plane when some people leave & tell us. Called airport, but no answer.
- Go to airport, told is too late. Hitch to Fayaoue. Lunch from store (I get a simple fried dough circle), ate on beach. Partly cloudy, weather improving.
- Walk to OPT, but closed for lunch. Want SIM card and post card.
- Decide go to Lekine to try see cliffs. Hitchhike, gendarmes stop & give us ride.
- Drop us off & tell us walk for ~1km down small road. Jerome go pee. A car pull up: the cameraman! Offers us a ride down. Then left after drop us in front of a tree felled to block remaining short road to beach. Jerome say cameraman is also disappointed at weather. They cancelled some activities, such as a boat ride with fisherman, etc.
- Go to beach, see cliffs across water. Very long open cavern with large "stalagtites" and "stalagmites," & connecting posts, but does not look typical. Very large. See Mouli bridge in distance.
- See some people in cliffs, wave say hi. Jerome talk. They say OK for us to go there & tell us where to cross & enter. The tourist info say need guide for caves (of incidence, which turned out to be in other direction of where we walked). Jerome later told me when I asked that the gendarmes told him is OK, but be careful, especially around old teenagers, as there are many sacred areas around. Also said there is still some tension between locals and gendarmes. "sleeping" but can awake.
- Over trip, learn a lot about the politics of separation here.
- Leave bags on beach. We cross water at closer point & find a way up in a patch of "oasis-like" greenery. A bridge between below & caves. Difficult in jandals.
- Walk for long time along cliffs. Small coves. Large poles. Black powdery mold.
- Past a crude ladder, a patch of trees, behind, a cave with Christian symbols, candles, etc. Maybe the incident cave? No, asked, and told incident cave is in other direction, but similar size.
- Try to go to east coast, but just slightly too high to jump off at lowest point, so ladder.
- Strange round coral (?) formations in water near ladder.
- Walk along bottom of cliffs. (Notice 3 levels of "caves," middle in the big one.) How formed? Erosion & geologic events?
- Small cavernous area. Cool coral rock formations. People fishing for aquarium. Put catch in small pools in the coral rock.
- Walk through clear flowing water to close to the waves. Once in a while, water comes from waves. A few fish, but much coral. Like wading through an aquarium. Felt bad for stepping on coral. Rain & sun. Start heading back.
- Wade across where others are wading. Rest on beach. Jerome ask others about the event.
- Many holes (medium-sized) on beach. Crabs? Great views of cliffs. Boat: low tide. Was concerned a bit we might be trapped by the tide before crossing back.
- Strange cloth strips on beach: signals? Jerome says the red flag he saw yesterday at beach by hole is similar. Tied on tree.
- Long-ish wait, picked up by pilot for another inter-island flight company.
- Decide not stop at OPT. Turns out was quite early. Very long wait ~2hrs at airport. Felt bad I was afraid we'll take long time to get here, so always ask time during hike.
- Jerome had me ask about tickets. Very slow-moving queue. "Island time" - Jerome.
- Very bumpy flight back. Cold & rainy. Small luggage belt. Ticket on car: share.
- Jerome practise cancelled. Ate crepes & drank rum & honey. I do research on north.
- Was going to go to nakamal, but Jerome didn't feel like it anymore. (before)