The 5th post of a trip (here) which started on May 10/2022
From the Look-Out Point
Belvedere panoramic lookout
The Opunohu Belvedere reserves is one of the most beautiful panoramic viewpoints on he island, at an altitude of 240 m .
The drive up to the look-out point, passes through a huge crater, 9 km in diameter in the center of the island, decorating the island all around with its pointy dramatic peaks.
The two bays of Cook in the east, Opunohu in the west, about 1 km wide, penetrate more than 3 km in -land, are clearly seen from the look=out's top..
To the north, Mount Rotui, the sacred mountain (899m) separates the two bays.
(The other 8 mountains' names)
The valley of Pao-Pao which joins that of Opunohu behind Mount Rotui, previously formed a block with that of Haapiti. A pass remains between Haapiti and Opunohu, known as the pass of three coconut trees (385 m), a frequent challenge for for hikers.
There are few archeological sites of ancient stone ruins throughout Opunohu Valley.
After visiting the look-out at the top, it is worth walking into the woods and view
the ruins on site.
The rectangular black stone platform structure, with remains of an ancient alter in its end, under the sacred tall trees of medicinal proprieties, was where the gods communicated with the Polynesians, and where political, social and religious decisions were made.
At the center of the platform are small standing stones where the chiefs and priests sat.
More than 550 structures have been uncovered, including more than 100 maraes. Before numerous Europeans came to Polynesia in the 19th c the Opunohu Valley was home to a substantial population, but Western diseases and missionaries emptied the land and its maraes,
Another Heritage Site A Wooden Moai can be encountered on a north side beach
Right on the beach on the northwestern side of the island near by Tiki Village there are black stones figures spread in a fenced area
Sea Turtle Care Center/ Reserve
The Island's Turtle Reserve of only 9 turtles, is located on the site of where once the
InterContinental hotel, operated. (closed in 2020)
Since written marking signs system, directing to places, is one of the worst on this island, one needs to pay attention carefully to other clues as to find the entry to places searched
The entry to the turtle center is right opposite of bright orange low building of the Albert's Black Perl Shop, which stands out on the mountain side.
The Turtle Center, created in 2004 is a turtles' protection program meant also to educate about sea turtles in French Polynesia, by offering a presentation to the incidental tourists
and raise also funds off them ,
daily at 10.00am. and on Saturday at 4 Call to reserve : 40 56 40 11 / 87 715 344
The closed Hotel's premises
With such a minimal amount of turtles and mainly operating in French, we ceded
the presentation, after seeing barely 3 turtles, for the sake of snorkeling around a
more appealing islet at the east side of the island.
Snorkeling around the Eastern Islet - Lagoonarium
The lagoonarium is a patch of reef in the lagoon located in a marine reserve, adjacent to a small off-shore motu -islate
Further down on the eastern side of the island, passed the Ferry terminal , a provisonary
sign at the sea side of the road advertises "Jardin de Corall" is were the tickets are sold
in the small hut , for the 5 minutes boat ride to the small Motu -islet off which the snorkeling , is considered one of the Island's best
The sea water wasn't calm and the sea currents were fierce, in the afternoon we snorkeled off the people-free quite islet, Still it was most enjoyable and worth the visit ,
On the Motu
Sting Ray by the motu's shore
To be continued....