TRIP REPORT PHOTOS
This is the view as the hike starts out near Patio.  The paved road gradually turns to dirt and gravel.  Notice there are some steep hillsides off to the right:
The banks on the side of the road were soon fully covered by greenery and small yellow flowers:
Right away, there were some beautiful Crepe Ginger flowers in bloom:
Crepe Ginger blooms feature large white, trumpet-shaped flowers blooming from red bracts:
The road soon became wet and muddy due to recent rainy weather:
Notice the extensive amount of Red Hibiscus flowers in bloom here:
A close-up of a Red Hibiscus.  Have you ever taken a closer look at the stamens (yellow) and pistils (red) at the tip of the flower?  These are reproductive parts of the flower:
Passing by a netted-off area for growing plants.  More than likely, the landowners are growing vanilla here:
A Breadfruit tree with large fruits visible throughout.  Breadfruit trees have a very high yield rate, producing between 50-150 fruits per year in this region:
The next two pictures show some of the coconut trees visible along the route.  Notice that the coconut palms were quite tall and impressive:
The road was dry and in very good condition through this section:
Two pictures of banana trees which are yielding extensive fruit.  There are over 100 bananas visible in this first picture:
Breadfruit trees and banana trees growing side by side:
Breadfruit trees really amaze me because the branches can hold fruits that weigh up to 13 pounds each:
This wooden platform was being used to dry out some type of fruit or vegetable:
The road was often lined by plants like these which have such vibrant and colorful leaves:
Passing by a nice display of Tahitian Ginger (or Red Ginger) flowers:
Red Ginger flowers are always very impressive to check out up close with such bright red coloring:
Honolulu Rose (or Fragrant Glory Bower) plants were in full bloom with spectacular white flowers:
Honolulu Rose flowers grow in clusters which all bloom together:
This is one of the best pictures I've taken of a Red Ginger flower.  Notice how the leaves perfectly frame the single flower in the middle:
A close-up of the Red Ginger flower seen in the previous picture:
This might look like a stream that I passed by, but it's not.  This is actually a flooded portion of trail (or road):
There was no alternative but to walk straight ahead through the flood waters:
These tall bushes had a variety of pink (or red) and green leaves mixed together:
Red Hibiscus and Red Ginger growing together.  Can you spot the Red Hibiscus flowers?:
Two pictures of banana trees (which are actually plants).  The red part hanging down at the bottom is the banana flower (or blossom):
There were an abundance of banana fruits growing along the route.  Keeping in mind that most of them were growing on private property, I didn't pick any:
Some more very tall coconut trees towering over the sides of the road:
A small sprouted coconut found on the side of the road which may become a tree someday:
Notice how both of these coconut trees are growing at the same height and are leaning over to the right, possibly from wind blowing through the valley:
While I was walking along the road, I didn't get passed by any vehicles all afternoon.  This road is seldom used by the few residents who live this far inland:
These small red plants are among my favorites in the South Pacific.  They have such a striking color that contrasts well with all the greenery:
A very tall tree which looks quite old and has a nice appearance:
The trees and plants have so much variety to them, which keeps things interesting:
A scenic spot where the tracks of the road pass through a thick portion of jungle:
Some very large banana leaves growing high into the air:
Some more beautiful Crepe Ginger flowers in bloom:
The trunk of this tall, thin tree has been completely covered by other plants:
This was my first view of the mountains high above the valley:
Notice how the white flowers blooming here were all hanging downwards:
Spotting a papaya tree with fruit that was high above the trail and out of reach:
Zooming in on the papayas, it is evident that a bird or animal has been enjoying some fruit:
Coconut husks and shells were piled up high on the ground here:
The 4WD passable road comes to an end after 2 miles of hiking when the last house is reached:
There is a pretty stream that flows under a bridge which must be crossed to continue:
A minor junction is passed but the main trail continues uphill along this path:
This Breadfruit tree was covered at the base by coconut husks.  I'm not sure of the purpose behind this:
Cooked breadfruits are among my favorite foods to eat in the South Pacific:
The trail now becomes overgrown by grasses and small plants:
It also gets considerably steeper.  In fact, most of the elevation gain occurs over the next 1 1/2 miles to Vaitoetoe Pass:
This papaya tree was much shorter and had fruits within reach of ground level:
The papayas are already huge and they have barely started to turn yellow and ripen:
Notice how much more of the mountain ridges high above the trail were now visible:
There were several locations like this where trees and large branches have fallen across the trail:
The trail began passing by a valley which was down below on the right side:
This majestic mountain peak rises up over 1,000 feet in elevation above the valley:
Panoramic of the lush green valley below the trail and high mountain peak above (click to enlarge):
Tahaa mountain ridge panoramic
Looking down into the valley from a portion of trail with steep drop-offs:
This particular mountain peak becomes the dominant landscape feature for the next mile of hiking:
Looking back at the grass-covered trail which probably doesn't see much use during the wet season:
The slopes of the mountain were covered with extensive greenery of great variety:
The peak (which has several unique bumps) becomes more distinct as the trail gets higher:
The ridgeline which continues to the southwest past this summit heads to Mount Ohiri (1,936 feet), which is the highest point on Tahaa:
Still gaining steady elevation as I neared the pass.  During the climb, the peaks located to the east are not visible:
One of my favorite pictures because the landscape is solid green as the trail climbs to the pass with the mountain peak in the background:
A very long portion of ridgeline could now be seen as there were less trees blocking the view:
This was the first spot where I could finally see over the other side to one of the southern ridges:
There was a short but surprising section of trail which had some old pavement:
Other minor peaks began popping up along the southern ridgeline:
A triangular-shaped peak soon came into view far in the distance:
It's always nice to have a powerful zoom when interesting natural features like this peak come into view:
Upon reaching Vaitoetoe Pass, there was a clear view looking back to the north toward Patio and the lagoon:
One of the smaller distant motus in the lagoon was also visible:
This massive tree-covered mountain is quite magnificent when viewed from the pass:
Zooming in just a bit, notice that the left side of the mountain has some sheer cliffs while the right side has some very large trees growing tall:
An extreme close-up of the actual summit:
A short distance below the pass is this overlook point in a beautiful park-like setting:
The views from the overlook point start with this view to the southeast showing the edge of the lagoon far away:
Zooming in on a wide section of Haamene Bay:
Mount Fareura (1,503 feet) completely dominates the landscape to the south and towers over Haamene Bay:
Notice the red and brown colored water in Haamene Bay.  This happens when it rains and soil gets washed down streams and into the bay.  Also, the island of Raiatea is visible in the background:
Looking at residences and other buildings in the village of Haamene:
Looking down at a footbridge and dock which cuts out 1/3 of a mile for locals walking to and from town:
This small inlet is the far western end of Haamene Bay:
This major peak rises up to the southwest above Haamene village:
Also looking to the southwest, Hurepiti Bay is visible:
These slopes to the west are the lower foothills of Mount Ohiri:
Panoramic showing the full view from the overlook point near Vaitoetoe Pass (click to enlarge):
Overlook point panoramic of Haamene Bay and southern Tahaa
Taking a self portrait with Mount Fareura and Haamene Bay in the background:
The bench and palm trees really make this overlook point the perfect place to take in the views:
Continuing down the trail past the overlook point:
Tahitian screwpine trees were growing on the hillside above the trail:
I did this hike during the heat and humidity of summer, so sections of trail with shade were really helpful:
On this side of the pass, the trail was a lot more muddy and slippery:
Looking back up at the high mountain peak that the trail circles around after dropping some elevation:
Zooming in, I had now seen this peak from many different angles during the hike:
This is Mount Ohiri, the highest peak on Tahaa.  This was the only time during the hike when I could actually see Mount Ohiri:
Down the ridgeline from Mount Ohiri, this rock formation really stands out:
Far below the overlook point now, with the mountains only faintly visible above the trees:
Some very tall banana trees filled with hanging clusters (or bunches) of bananas:
An oddly-shaped Tahitian chestnut tree growing along the bank of the creek:
A fence stretches across the trail here to keep the cows contained.  The fence opens on the left side:
The trail once again becomes a road while passing through the end portion on private property:
The creek was flowing swiftly with lots of water from recent rains:
Fallen coconuts in abundance which are not being harvested by anyone:
Passing by some friendly cows.  Notice the calf drinking some milk while the mother keeps watch:
Arriving at the final gate which marks the end of the trail and exits the short private property section of the hike:
Down this driveway is the coastal road which passes through Haamene.  Turning right down below leads to the main supermarket in town:
Taken during our flight, this picture shows the 3 major mountain peaks which are visible during the hike.  They are Mount Ohiri (left arrow), the mountain peak just above Vaitoetoe Pass (middle arrow), and Mount Fareura (right arrow):
Here are a few bonus pictures taken while snorkeling the Coral Garden in Tahaa.  Notice how Bora Bora is visible in the background:
A huge Titan triggerfish.  These can attack if you cross their nesting territory:
Bird wrasse.  I had seen this one before, but got some better pictures this time:
This is a Snowflake moray eel which was cruising along the sandy bottom:
The face of the Snowflake moray peeking out:
A bright yellow Teardrop butterflyfish:
This looks like a Cornetfish:
This is an Ornate butterflyfish.  Note the diagonal orange bands on the body:
A Sea anemone attached to an underwater coral rock:
A Bullethead parrotfish swimming with its mouth open:
This is also a Bullethead parrotfish.  It looks different from above because this fish has reached its terminal phase:
The patterns on this Vermiculate rabbitfish (or Maze rabbitfish) are quite incredible:
Back view of a Yelloweye filefish, which is a notoriously hard fish to photograph:
Our final fish is a Spotted Boxfish.  This is the first time I had spotted one of these while snorkeling:
Daddy and Stefan hanging out on the motu beach next to Tahaa's Coral Garden:
Sailing away from Tahaa with memories of one of the nicest South Pacific islands we've visited:
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