Beautiful Rurutu

We had little info about Rurutu before we got here, but the island is a pleasant surprise for us. In the Lonely Planet Rurutu is described as a raised atoll, but then it should be just a flat plateau surrounded by coral cliffs like Niue, instead it has cliffs divided by flat coastal regions and high mountains inland, so we think that it must have been a lagoon with volcanic islands and a fringing reef before it was raised by tectonic movements.

The road around the island is 36 km long and it’s dotted with look-outs from steep cliffs and caves. So far we’ve seen three of those caves that were once coral and are now covered in stalactites and stalagmites. There is just very little tourism on Rurutu so the sights have no signs, but friendly locals have directed us there. We’re only the third boat(!) here this year, so people are genuinely interested and hospitable. Hitching rides we’ve found that every car stops for a raised thumb, so today we hitchhiked to the southern end of the island where we found endless white beaches with a thundering 3 m swell breaking spectacularly and makatea cliffs just next to volcanic black rocks.

Rurutu has a surprisingly well developed infrastructure, there are well-stocked supermarkets, a bank with an ATM(!), a petrol station, a hospital and a daily veg and fruit market just next to the little harbour where we are located. The harbour itself is well protected (even though it’s been blowing from the southeast since we got here there are hardly any waves in here) and we share it only with a few small local boats.

If it wasn’t for the weather we’d move in here ;-) . Unfortunately the Australs are very unlucky weatherwise: in winter it gets seriously cold and the rest of the year the convergence zone usually sits somewhere between Samoa and here and lows and troughs travel along that zone. Since we’ve got here we’ve only had 2 sunny days, the rest of the time it’s been rainy, grey and rather chilly (18 degrees at night, low 20s during the day).

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