You don’t cycle on a tropical island expecting to be trapped by flash floods but …
We were on our bikes at first light and cycled the first fifty kilometers along the coast road. Twice, we had to hide from passing showers which should have served as a warning of what was to come. We found a cafe for a second breakfast, hid from the rain again and then turned left in to the jungle.
There is a reason Tahiti is covered in rain forest – because when it rains it really rains. We followed a narrow track through an incredibly deep, unbelievably steep, vegetation clad gorge. We met a few bamboo cutters but other than that we were totally alone, surrounded by every shade of green. The water fell from the sky, it ran down the hillsides, it washed across the track and soaked us but at least it was warm.
The track gradually rose in to the mountains and every bend offered a new view of forest and waterfalls. After passing a reservoir we reached the “stupidly steep” section and pushed up the volcanic rock until we reached a tunnel that took us in to the next valley. Here we met the first cars and one warned us that the road was flooded but maybe OK. We enjoyed the ride down to a mountain hotel with more stupendous views.
The hotel was closed because the road further down the valley was flooded and impassable. The owner gave us a warm lunch and coffee but refused payment as she was closed. The people here are so friendly. After the meal the lady informed us that a pickup had just arrived after crossing the flood and that it was now possible with a high 4×4 vehicle. We set off to take a look and found that the entire overspill of a reservoir was flooding and biking was out of the question. Luckily a local family ferried us over in their pickup and we were free to roll back down to the coast and then cycle the twenty kilometers home.
Along the coast road the sun was shining and locals were surfing the huge waves. Definitely a day of contrasts.
Our route is at Alltrails