The Raid Anei is an eagerly awaited event. This year’s course was no exception set as it was in the mountains above Point Matira along a ridge-line that offers a spectacular bird’s eye view of why Bora Bora is regarded as the most beautiful island in the world with the world’s most beautiful lagoon.
The first climb took ‘raiders’ steeply to a lookout know to the Tahitans as Puhonu (pa meaning fortress, honu meaning turtle) from where the following photos were taken. In times gone by when Bora Borians were fierce warriors & the island was divided between 8 kingdoms these vantage spots were greatly prized – honu the sacred animal of royalty shows the importance of this site, the military significance of which is readily apparent to anyone making the climb:
The course started at the legendary ‘Bloody Mary’s’ & it did not go unnoticed that amongst the many rich & famous that have dined there were many prominent athletes including Bubba Watson, Mark Richards, Roger Craig, Tracey Murray, Greg Jacobs, Phil Jackson…..:
Amongst those present were those who had moored their more than impressive super-yacht off Bloody Mary’s long jetty. The 78.4m, “TV” (formerly Madsummer), the world’s 99th biggest boat is for sale for…………just wait for it – Euros 130 million). That’s 15,600,000,000xpf!!!:
Almost 300 were present for the Mayoral race start – don’t you just love the guys in sports events who are capable of leading from start to finish:
Several hundred participants eased out of the start ready for the test that lay ahead:
As in all events in Bora Bora there is always an element of ‘fun’ in the competition; always flowers:
After a dash out to the Hotel Bora Bora & around the bunya tree the ‘raiders’ started the ascent up the mountainside to the peaks around Rufau – today’s race would take them ‘between the transmission towers’ across the ridge-line above Matira then further atop Bora Bora to literally the foot of Mt Otemanu then down through Anau before a final traverse of the range to reach the finish at Vaitape.
Ahead was an outing of some 18km offering a variety of conditions – a good intermittent mix of strenuous effort to ascend & skilful know-how to descend. The footing was moist following recent rains & at times slippery – the rains also ensured the humidity pushed transpiration to the max! The overcast conditions, however, made for pleasant running conditions:
Steeeeeep roped descent:
One climbs slowly but surely to reach a pinnacle which sits majestically atop the ridge-line mid-way between the towers. The climb can be arduous at times but the reward is views in all directions that are quite breathtaking – the views from the track along the ridgeline are nothing short of sensational offering with a myriad of outlook points capable of stopping even the most ardent of competitors in their tracks simply to take in the stunning panorama:
The panorama is 360 degrees, striking in every direction, taking in Point Matira, the major resorts east of Matira & across to Raiatea & Tahaa, upwards to the omnipresent Mt Otemanu & across the waters to Teavanui Pass, Vaitape & Mt Otemanu:
The next assault- Mata Pupu – a prominant landmark piercing 235m into the sky which to reach involves a hike that is ‘always upwards’!
This is how it looked to those taking the route – Mata Pupu in the foreground with Mt Otemanu overlooking matters:
The track itself is interesting, stimulating & challenging- you can see the ridgeline to be followed in the first shot:
How often have you visualised the following setting from the roadside & dreamt of how good it must be ‘up there’…..well here’s your chance & its everything & more than you expected:
I love this one – simply ‘up & over’ to move forwards:
These ‘raids’ are more, in fact, than a good physical hit-out amidst outstanding scenery. They can also offer the opportunity to gain an insight into the rich cultural heritage of these people through a reflection, for example, into the names given to landmarks by the ancestors of this island’s people.
We were atop Mata Pupu the sharply pointed, cone shaped mountain piercing the skies above Povaie Bay. A common useage of the word mata is to signify a face, the face of things; pupu commonly refers to a gathering (of personages).
Take a look at the following photos taken during the hike:
Could the ‘gathering’ refer to the ‘faces’ of stones with an uncanny resemblance to tikis?
Could the ‘eye’ be referring to the eye of the tikis keeping a watchful look over Raiatea, Tahaa & Huahine as a means of ‘protection’ in days gone by for Bora Bora against any planned raids?
Success in the ascent promised an exceptional panorama for anyone ready to make the climb. ‘Raiders’ would not be disappointed as these images attest – the camera lies, as you can actually see Raiatea, Tahaa & Huahine in the background:
Without moving you only need to turn your head 180 degrees to see the whole of Povaie Bay & Vaitape with Motu Tapu & Teavanui Pass & even Maupiti in the distance. It’s simply sensational:
A closer look at Motu Tapu & Maupiti:
Of course, the over-water bungalows of some of the world’s leading Resorts are not forgotten, here a long-distance sweep of them all:
Here’s a place little known to locals & tourists alike – so much so that even property agents market it under different names! Villa One or Alokilani was rented by Lidsay Lohan at reportedly almost $US110,000 per week……come on – you can find it advertised for rent on the web at less than $1000 per day!
One can linger here for hours. As the sun moves across the skies you’ll stare in disbelief at the artistry that nature in all her generosity has offered in abundance to Bora Bora – perhaps this explains in part why only 67 of the 116 teams entered would complete the course with the winners home in 2h 50m 42s.
For the writer this was a great course – sufficiently challenging for competition minded participants, yet permitting those wishing to travel at an easier pace an overview of some of the world’s best scenery.
This is a truly exceptional outing – endless breathtaking views from every angle, the adrenalin hit that comes from tracking on a thin ridgeline with steep falls on either side & the exhilaration that flows when all that’s between you & heaven is the odd helicopter. There is surely no better island/oceanside hike on earth!