It was a joy to be at the wheel of a big 4x4 pickup, and we set off to explore the island, heading north towards the airport on one of the two roads out of town. It was cloudy and threatening rain. The road past the airport took us along the plateau between confiera smelling delicious in the damp cool air. We reached a roundabout, with Give Way and Keep Right signs, but no signposts to anywhere. Using a faint map in a Kindle version of the Lonely Planet Guide we took the first exit and a hundred yards later were on unpaved road, rattling and bouncing along. The track took is high up to cross the pine of the island, where the clouds cleared enough for some spectacular views.
The we descended northwards some times finding a shot section of concrete road which was much appreciated as a break from the jolting. The slopes of the mountains are thickly forested with banana trees and mangoes appearing occasionally near someone's home the terrain is steep and heavily eroded into precipitous ravines, so often the road descends the spine if a ridge with land dropping steeply away either side. Then a series of hairpins twist down the steepest ridges with vertiginous drops and no safety barrier.s. The rain makes the road very muddy in places, or erodes it away in gullies demanding a lot of concentration to keep the car safely on track.
Eventually we dropped to sea level on the northern coast and passed little hamlets with well tended gardens and bungalows. After climbing a few more ridges and dropping through more valleys we reached Puemau. Where we Aled directions to the archaeological site of Iipona. Payment of 300 cup per person is made to Thres at the snack bar and here we paused to have a drink and admire her herb garden. She enjoyed our interest and invited us to come to her house to pick fruit and be introduced to her eels! Truly! The track to her house dips through a stream, and here she cracked an egg to call the eels. Immediately theee was a disconcerting writing of snuous forms up the splashing Stream and eels as thick as your arm were competing to get the eggs. Therese then kindly loaded us with fruit from the heavily laden tees in her garden, using a net on a long pole to pull down avocados, giant pamplemousse, ramburans, lines and another citrus like fruit called Vii