I went on Rurutu as it was part of the Australes islands and also to see where a very good friend used to live for a couple of years. The normal time to go there is September to November to see the whales. The island doesn't have a lagoon but just a few "kind of" beaches.
I spent days biking on the island to take pictures of places my friend Yvan told me about, to try to find his previous houses, and maybe people who knew him or his parents as they were teachers.
The first day wasn't a great one for the bikes. The guest house where I was staying had another guess for once, so I wasn't alone. First time... We decided to go biking together with the new bikes the owner had but the island is very hilly. Moreover the bikes had only back-pedaling brakes. First when we were quite far from the last village on the east coast, the brake of my bike got stuck and I couldn't bike anymore. A guy gave me a ride to the village with the bike on the roof since it didn't fit in the trunk. I still had to do a couple of kilometers to get to the guest house. I walked all the way to the main village since there isn't much traffic on the island and finally when I was exiting it, a guy passed a second time to give me a ride back to the guest house. He had to feed the pigs first ;) The other guy with me, also locked his back wheel with the brakes when he was biking back on another road. The owner wasn't so glad to see us coming back with broken bikes as it means to ship spare parts from Tahiti and even to call the bike shops as there were more new bikes broken.
The island is covered of so much natural resources, you can just pick anything from the side of the road. No one would say anything
On the second day I went to the other village where Yvan used to live, to hopefully have a better luck finding the house and people who remember them. And this time I took an old bike which looked strong, just to be sure to make it back for my flight. I biked in all the streets, asked a few people of my age if they knew Yvan but no luck. As it was time for a lunch I stopped at the only snack available and started to talk with the people there.
One hour later one person in the kitchen remembered the name (or heard it). I was finally happy to have found someone. Without telling me she called her brother (or brother in law) as he took classes with Yvan's dad. Two hours later still sitting at the snack enjoying my Rurutu coffee Antonio came by as he's been told someone who knew Yvan's family was at the snack. He came with this old picture what Richard took from his students
He proposed me to go to his home to see his wife and to show me the house where Yvan's family used to live.
I didn't have the time to go around on the island with Antonio to see where he used to go and play with Yvan but that will be for next time. And I hope Yvan will make his way one day for some holidays there as well. The people are so welcoming there in Avera, I loved my 3 hours at the snack to talk with the locals about my trip, their life on the island and French Polynesia.
The Australes islands were so great. I loved all of the three I visited, each in a different way, but most important all the locals are very nice and it isn't a super touristic destination which give you the chance to see the local culture.
More pictures over here: http://photos.shakeyourlife.com/French%20Polynesia/Rurutu/