Saturday, February 2
We started the day, after a great breakfast, with Jurgen picking us up for a tour of his coffee plantation. This trip was in the back of his truck on wooden benches, hanging on for dear life as we bounced over the pot holes and ducked the hanging tree branches. We visited the coffee plants, and he showed us the building where the husking, drying, sorting, roasting, and bagging go on. It was very interesting, even to the non-coffee drinkers in the crowd. Then we went to the Atiu Fibre Arts Studio,www.cookislandsartlink.com/andreaeimke, which is run by Jurgen’s wife, Andrea, for a coffee tasting and a chance to view her artworks. Great coffee and wonderful fibre arts.
She makes her own tapa cloth, which is a lot of hard work, and then incorporates it into her artwork. She does appliqué, similar to Hawaiian quilting, but with no batting, just two layers of cloth. She also has some wonderful machine lace effects. We had a great visit, but I didn’t buy anything there. Mani bought 2 pareo (wraps) and a glasses case. After Jurgen dropped us off at home, we went back to the same spot for a repeat of yesterday’s lunch.
Marshall picked us up for a bird cave tour. We were joined on this tour by Dominique, the French Canadian man, and the Dutch couple. We hiked over the makatea, which is a fossilized coral area that has been pushed up out of the ocean by the movement of the tectonic plates. Extremely rough country, we used walking sticks and had to watch where we put our feet every step. We had frequent stops so Marshall could show us different plants or interesting items. When we reached the cave, he handed out headlights and we climbed down a ladder to reach the cave.
Then duck, watch your step, duck, etc. into the cave and found the Atiu Swiftlet, which Marshall says is misnamed, but a very interesting bird, which echo locates to find its nest in the pitch black of the cave. He then took us down to a little pool in the cave that we all had a swim in – very refreshing, but of course, we got all dirty and sweaty on the return trip as well. We came home and showered and went over to the Atiu Villas for supper. Another wonderful meal with bananas in brandy with ice cream for desert.