Cook Islands - Rarotonga Pt. 1
26.10.2009 - 02.11.2009
Kia Orana from the Cook Islands!
Kia Orana is the local greeting and translates “may you live well” in Cook Islands Maori. We arrived the main island of Rarotonga at sunrise after a long day and night of traveling from Colorado. Rarotonga is the largest island of the 15 in the Cook Islands. It is completely ringed by a coral reef, as are most of the islands, and is somewhat mountainous with the highest peek at 653 meters.
It did not take long to unwind and settle into the slow pace of the Cooks and “island time”. We have 18 days here so we decided to take things slow and not try to do to much in any given day.
Rarotonga backpackers has turned out to be the quintessential backpackers hostel and we quickly made friends with most of the guests sharing stories of past travel and what lies ahead. We would become close with a few that were in the cooks for as long as us and on the same pace of budget travel. Cooking and eating together at the hostel and wasting the days away on the beach occupies the better part of most days.
We have done some hiking here climbing one peek for excellent views of the inner island and coast as well as the highly touted cross island track via a massive stone pillar called the needle. The snorkeling has also been out of this world. We are sure to have a lot more of this to come but were I am today I do not know how it can get much better. The coral within the reef can be easily reached from shore and in some spots is isolated clops of coral surrounded by a soft sandy bottom to long stretches of maze like coral electric with color in the afternoon sun and packed with many different tropical fish. Other than the fish we have seen giant clams, eel, and blue starfish.
One night we headed out to a bar in town were they were having an “island night” The bar turned out to be a cheesy disco and The setting had me skeptical but the performance was actually done quite well and was very entertaining. Male and female dancers in traditional dress performed in front of about 15 drummers and singers. At the end of the show they came through the audience and randomly selected people to come up on stage and dance. Meghan was yanked out of her seat and like a good sport she got up and shook her hips as best she could with the distraction of everyone at our table snapping away at their digital photos in rapid succession!
We are on the west side of the island and are treated to some amazing sunsets but a short scooter ride around the beautiful and empty sothern side of the island and you come to Muri Beach on the east side. This is were the lagoon is and there are 4 deserted islands, or Motu, one can explore. Here the water is truly turquoise and the sand is pure white.
From here we head to the Island of Aitutaki for 4 days. Aitutaki is known for its massive lagoon and is said to be one of the most memorable sights in the South Pacific.
Getting My Cook Islands Drivers Licence
Greenpeace Boat in the Harbor
Dancers at the Saturday Market