A Travellerspoint blog

Change of plan

We had planned on getting the evening flight home. But there were things that needed sorting out at home so we changed our flights to an early one ... 0615, yay! We got on fine on standby and had the day to do chores and errands for the remainder of the day in Auckland ... except that it was Tuesday in Auckland due to crossing the International Dateline again.

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Back to Rarotonga

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We flew back to Rarotonga [Rarotonga-travel-guide-1291596] early and hired a motorbike again. The weather was getting a bit cool. We circled the whole island ... our first attempt anti-clockwise failed as it started drizzling, so we reversed direction and did it clockwise.

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large_5550_12820398568708.jpgOn the dive boat with the divemaster and the owner's son.
We did two dives today. It was double the price of what I paid in Aceh over a week ago.

I guess in Aitutaki [Aitutaki-travel-guide-1291508], the outfit run by resident Kiwis has to make a living coping with high petrol prices and other costs ... eg. petrol price is horrendous! In Aceh, there is a reliance on visiting dive masters who are travelling the world and are still in awe with the diving there at Pulau Weh ... presumably they work for little money as they’re like on holiday. And then there are also cheap Indonesian locals to help carry/refill the tanks, clean the equipment and drive the boats etc.

It may be a bit unfair to base my conclusion on these two dives ... I’ve seen better diving up in Malaysia and Indonesia in terms of marine life. Also, things here are a bit “easygoing” for the money you pay ... but this is typical of the Pacific Islands (eg. food, accommodation).


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Cruising the Aitutaki Lagoon

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large_5550_12820163964776.jpgOur boat with Bishops Cruises.
Shortlived Despair

The noise outside in the early morning either rustling of the coconut fronds or rain ... we couldn’t tell. It was windy and gloomy with patches of blue. Then came a loud knock on our front door followed by advice that our lagoon cruise with Kia Orana had been cancelled.

We lay in bed wondering in despair how we’d fill in a whole day, especially if the weather was bad. As the weather brightened we thought we’d go to reception to arrange an alternate provider for a lagoon cruise. By the time I got there, they had cheerfully rebooked us with Bishop’s Cruises.

Apparently, the other guests with Kia Orana cruises had been put off by the weather which meant that we were the only remaining customers and hence unviable.large_5550_12820163974450.jpgThe jetty at Akaiami.

Gorgeous Aitutaki [Aitutaki-travel-guide-1291508] Atoll

As it was still a bit windy, the cruise took us to Akaiami for snorkelling. This is apparently a change from their normal spot as Akaiami is more sheltered ... this suited us fine as it is also the island where the passengers from the Tasman Empire Airways (TEAL) flying boats were accommodated in the 1950s. The water was clear and there was enough marine life to satisfy a short snorkel.

The water in the atoll itselfwas a gorgeous turquoise but not crystal clear ... instead it was like a suspension ... so it was milky but still brilliant turquoise.

Along the way, we saw a couple of turtles ... it is amazing how quickly they dart past on the surface as we’re used to seeing the float past while diving.large_5550_12820163974478.jpgThe huge sandbar and the beautiful water surrounding it.

We were dropped off a huge expansive white sand bar. There was a gentle slope on one side of the sand bar giving hectares of clear warm wading water over white sand. On the other side of the sand bar, the slope gave way more steeply giving plenty of beautifully clear (not milky) and cool azure waters.

We waded from the sand bar to One Foot Island [One-foot-island-travel-guide-1324081] where lunch was served. There was enough time for more swimming and snorkelling before we headed back to the main island of Aitutaki.

The Aussies, The Malaysian, The Alaskan and The Cook Islander

While on One Foot Island, this elderly woman (a fellow customer on the cruise) came up and wanted to pay me for the postcard on sale ... I’m so dark now so I look like a Cook Islander! She soon realised that I was only a fellow customer.

Later, she asked if I was from Alaska ... yes, Eskimoes do look Oriental. But it was my Alaska T-shirt which made her think that!

I’m quite sure she’s a New Zealander ... perhaps from a less cosmopolitan part of the country.

But then she could have been Aussie ... I mistook an Aussie couple for Kiwis at the start of the day. They were saying how they were too many mozzies in a certain part of the island, when I mistook him for saying there were too many Ozzies. I soon realised my faux pas.


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

Short flight to paradise

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[http://images.travbuddy.com/5550_12820160674152.jpg]Early morning departure to Aitutaki.
We had to wake up at 0630 for the 0800 departure from Rarotonga [Rarotonga-travel-guide-1291596] to Aitutaki. We hadn’t thought of the 2 hour time difference when we planned to catch the early morning flight. Yawn!

We got to the airport at 0715 and the place was dead. Things opened up shortly after 0730 ... and checkin for the 30 seater plane continued till about 0750. The staff have got it down to a fine art. Even though we departed slightly late, we got there on time. Does it matter? We’re on holiday!

Aitutaki is an island about 50 minutes from Rarotonga (at a horrendous price of NZD$550 return at full price, ouch). It is part of a chain of islands that forms a circular necklace with relatively shallow water in the middle From the air, land or sea, it looks like heaven.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a gentleman who insisted his name was “Driver” ... and he was incidentally our driver, taking us to our hotel “Paradise Cove” a few minutes away. Our rooms weren't ready yet so the lady at the hotel took us to town to see the Constitution Day celebrations but we were too early ...

We rented a motorbike and toured the island for most of the day.


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

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