We’ve spent a week now in Rarotonga. The main island of the Cooks is a beautiful mountainous island with a fringing reef that is too shallow and narrow for navigation (apart from a tiny lagoon on the eastern shore). The main town Avarua is a bustling place with plenty of souvenir shops, clothes shops and little cafes. The Cook Islands are theoretically independent, but have very strong bonds to New Zealand, so the numerous tourists are mainly from New Zealand and the local Polynesians sound also very ‘Kiwi’.

We explored the island hitchhiking and found that the coastal stretch is full of hotels and ressorts, but the mountainous interior remains lush and untouched. There are many hikes up the summits (most of them around 500 m) and we did two of them walking up steep ridges under high trees and many varieties of ferns.

Unfortunately we don’t have much time to play tourists (as much as we enjoy it), because we are busy with errants. The friendly island mentality stops where bureaucracy starts and we still haven’t managed to fuel up Pitufa with duty-free diesel and to organise duty-free fuel (booze) for the crew, despite several days of efforts.

So far we’ve been lucky with the weather, the harbour’s rather calm in the mainly southeasterly winds, but it’s chilly during the nights (18 degrees, BRRRRRRR) and cool during the days. It’s cumbersome to take the dinghy underneath stern lines to the rickety ladder on the dock and lowering provisions down is precarious. With each trip the dinghy gets more dirty and now a construction crew has started a building site on the dock. Two guys are tearing down a concrete wall with jackhammers just upwind of Pitufa–not just the cockpit, even the kitchen sink just below the companion way gets filled up with grit in the 20 knots gusts…

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