Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Cook Islands  ,
Thursday, February 1, 2007

After yesterdays fairly cloudy day and the rain the day before that today was blessed with clear blue skies and sun all around. Fantastic, even more so since I was off to see the lagoon today where sunny sunlight is almost as much a must as taking a cruise around it.

Was picked up from Tom's before picking up just 5 others including Patricia (Swiss) who I'd met staying at Vara's back on Rarotonga.

Our friendly host / driver / captain / cook / guide / storyteller dude drove us down to the little boat we would take powering out into the lagoon to an area designated a turtle sanctuary. Spotting one shy female repeatedly ducking under and then coming back up to watch us we continued onto our first snorkeling spot just off a sand bank near a small motu. The crystal clear water was not very deep like most of the lagoon but still filled with its fair share of colorful fish and a few giant clams as well as a puffer fish who didn't seem amused at me making puffed cheek faces at him trying to get him to pucker up.

Climbing out of the water I chose to walk over to the island through the knee deep water instead of waiting for the boat wandering along the spit of sand without another person around.
Maina Island was a small sandy lump with a splattering of palm trees in the centre but also a reserve for some red tailed tarns who lived here as well as more hermit crabs that I'd ever seen numbering into the hundreds.

Rounding the bottom of Aitutaki we entered the other side of the lagoon heading towards one foot island stopping at a small spit of land for a gander. The water here really is incredible with some many shades of blue and turquoise (how many times I have used that word lately) green creating an indescribable beauty. Having island hopped around Fiji and then Rarotonga I thought I had seen as good as tropical paradise islands can get but we can all be wrong from time to time.

Going for a short swim just off one foot island diving off a floating platform in the azure waters, we were all still stunned by the achingly beautiful serenity around us with Patricia best summing it up "I feel like I am in a dream."

After a good lunch filled with a range of local foods we took a walk around the little one foot island were you can get you passport stamped at the post office if you are so inclined as prove that you have visited paradise but it was shut when we arrived not that I had brought my passport anyway.

More snorkeling followed with plenty more butterfly, angel and damsel fish as well as a few trigger fish chasing me away from there rock side apartments whenever I got too close.

Back on shore Patricia and I took a walk up the highest hill on the island getting some panoramic views over Aitutaki and the lagoon from the top. The hill has quite a story attached to it with it apparently being stolen from Rarotonga. The legend goes that the mountain of Maru on Rarotonga was the envy of the other islands round about especially flat Aitutaki at the time. The chiefs of Aitutaki decided to steal the mountain by sending a number of warriors in canoes to Rarotonga to cut the top of it off with their spears and bring it back to Aitutaki being chased by the Rarotongans wanting their mountain back. Little scamps.

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