Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
Trip End Feb 18, 2007

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Flag of Cook Islands  ,
Sunday, April 30, 2006

As if Rarotonga isnīt already fairly remote and isolated from the rest of the world, we decide to jump in a small 20 seater plane, and head off on an hourīs flight north, to an even smaller and more remote island, Aitutaki. The reason is, we've seen photos of this island and it really does look like paradise.

As we approach Aitutaki, we have a fantastic view over the small island, which is ringed by a long coral reef and encloses a huge crystal blue lagoon. We've never seen anything like it, it looks spectacular.

We arrive at the extremely small and laid back airport, where we are greeted by music from a colourful local band. As we transfer to our accommodation, a studio room overlooking the sea, we realise we really have landed somewhere quite special...
People are just so relaxed and friendly on this island, and it's no wonder why, when you see all the natural beauty that surrounds them.

Our second day on the island, and we hire some bicycles to enable us to explore some of the island's villages and the other coast which faces the spectacular huge lagoon.

Our third day here is Patty's Birthday, so we decide to take a boat trip around the lagoon to go snorkeling, and to visit some of the small outlying islands which have formed along the coral reef at the outer edge of the lagoon.

On our tour, we are joined by three other couples, two of which are on their honeymoon. What a fantastic place to spend your honeymoon.

Aitutaki, it's lagoon, the coral reef and it's tiny outlying islands are too beautiful for words to describe but we'll try.. :

The long coral reef encloses what must be one of the largest and most beautiful lagoons anywhere in the world. The waves break outside the reef, meaning that the water inside the lagoon is calm and crystal clear.
The lagoon itself never gets very deep, and is teeming with tropical fish, other marine life and coral, making it ideal for snorkeling. The enclosed lagoon, also offers protection from other marine nasties, so you donīt have to worry about a shark coming up and eating you from behind:-)

In addition to snorkeling, we are taken to some of the tiny outlying islands, one of which was used a few years back for the BBC's Survivor series. We nosed around the remains of the survivor site, and we're told that in a month's time the BBC would be filming another Survivor series here. What a great place to be stranded.

We head over for lunch, on a small island known as Honeymoon Island.
About 20 years ago, a Canadian couple, looking for the ideal place to get married, spotted a tiny island with no vegetation and decided it would be the perfect place to tie the knot. Afterwards, to celebrate, they planted a coconut tree in the middle of the sand island, this started the first vegetation growth here. The tradition continued, with each honeymooning couple planting their own coconut tree, and now the place is covered with hundreds of coconut trees of various ages, and it is a well established island.

Marc decides to try something similar, and wades through the lagoon for a few hundred metres to another small sand only island, where he plants a coconut, and calls it Patricia Island, as it's Patty's Birthday. We'll have to return in a few years to see if it's taken hold :)

After a tropical lunch on Honeymoon Island, gazing out to the lagoon, which looks like it's the world's largest swimming pool, we spend the afternoon snorkeling, before heading back to the main island and splashing out on a special meal for Patty's Birthday, at one of the island's top resorts. What a great way to spend your Birthday.

It's gonna be hard to leave this spectacular island, we have never seen anything quite like it. If paradise exists, this must surely be it!
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