Rarotonga and Aitutaki: 21-25 August

Trip Start Mar 28, 2005
Trip End Feb 02, 2006

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Flag of Cook Islands  ,
Monday, August 22, 2005

Rarotonga, Cook Islands:

The small airport of Rarotonga welcomes us with traditional life music played on the Ukulele, the traditional guitar. Welcome to the Pacific - I feel like in a James Bond Movie.

Rarotonga is a simple island, the beach of my guesthouse is nice but the water very shallow and swimming is not possible. The activities offered on Rarotonga include snorkeling (by boat or kayak to one of the small islands around), hiking (due to rainy weather the famous island walk is not possible) or diving. I decide to escape the rainy weather and book a flight to Aitutaki for the next day - Aitutaki which is supposed to be the most beautiful lagoon in the world.

Aitutaki, Cook Islands:

Aitutakiīs lagoon is really stunning, the blue colors amazing, nevertheless, the water is also very shallow for swimming or snorkeling; therefore, there is a couple of tour organizers on the island who offer snorkeling trips to some small islands outside the bay and this trip is really breathtaking. We spend the whole day on a small and comfortable boat, stop twice for snorkeling in the most blue water I have every seen, stop on two small islands for bird watching and barbecuing ... the most beautiful snokeling trip one can imagine ... a must for every visitor.

The next day I try out the scuba diving on Aitutaki. Onu, the big diving instructor picks me up from my guesthouse in the morning, drives me to his house that also operates as his diving school, me and two Japanese gentlemen select our diving gear, then Onu drives his tractor with his diving boat from his garden down to the small harbor. We just dive on the riff outside the harbor, it is not thrilling, not easy for me after having seen so many other exciting diving spots in the world.

On my last day I rent a mountainbike and discover some more of the small island. In the evenings, the various restaurants on the island offer the very touristic 'island nights' including a buffet with local specialities and a show by locals (some of them just kids and not as professional as expected) performing their traditional dances and songs. I was a bit disappointed as it was so obviously touristic and the locals seemed to be quiet bored by what they were doing.

Summa summarum: The Cook Islands are very simple islands, the houses are simple as is the life of the locals. They are friendly, the rhythm of their lifes is not a very fast one, tourists donīt bother them, nothing seems to bother them much, they enjoy eating, drinking, singing and dancing, they seem happy, most of them are heavily overweight.
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