As remote as it gets..

Trip Start Nov 03, 2009
Trip End Jul 15, 2010

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Flag of Cook Islands  , Southern Cook Islands,
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So we have three weeks on the blissful island of Aitutaki. A extremely isolated lagoon atoll situated about 160 miles north of Rarotonga consisting of 15 separate islands in it's surrounding locality.

Aitutaki had recently been hit by a ferocious cyclone; 'Cyclone Pat' and the entire island has been affected greatly because of this. Fruit & Veg crops being destroyed was probably one of the main issues (bar losing your house obviously) as everything has to be freighted in from New Zealand which is not only costly but also very a very infrequent occurance. Hence why we brought as much essential food stuff as we could from Auckland/Rarotonga.

In the South Pacific they're pretty used to the cyclone season, it occurs every year ands they deal with it well usually. However this bad boy was over 250kmph of raw nature and it hit the island hard. Everywhere you went you could see the damage it caused and it was quite frightening to see what it had done during the relatively short period of time it passed over, neither I nor Sofie had ever seen the total destruction caused by a cyclone so it was a sight to behold even 2 months on. Roofs ripped off, houses completely flattened, coconut trees obliterated. Not quite your immediate impression of paradise but fair play to the islanders, they seemed to have got many damaged aspects sorted out pretty quickly and for the rest (the tress and bush), allowing for nature to take it's inevitable course.

We rented a hut right on the beach and in-front of some of the best snorkelling to be had on the island. A great place called Matriki Beach Huts. If you ever get the chance to visit Aitutaki I strongly advise that you consider staying there, the rates are pretty reasonable as this is a very expensive place to visit and they are a really nice family who offer up a lot to their guests in terms of trips and island knowledge. Tip!

After arriving here we literally unpacked everything we owned, as this was the first time we would be stationary for a prolonged period of time. Finally we felt like we had some kind of home of sorts within our 10 x 6ft rustic hut . I stuck up the hammock that was bought in Thailand but not even used yet due to most of the other places having one already installed. All the effort carrying it around in the pack for the last 4 months had now paid off.
We have a stupid amount of catching up to do in this blog so sadly Aitutaki is going to be a brief write-up from here on in, sorry guys! I still need to export all the other photos too so there are plenty more to come on this entry. I just need 2 hours to get it all done and South America doesn't allow too much free time to do this, nor a stable internet connection.

Anyway back to Aitutaki, Met a great Finnish couple called Oli & Sojle who were also staying for quite a while on the island and hung out with them for quite a bit. I went spear fishing with Oli and a couple of locals who work at the Marine Reserach Centre outside the reef which was great experience, quite strange to be bobbing along in the South Pacific with Sharks lurking about. Managed to nail 2 Parrot Fish and 3 or 4 others got away after being severely damaged by my spear. Got back and cooked them up, everyone ate, lovely.

As this part of the trip was technically a surprise for Sofie for her 30th we had a great celebrating her day with a BBQ, fine wine and great food. I think she had a pretty decent day by all accounts even though the weather during our time there was very much hit and miss, damn global warning. Still we were well lucky to have visited this amazing place but 3 weeks probably was a touch too long in hindsight.  

Other highlights during our 3 weeks there included heading out on a Lagoon Trip around all the islands, driving about on the mainland checking everything out, fishing in a ridiculous South Pacific swell with the owner Mattias (and not catching anything!), watching Spurs beat Man City at 9am with beer in hand, hanging out with our new adopted cat "Katten", Snorkelling every day when the weather allowed and just generally taking it well easy before the hectic legs of New Zealand & South America beckoned.

So that was Aitutaki, I don't think either of us will ever visit a place quite as remote and stunningly beautiful as this place was but you never know. 

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