It seemed like a good idea at the time

Monday, October 19, 2009
Aitutaki, Southern Cook Islands, Cook Islands
19/10/09 Day 10 Aitutaki

Woke up this morning to grey skies . What the?? Doesn't matter cos we’ve got the scooter and don’t want to waste that $25 J

Four items on the agenda today -

1. Go over to the other side of the island and go up to Mangapou, the highest point on the island.

2. Decided we’ll do another lagoon cruise tomorrow so want to book that at the info centre.

3. Get the postcards mailed.

4. Walk up the lagoon to as many motus as we can manage.

Head to Koru Café again for brekkie. Food is great again as is the coffee. Both still amazed at the quality of the food we’ve 'encountered’ along the way.

Rain squalls keep blowing through but the rain isn’t heavy and of course it’s not cold. The scooter might be a bit treacherous, especially as we’ll be off-roading . Stop laughing everyone!

I’m also supposed to get a licence this morning when we’re over in town but just can’t be bothered. If I get pulled over by one of the two policemen on the island then I’ll tell them I’m on my way to the police station.

Ride over and the weather stays fine. Bump into a couple we’d met on the first lagoon cruise. Their scooter had broken down on Sunday and what happened next was what makes the locals as much of an attraction as the destination.

Not sure if someone stopped to offer them help or if they knocked on a door and asked to make a phone call but instead the locals swung into action. A truck was organised and the scooter hoisted onto it. Paul and his wife were then whisked off to one of the local churches where they were plied with ice cream and cold drinks before being taken back to The Boatshed to get another scooter. That’s what these people are like . Maybe that religion thing isn't that bad.

Managed to find our way to Mangapou. Quite a bit of off-roading (on-dirt or on-grass tracking actually) and I’m sure Al was as scared as me. At least I had hold of the handle bars. The view was quite amazing although would have been even more so if the skies had been clear. The dark clouds added a bit of menace to our photos I suppose.

No need to keep the scooter as we’d done everything we wanted to on it so we dropped it off early. Decided we’d have dinner at The Boatshed again so booked us in for a table outside.

Time to head up the lagoon. We’d finally managed to talk to Moeau and got some beers because we wanted to take a couple with us. Al foresaw a problem with the bottles clinking together. Solution? Put them in socks. I reckon sock stubby coolers could be the next big thing.

Plan was to head across the channel outside Samade, then along the sandbank opposite Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa, across the shallowest bit we could spot to the next motu and then up the shoreline .

Had to swim twice when the water got too deep to stand, but apart from those two times we never went through water over our wastes.

Al never wears a hat. I can't imagine not wearing one out in the sun but that's just Al. I think the sun here finally got to him because fortuitously we found a cap (from the ALR&S) sitting on the beach when we reached the first motu. He ummed and ahhed and finally put it on. It was very hot and glary and I don't think he would have lasted as long as we did without it.

We headed up waking along the outer edge of the motu. The reef was between 50 and 100 metres off shore along most of the motu. Was hard going as the ground was a mix of volcanic rock and coral that hard morphed into really sharp limestone.

We found a channel that ran from reef through to lagoon and headed down it. Saw a small moray eel hiding under a rock and most likely waiting for the tide to come back in so it could escape .

It was easier heading up the lagoon side of the motu although most of it was walking in the water. Came across some red coral, first really bright colour other than purple we'd seen. Got to the channel between third and fourth motu and decided we'd just walk across to the fourth and call it a day.

Saw another moray eel while we were walking across the channel. This one was maybe a metre or so long. Stood on the dry sand then headed back across to the third motu and had our beer. It had taken us over two hours to get here and it was already after 4pm. By this rate it'd be dark before we got back.

We must have been on a mission because it didn't take us much more than half an hour to get back to Samade. Waiting on shore was our welcoming committee - Nicholas and Louisa and the kids.   Was actually just a coincidence that they'd come around for a walk. Our legs were tired and our reef shoes dead but it had been a terrific adventure . The sock stubbie holders had worked a treat.

Brilliant coloured sunset, Al took about 2000 pictures and I took another couple.

Got cleaned up and moisturised - we're looking a bit wind and sun burnt - and headed back to The Boatshed for dinner.

Had the seafood platter this time and after the initial disappointment (didn’t look much like $85 worth) it was really pretty good. Mussels, prawns, heaps of scallops, some fish and a thing that looked like a bug but they call it a something lobster (can't remember what the something was). Drank on a bit tonight.

Stood out on the road on the way home and marveled at the stars. I really need to go to the outback and see what a really starry sky is like.
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