Shake that toosh

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Aitutaki, Southern Cook Islands, Cook Islands
20/10/09 Day 11 Aitutaki - lagoon cruise #2 and island night at Samade

Woke up to another stunning day . Brekkie at Koru again. Bought some gifts from their little store including something special for mum. We'd spoken to the chef each morning when we'd paid and presumed him to be the owner. This morning we met his wife. They'd lived in Canberra (of all places) for a few years. Amazingly, the cafe (and house behind it) was bought from Valley Kit Homes from Currumbin. It was shipped over to Aitutaki in six shipping containers and just bolted together.

Pick up for cruise right on time. One couple already sitting on the back of the truck. He'd realised he'd left his camera back in their villa at the ALR&S so we drove back around there and he got the boat to take him back over to collect it - you catch a little ferry to the resort as it's on it's on motu.  

Picked up some more people on the way round the island including a couple who were staying at Etu Moana, recently voted the best resort in the South Pacific and hideously expensive .

The yellow boat was very cool. The guy who had picked us up was also the owner, captain and only crew member. He was called Puna. It was an aluminium catamaran with a full roof - saves you from sun on your head but not reflected up off the water - and with a carpeted floor and bbq chairs. You could just move your chair around. It even had those clear plastic cafe curtains that could be rolled down if the weather turned to shit.

Not far out into the lagoon saw quite a few turtles, one just dipping below the boat.

Headed to the same place we'd snorkeled the first day but all he did was drop a marker buoy. Then he headed towards the clam farm and told us that we could either snorkel all the way back to the marker - maybe 800 metres, walk down the sandbar if you got tired, or he'd move a couple of times back down towards the marker and you could get back on the boat. We elected to snorkel the full distance .

Saw heaps of fish. more purple coral, noticed that's lots of the coral that looked like it had no colour was orange or yellow and some sea urchins. No sea horses like Ethan had seen when he was out. We have to learn how to duck dive and not just snorkel along the surface. A couple of people were doing it and it just can't be that hard.

Then we went to Honeymoon Island again and got talking to one half of the couple who were staying at Etu Moana. They'd been to the Cooks ten years ago and Honeymoon had a single palm tree on it. Now it was covered in them. Saw some baby red-tailed something or others - big balls of fluff. Had only seen mothers when we'd been here before.

Final destination was One Foot Island where Puna has a little bungalow with a big verandah that you have lunch at. I’m presuming he has family ties to the land as it looks like that would be the only way you could build something here .

The post office and shop was open so we got our passports stamped and bought some beers. Only $5 again. Samade are such fools charging more than anyone else.

Lunch was terrific. Puna and his wife had made it all, just as Marie had made the food on Saturday. Vanessa and Ethan had recommended Yellow Boat because of the bbqed Wahoo and if that is what the fish was it was delicious. We were able to take a final snorkel down the channel. To be honest it was pretty ordinary - hardly any coral, very few fish except for a big school of very large pipe fish - but it was great to finish the trip with a last play in the water.

Just as we were pulling away the glass bottom boat arrived. Lawton and Marie had taken out one of the couples we'd gone out with plus a couple we'd met at the Highland Paradise show back on Raro. Was a bit odd as the Swiss couple who were with us had also tried to go out but had been told they didn't have any other bookings and wouldn't just take out a couple . Maybe these guys had only called in the morning. Who knows?

The post office had closed not long after we’d arrived so maybe it had been open on Saturday, we’d just arrived too late?

We stopped half way back to shore so that Puna could tell the story of how One Foot Island got its name. We'd already heard it and it went on and on and his wife called twice asking where we were as we were late. Apparently all the boats get back at 4. Then, if one’s late the other boats have time to get back out into the lagoon to find it before it gets dark.

Was really glad I hadn't decided to go fishing instead of taking another lagoon cruise. We'd had a full day for $150 instead of half a day (starting at 5am!) for $360.

Of course had also spent another day getting burnt and windblown and I looked like a tomato. I had applied the 30+ about ten times and had kept my rashie on most of the day so it could have been even worse . Al was more burnt, face and shoulder-wise, but not as red. We'd had fun though!

Was great to get under a cooling shower back at Inano. Then we started packing so we'd be pretty much done when we got up in the morning. Flight was at 9.10 so we'd need to be heading for the airport at just after 8.30.

Once that was organised we headed over to Samade for the island show. We went with low expectations. The food we'd had previously was pretty ordinary so we were hoping at least the show made up for it.

We had a bloody brilliant time. The food was fantastic, even the beer was cheaper, and the show fantastic. The singing was just terrific, as were the dancers, the guys especially so. They breed 'em good looking and muscley on Aitutaki. Maybe they just exercise more than the Rarotongans. To top it off the wind died down enough for them to also put on a fire dancing show. This show was the icing on the cake of our visit to Aitutaki.
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