Day 22- Rarotonga, Cook Islands

February 1, 2008

Lovely morning on the deck drinking our coffee and eating a breakfast of banana bread. Our mission today is snorkeling at Aroa Beach. So, be forewarned if you are tired of bad, semi-bad and the occasional good fish photo you might want to read the paper instead. Although I am getting a little better at taking these shots.  Our bus pulled up to the beach, just as the clouds started rolling in and a light rain started coming down.  We decided to take turns going in the water, so someone could stay with all the stuff we had carted with us. 

I had a wonderful time out in the water with the fish, recovering coral and sea slugs, lots and lots of sea slugs. Very unattractive animals that I had to be very careful not to step on. Besides not wanting to hurt them, they looked disgustingly squishy. 

The lagoon I was snorkeling in was fairly calm and shallow.  We were told by a New Zealand gentleman that the coral in the lagoon was just about dead, with few fish just last year. It is making a remarkable comeback with many more fish and healthier coral. 

There were very few places over my head, so I was able to get close to the fish without diving. I would love to identify all these fish and other critters for you, but it’s just too slow trying to look things up with the available internet. 

These little guys live/hide in the coral and don’t seem to move far away, as you can see clearly in the featured photo. There were several pieces of coral like this one with clouds of little black and white fish hovering around.

This fish didn’t like me in his territory, he would zip back and forth, then make a run straight at my mask.  See the sea slug in the upper right hand corner. 

This enlarged photo is of a tiny little fish that lives in a hole in the coral. It stretched out about 1″ from its hole before it got a look at me, then it contracted back to safety. 

These fish were about 8″ long and ghostly white with black strips.

Absolutely gorgeous coral growth with plants and animals. Check out the little anemones in the upper left hand corner. 

When I headed into the beach, Pete was pacing back and forth and I couldn’t figure out what he was doing.  It had started raining harder and he was trying to get all our stuff back up under the trees to keep it dry… it turned out a hopeless task.

I found a shower down the beach and rinsed the salt water off. Then we headed across for a late lunch/dinner at the local restaurant. My fish and chips were very good, while Pete’s burger was cooked to hockey puck consistency. Waiting for the bus again in the pouring rain, we were soaked by the time it arrived.  The plus side is that the rain is fairly warm, so other than the discomfort of wet clothes, it wasn’t too bad.

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