February 5, 2018
Tourista, nuff said. Did feel better by evening and we all walked down to Sail Bar for a drink and then onto Rickshaw again for another good dinner.
February 6, 2018
Booked a day trip to Aitutaki today. Got the transfer to the airport at 7 am and flew for 45 minutes to the Cook Islands second most popular island, 160 miles north of Rarotonga. Aitutaki is an atoll with an enormous beautiful blue lagoon. The trip included a boat trip to 3 smaller motu or islets that make up part of the rim. The photo below is from flynous.com
Boarding the boat involved wading through the water and climbing a set of stairs. Unfortunately I stepped in a hole and dropped to my knee onto a rock. Very large knee abrasion, that bled and bled. The boat crew was very attentive and cleaned it with a antibiotic. Determined to enjoy the day, along with the fact they didn’t have any gauze it was left to the open air.
There was a nature walk on the second islet, which featured beautiful White Terns and a lesson on telling a female from male coconut shoot. The male shoot comes out the bottom of the coconut and the female shoot comes out of the top.
After the snorkel, we had a buffet lunch on the boat with ingredients solely from Aitutaki, except the onions. The breadfruit potato style salad was really good, as were the grilled plantains, fresh passion fruit, tuna, grilled eggplant and a few other things I couldn’t identify.
Charlie was our MC, historian, naturalist, and instructor on all things Aitutaki. Charlie is 20 years old. He had a scholarship to school in New Zealand, but he was homesick and returned after 2 years. He has tremendous pride in his island and is thankful the USA built the Aitutaki airstrip during WWII, as it brings tourists to the island. Prior to a small but very strong cyclone in 2010, Aitutaki was a big producer of bananas, but the cyclone destroyed much of the islands banana farms and now they are dependent on tourtism for a living. The military development of the airstrip was as the last line of defense in the Pacific against the Japanese. The Japanese advance was reversed and the island never saw any action. Some descendants of the American troops stationed there remain on the island.*