February 5, 2018
Awakened to rain, not just rain, torrential, buckets, a deluge and inundation of rain. It was beating on our roof so hard it was almost all we could hear. There were ideas of what to do today, but with the weather we just hung out reading our books and waiting for the storm to pass like it usually does. We had a little clearing, so not willing to risk getting caught out in another storm, we ordered a taxi and rushed into town to do a little purchasing of some necessary goods. Then we headed across to the waterfront and had a drink while waiting for Trader Jacks restaurant to open at 5:30 pm. While sitting sipping our drinks the local outrigger groups were going out to practice. Just like Hawaii the local groups race and compete inter-island. It was really the roughest we had seen the surf, plus there was a wicked riptide. Three boats went out and then all hell broke loose. First was the rain, then a huge boom of thunder followed by sheet lightening between 50 to 100 feet from where we were sitting.
The restaurant staff moved our table as water was pouring into the bar area. We had a delicious meal, fish, chips and salad for me. Then called our taxi driver and headed home. It rained most of the evening and during the night.
February 6, 2018
Overcast morning and the coolest weather we’ve have in the Cook Islands at 79 F. We had a 8:30 am pick up by Raro Mountain Safari for a trip up into the interior mountains of the island. Pete and I decided to wear our swimming togs, the chances of getting very wet were very high.
The trip was very interesting with tours through the local farming community. One of the grocery stores grows all its own produce on its family land. Land isn’t sold here it is just passed down from generation to generation. That is why they bury their loved ones on the family property, the family or tribe will always be there. Foreigners can lease land, but not buy. Rarotonga is the only volcanic island in the 15 island Cook chain and is the only island that can cultivate a wide range of vegetables. All the rest of the islands are atolls, made up of sand. They have a much more limited ability to cultivate plant foods. We saw orange groves (in photo below) pineapple, taro, breadfruit, papaya, passion fruit, corn, mango, and much more.
There were cultural stops with history of the three tribes on the island. The story of how they came in seven canoes and visits to ceremonial sites (marae) that are now rarely used, except to install a new tribal king. The photo below shows the Koutu and marae of the Makea tribe, thought to be built in 1350 AD. The ceremonial platform is towards the back of the photo.
We then headed up to get a good look at the needle rock, one of the highest points on the island.
Then down to the beach for a BBQ. While lunch was being prepared, I took a little walk down the beach and was amazed at the beautiful items that had artistically washed up.