Saturday 6 April 2013

Cook Islands Travel Journal - Day 4

Dear Diary,

We woke up to yet another gorgeous morning on the isle of Aitutaki.  Mick again started his day with fishing off the jetty, getting 'smoked' by an illusive fish who taunted him!

I had a lie in (until nearly 8am), then a quiet coffee in bed, overlooking the gorgeous lagoon on our doorstep.  Another tropical breakfast, this time blessed with cappuccino and flat white coffees - instant was killing us!  And then back to the bungalow for more fish and reading 'relax-ment'.

We wandered up to the beach, where Mick caught more fish to add to his tally, then it was down to the Beach Bar for lunch - gourmet sandwiches and Bourbon & Cokes - mmmm!

At 1pm we caught the gorgeous ferry across the channel and were soon greeted by Mere from Black Pearl Charters, which we had booked as a private charter for our last afternoon on the island.  She drove us to the port, stopping on the way for Mick to purchase his fishing licence.  At the boat, we met our skipper, Mike, who welcomed us aboard as we stepped from the wharf onto an old barge and then onto their 7 metre aluminium half-cab charter boat.

First stop was snorkelling on the 'Lava Edges' just out of the harbour.  The water was such a beautiful, deep blue colour, with lots of coral to look at and watch.  Mere explained that Aitutaki was once a volcano and now all that is left of that is the volcanic rock that we could see beneath us.  

After a good look around, we headed back to the boat, to go into the lagoon.  Mike told Mick to cast out a lure, and within moments he had hooked up a queenfish, and then another!  Mike suggested changing to a different coloured lure, to target snapper.  No snapper to report, but a few Island Trevally kept Mick entertained until we reached our snorkelling location - Giant Clams.

Much shallower, crystal clear water was here, with dozens of 'bommies' all around - like tree-sized clump of coral just sticking up out of the sea bed.  The coral was beautiful, as were the giant clams.  Lots of purple and blue dominated the colour scheme, with fish of all colours and sizes darting around.  Mere showed us where the islanders were attempting to grow black pearls, and also 'tables' where they are growing more coral.

Back in the boat, we satisfied our hunger from a selection of sandwiches, fruit, cakes, slices and biscuits that they provided.  Then we were off for our guided tour of the gorgeous, secluded Honeymoon Island.  This island is home to the beautiful Red-Tailed Sea Birds - one of only half a dozen places you can find these birds worldwide.  They have the most beautiful red tail, 2 long thin feathers which protrude quite a long way out of their body.  When these birds walk, they look really clumsy, as though their legs are broken, but they resume their grace when they fly through the sky with ease.

We saw lots of these birds nesting in the shelter of low-lying plants, lots of fluffy chicks and also a number of juvenile birds out on their own.  These birds only give birth once per year, with nesting season running from February to October.

We saw the beginnings of a structure that is being built for the upcoming World Kite Surfing Championships, and also dozens of new coconut palms, planted by 'honeymooners' on day trips to the island.  We jumped back in the boat, and slowly navigated the extremely shallow waters in order to find our final (and most special) location of the day.

We grabbed some bread and jumped into a school of stunning yellow and black fish, who swirled all around us, eating the bread right from our hand!  Tiny blue fish also schooled around, illuminated by the sunlight as it hit the crystal clear water.

With much reluctance, we clambered into the boat for the last time.  Mere gave us each an ice-cold Heinekin to celebrate the magical day that we had just had.  We snapped final photos of the turquoise waters, and watched the scenery in awe, as we headed back to the port.

What an amazing trip!  Mere and Mike really did think of everything from the towels, food, drinks and snorkelling gear, to asking if we needed anything from the shop on our way back to the resort.  For only $250, we had a personal tour of the beautiful lagoon - an experience we will surely treasure for the rest of our days.

We trekked back to our bungalow, for a lazy late afternoon of reading and fishing.  We had showers and hopped into our plush bath robes, and then ordered room service for our last dinner on Aitutaki.  We enjoyed the evening special - sizzle plates of Mongolian Beef and Chicken 'Something' (I can't remember what!), served with rice.  We watched the water dance below our balcony, flickering in the light.  The starry sky was mesmerising, the perfect end to the perfect holiday.

Read the rest of my Travel Journal entries here:

My Cook Islands Travel Journal


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