Figuring things out in Rarotonga
Trip Start Jan 10, 2010
10Trip End Feb 20, 2010
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we found the Matutu brewing company, it is a two-man operation, just the brewery and no pub or places to sit. We chatted with Eric the co-owner, he buys his yeast from Oregon (Wy'East brand) and gets his hops from NZ. The brewery has two 1200 liter tanks- one each for their Mai lager and Kiva pale ale. Unfortunately they didn't have any of lager but we have had plenty of the Kiva- just bring in your container and they will fill up for $6 a liter. This is a great deal considering the bottles go for 3 bucks or more in the stores. Our 3-liter plastic juice container is getting a workout.
We took a kayak out to a nearby island for some snorkeling on Friday. What a show we got from the fish- it rates as the best snorkeling we have done in any location. Visibility at 20+ feet easily and the fish varieties are incredible. We hung out in 15 feet of water around some large heads of coral and a series of coral restoration cages- rebar and chickenwire covered benches housing rows of tiles with baby corals trying to grow on them. Some of the fish we saw: parrot fish, picaso tangs that were fiercely protective of their nests, angelfish, sargent major who liked to swim up and nibble on bikini strings, puffers and giant needlefish or maybe they were bonefish or wahoo? Occasionally a large jack would swim by and I could have sworn I saw a yellow fin tuna but not sure they come in this close. There was a dog enjoying the water and he would check up on us occasionally by swimming by, it's both odd and humorous seeing the motion of dog paddling underwater- seems unlikely that it would work, but elephant's can swim too so don't question the physics and just accept it.
Today we hit the Saturday Market in town. They do it up bigtime here- so many food booths, produce vendors, clothes, souvenirs, you name it. There was some terrific island dancing and drum playing, I guess the Cooks are famous for their dancing. We chatted with a couple who were from Oregon. She was wearing a UO Rose Bowl shirt, we talked about the game and that there is always next year. They have a house here and split their time between Rarotonga and The Dalles. He runs a fishing charter and we thought about going out with him this week. His boat is green and yellow and says Go Ducks on it, ha! Then we purchased a chicken kebab and walked around looking around for the best prices for produce. Ending up getting some tomatoes, cucumbers and lemons. We had Ika Mata on the brain...
Ika Mata (eek-a mah-tah) is our new favorite dish to eat. It is basically ceviche with a light amount of coconut milk and a some diced cucumber, onion, tomato and herbs. I found a couple places with fresh fish so we will be making our own tonight with either albacore or marlin, you need a dense fish because the acidity from the lemon "cooks" the meat and will make your fish mushy if it's light to begin with. Soak the fish in lemon juice for an hour, drain and then add the coconut milk and the other stuff. Serve it up cold on a bed of lettuce with some crusty bread and a NZ white wine, yeah baby!!
The motorcycle has been our trusty transpo over the last few days. The buses are outrageously expensive- $4 one way per person. For an island that is only 18 miles around that's ridiculous. We are used to paying twenty-five cents other countries. Anyhow, we have done all our site seeing and shopping via the Suzuki 125. Driving on the left side of the road is not too tricky, you just have to keep thinking "left" as you turn and merge. I went to the police station and got a Cook Island driver's license, not the best picture of me but they never are anyway and hey, I'm legal and that's all that matters.
Yesterday we rode up to the start of the Turangi walk and hiked into the island interior. It was a simple walk on a well worn path. Lots of large trees, hanging vines thick enough to swing from and colorful flowers all around. On the way up we passed a pig pen (a sty?), poor things looked hot. We could also make out other pigs tied to trees and small gardens of taro and papaya. It took 30 minutes to reach the end, a small dam blocked the stream at this point and a pipe extended from the basin back down the hill. We plan to do the cross-island trek later this week.
On Monday Dean and Trish are arriving to Rarotonga, the first leg of their round-the-world adventure. There is a hash on Monday night and we hope they will want to join in. Hashing is an international sport of fun runs for drinkers with a running problem- or is it runners with a drinking problem? Either way it is a good way to meet people, get some exercise and party.
It was cool today and is starting to rain now. Feels nice considering the heat wave recently. More to come later.... bye for now.