Wrapping it up in Raro
Trip Start Jan 10, 2010
10Trip End Feb 20, 2010
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Sunday 17th----It is Carolyn's birthday today and we went beach hopping around the island. We really enjoyed the beach at Titikaveka, very calm with a white sandy bottom. Also visited Black Rock to swim, the tide was too low to jump off the rocks but we enjoyed swimming in the pools around them. We were too late for lunch at many of the cafes so grabbed a pizza focaccia at a deli in Muri. After lunch we floated on our air mattresses in Muri lagoon and watched the kite boarders jumping surf and getting launched into the air by gusts of wind. In the evening we cleaned up and went to a restaurant that CJ picked out called The Point. We had a formal dinner and a bottle of wine. Papa Jake, Raro's living guitar/ukulele legend, was the entertainment tonight so of course we had to take advantage and put our dance lessons to work- this was "homework" from our instructor back home
Monday 18th----Dean and Trish arrive in Rarotonga and go directly to our place because their checkin isn't until 2pm. We had a nice breakfast poolside and then hooked Dean up with a motorcycle rental and a CI driver's license. Went out snorkling, was choppy and visibility not as good. Brought a loaf of bread in the water to feed the fish, spotted a sting ray and kicked up a flounder that was camoflaged on the bottom. Had lunch at the Maire Nui Garden Cafe in Titikaveka. During lunch we received some education of the various fruit trees and tried some of the ripened fruit- don't remember the names of many of them, except the rose apple which was the size of small plum, hollow except for it's large seeds and tasted like a rose smells- hard to describe. Also had a cashew fruit, snapped the single cashew nut off the fruit first then sucked the juice from the fruit. You can't eat the nut directly from the tree because it has a toxin on the outside that will make your lips swell up. There was a Hash House Harrier run in Muri at 5:30pm that we all attended. The course was a good one- started at one of the hasher's house in Muri, then through fields then up a steep road to a view point- took a group picture then ran back down and through a soccer pitch to the beach, then along the beach and back to the starting point
Went to the bank today to get a Cook Island 3-dollar bill to add to my foreign currency collection. I believe the cook island note is the only 3 dollar bill in the world. Went to the CITC supermarket to replenish supplies. We tried to get a fishing trip lined up for the afternoon but nothing was available. Trying to get a trip set up for Thursday. We had a burger at Palace Takeway- tasty and affordable. Made a quick stop to Matutu brewing company to fill the 3-liter jug with with pale ale then headed to our place in Muri for drinks and swimming. We made a batch of Ika Mata and grilled up a couple dozen chicken thighs for snacking on the next couple days. The four of us played canasta by the pool until it got dark and called it a night.
Today we were supposed to go on the cross-island trek with Pa up to the Needle and then down the other side but it rained all last night and early this morning- Pa called to cancel this morning because it was too dangerous going up there. We will see if we can do it later in the week. It has been cooler the past 3 days with some dark clouds and rain showers at night. There has been very little rain in Raro over the past eight months and some folks are suffering for it. No rain for crops and water pressure on some parts of the island is weak. This rainfall is an answered prayer for many on the island and only a slight nuisance for us
At 9am this morning we found out there was a slot available for fishing with Moko- Dean and I took him up on the offer, it would be just the two of us with captain Moko. The seas were calm and the sun came out around 11. While Dean and I fished, CJ and Trish took a kayak out to one of the nearby islands in Muri lagoon and explored the island. They said they spotted a good variety of fish along the way. Our fishing was very good- 6 yellow fin tuna and 1 Wahoo. The tuna were around 50 lbs each and were decent fighters. The wahoo was brought in without much of a fight. Moko filleted us about 10 lbs of dark red prime yellowfin and we enjoyed some sushimi right there on the spot. We gave out some of the fish to our neighbors at the hotel then spent the afternoon snorkeling at Dean and Trish's place, called the Makalya Palms. It was as good or better than the underwater views in Muri lagoon. There are thousands of fish to swim with and the colors are fantastic. After snorkeling we prepared a delicious dinner of seared yellowfin (very rare) which we dipped in soy and wasabi, accompanied by a salad and seasoned rice. Does not get much better than this, folks.
Thursday 21st----Sore arms from fighting fish yesterday, yikes. This morning we were able to do the Cross Island Hike to the Needle with our guide Pa
This will be the last entry for Rarotonga, we head to New Zealand's South Island on Friday night. I have to say that Rarotonga has been a terrific vacation spot and we never got bored the entire two weeks here. Besides the obviously gorgeous beaches and flora of the island, it is very clean and safe to explore. Folks that live here take pride in their island and it shows. So gracious and friendly, we felt very welcomed as guests here. We will miss Raro for sure.