Last week in cook islands
Trip Start May 13, 2010
273Trip End May 12, 2011
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Where I stayed
Wow this place seems so busy after being in Aitutaki for 2 weeks, I have no idea how we are going to cope with Auckland when we get there in a couple of weeks from now.
We met some really nice people from NZ today, the guy (Colin) owns a shop here in Rarotonga and he has his whole family with him, wife children and grand children, also his mum was over visiting from NZ, she was originally from Wales. We had a really nice time with them and shared a couple of beers and some chat, he has invited us to go for a walk with him on Sunday up one of the big hills on the island, sounds like it will be fun.
It was nice to go to a supermarket today and get all we needed for a couple of meals, and it was all in one shop, Woo Hooo
Weather was quite nice today, if a little bit on the windy side for sun bathing, so no work on the tan today....hope it is better tomorrow wouldn't want to be turning too limey.
Market day, after a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and Bacon(£6 for 4 rashers) and toast we set off for the market. Well i think the whole of the island was there, it was banging. In the middle of the market they had a stage with some cook island music and dancing, so we stopped and watched them for a while, they were very lively. After the market we went for a ride round the island and had a walk on some really pretty beaches. The sea is quite wild today and where we are we get a good view of the waves crashing into the reef, and of course the sound of the waves is constantly with you wherever you are on the island.
We moved from the pole house into one of Gwen’s cottages today so we have a bit more room, although the pole house was really nice, and a great use of space with the bed set high in the roof space over the living area
The day of the big walk up a steep mountain Te Kou.
We set off early to meet Colin our guide for the day. He came down from his house in a pair of flip flops and a sack tied with rope on his back, and we set off on our bikes round to the north of the island and the start of our walk. Not long into the walk Colin took off his flip flops and walked barefoot from then on. The start of the walk was quite easy, walking past some fields (terraced into the hillside) where local people have grown crops for years, some of the terracing dates from before European times in the cook islands (pre 1770, or whenever it was captain Cook found this place). A bit further up the hill he showed us a stone with the initials JB on it and the picture of a ship, and a date in roman numerals that was not readable. Colin thought that this was the initials of the botanist that was on Cook’s ship at the time he discovered the islands. He had brought an expert in this stuff up the hill previously and it seems that the view of this expert was that the inscription was genuine
Anyway from that point in the walk things got a bit tougher, it was all up hill and these were step hills. There were ropes on each section of the climb to help us pull ourselves up, Colin was up the ropes like a spring chicken, we were a bit slower.
Just before the top of Te Kou we came to a spring where we filled our bottles with the most wonderful water, it tasted so sweet, and that alone would have been worth the climb. Then we passed through an area where there were loads of Orchids growing, we were so lucky to see them Colin said that the last time he was up there they were not flowering. Then we reached the top at 588 meters (it seemed a lot higher) , probably one of the toughest climbs we have done. The view from the top was magnificent; a 360 degree panorama of the whole island, and the weather was clear so we got a great view.
All the way up Colin was picking berries for us to eat and looking out for any wild bananas that were ripe , they are called Umu and are quite different from the cultivated ones we get.
After our lunch on the top (coconut, Bananas, doughnuts and shortbread) we made our way back down. If we thought it was tough on the way up, well the climb back down was even harder. Milo spent most of it on her butt skidding down the hill, (as you will see from the picture of her shorts).
Just as we were getting to the end of one rope we heard Colin chopping in the bush and we guessed he had seen some ripe Utu , we were right as we came off the end of the rope he appeared with a smile as big as the Cheshire cat’s with a great big bunch of Utu in one hand and his Machete in the other hand
This was a great experience to go for a walk (climb) with someone like Colin who loves his country and has a real affinity with the countryside, and was so happy to share his passion with us total strangers.
We slept well that night....
Slow start, just breakfast then off to the internet hot spot to do some emails and book our camper van for the trip in New Zealand, then off to the beach for a couple of hours, we needed a rest today.