Déjà Vu - Well Sort Of!

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2018


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Where I stayed
The Edgewater Resort & Spa Arorangi
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Cook Islands  , Southern Cook Islands,
Thursday, December 1, 2011


" Kia Orana! I am your tour guide for your day trip to island of Aitutaki and I have an announcement to make"

Hmmmm - this feels ominous.

“I am sorry to say the weather on the island today is not good. It is raining heavily and visibility is very poor. It is not going to be a good day to do a tour”

Shell-shocked looks mirrored ours from our group of about 15. We had been picked up at 7am from various resorts in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, for a day tour to Aitutaki and were now hearing this announcement at the airport check-in. Certainly it was overcast here in Rarotonga, but not raining.

“I am going to make the offer that if you want to re-book for another day you can, with no charge. For those who can't go another day or still want to go today, we can still go. I’m just warning you.”   

Well this is Déjà vu! The Island of Aitutaki is one of the “Unforgettable Places To See  Before You Die”” from the book of Steve Davey. Our plan was to see all the remaining places this trip from his book but we were thwarted by weather in Alaska and didn’t get to see College Fjord. Now we can see Autiki slipping away also! What to do? After a very quick discussion we lined up to change our ticket for the next day – our only remaining day in the Cook Islands. We were several people back in the queue when it was announced that all places for the next day had been filled . OK, so we told ourselves, we would just be seeing a different Aitutaki – a wet and windy one – but still Aitutaki!

The plane took off with our very personable guide, and four others beside ourselves, who had elected still to go on the day trip. The small plane also had locals travelling between the islands and other tourists going to stay on the island. Rain set in on the flight then eased a bit on landing. We were escorted to a jeep for the first part of our tour of driving to a high vantage point for a view. However some 15 minutes later it started bucketing down and despite a canvas covering on the jeep back where we were sitting, we were all getting quite wet. As you can imagine we couldn’t really see anything. Soon the guide’s phone rang and after a brief conversation he turned to us and said,

“It looks like the boat tour won’t be going ahead at all. We’ll drive down to the departure area and speak to the captain anyway, but it is not looking like it will go ahead”.

The boat trip on the Aitutaki lagoon (purported to be the most beautiful lagoon in the whole world) was to take up the majority of the day and was to include snorkeling time, visiting islands in the lagoon, and lunch on board.

Our guide talked with the boat captain while we waited in the back of the jeep, as the rain continued to bucket down, as only tropical rain can. The verdict was” no go” but to our surprise our guide said we would get a refund of the whole tour. He said we were the lucky ones because we still got to fly here and see a bit of the island but would get our whole trip, including flights, refunded! We were taken back to the tiny island airport and after a wait of about an hour and a half boarded the next flight back to Rarotonga and then were bussed right back to our resort again.

So ,somewhat déjà vu to our Alaska experience and not seeing College Fjord, but better, because we actually did go to Aitutaki. We saw the most beautiful Lagoon in the world, but just not being its most beautiful!

Our resort back in Rarotonga is the Edgewater Resort and Spa and since we arrived in the wee small hours of the morning 4 days ago, we have enjoyed it immensely. The staff are wonderful, a gorgeous tropical continental breakfast is included, the gardens are a glorious tropical splendor, and our room is comfortable and practical.

The weather is however SHIT. Unfortunately it is the beginning of the wet season and the wet has decided to be here with a vengeance during our stay. Even the normally calm waters of the lagoon in front of the Edgewater are choppy and murky and use of snorkle gear has been cancelled. Sun has appeared for only the briefest of moments.

Undeterred by the weather though, we have been out and about.

 On the first day we caught the "locals" bus into the main township, and then on to do a complete circle of the 35 kms around the island road. Quaintly, the buses are called “Clockwise” and “anti-Clockwise” which aptly describe their only route and wherever you get on or off the price is $4.

As a concession to needing exercise and getting out for some fun, we hired hybrid push bikes. Staff were rather vague about how long the batteries would last but we found out they didn’t last the whole of the island around! The bikes were also very heavy with the additional weight of the battery packs so were quite a trial to manage, and manually cycle. We were quite proud to have gone the whole way round.

We participated in some hotel activities - happy hour of course! - and who could not enjoy crab races? and "Island Night" gives a feel for the culture and food of the Cook Islands and includes a show of melodious singing and the amazing fastest hips in the world, shaking to fiercely beating drums.

Despite the weather, our time here has been wonderful. We've made some friends from the neighbouring room, two New Zealand nurses Leigh and Sharon, and had a night out with them.

Best of all we HAVE been to Aitutaki so its not real déjà vu aka Alaska and College Fjord!  

Tourist Tip: We would not recommend the Hybrid Bikes for a ride around the island.

Footnote:
Aitutaki features in the book Unforgettable Places to See before you die.

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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