Island time ???? Raro style ?

Our Cook Island adventure started with our flight out of Sydney on what felt like a Leyland P76 that has been sitting in the Nevada desert ? ? for 20 years, with Air New Zealand staff who didn’t know how to work the tv screen or the lie-flat beds. It was hilarious and they were so lovely. Apparently Air NZ have some issues with their new planes and although we were delayed by the late arrival of this plane from Nevada, I mean Auckland, considering this 1 hour delay, our trip to the Cooks was extremely fast, bouncing along on the air currents over the South Pacific, we made such good time, we didn’t even get offered coffee or breakfast before we all had to sit up and buckle up for landing at our scheduled time!

Viva Las Vegas ….. seated in Business because clearly in 1998 ~ premium economy wasn’t invented! First world problems ~ we think cattle class are just getting off the plane ! Great Flight though as the wonderful crew knew how to open the front door! Gotta love island life, even the pilots are chilled out from Nevada. Kidding ! We arrived to the sweet smell of flowers and lei’s, with the sounds of the ocean waves as the airport is almost in the water, strumming ukulele’s and the best smiling faces you have ever seen –

Cuzzy Bro- it’s time to slow down and embrace Island time….. whether that is sitting at the brightly coloured bus stop awaiting for the bus that goes either clockwise or anti clockwise. The bus destination on the bus tells you which way you are travelling ?, chilling on the beach, ?or just a sedate speed of driving, or cycling. ??

Our air bnb host has organised our airport transfer to the accomodation, and of course we got to our home away from home before breakfast and as I had booked it from the day before (which is one of the better ideas ever) not having to wait until 3:00pm to check in, we can shower and have a sleep as it’s only 7:00am here. We also have a well stocked fridge with breakfast supplies and a couple of ales and a bottle of wine, so nice when thought goes into visits.

After a quick power nap we walk 4 kilometres to the scooter hire place to get a scooter and as we both have motorbike licences from home, we don’t need to get a local licence which is almost a shame as they allow you to smile ? on your Cook Islands drivers licence. We (visitors) must wear a helmet, the locals don’t have to and it’s fair to say the helmets we are given have some pre love ? The locals love to sing and dance whether its on the street, at the airport, in church on a Sunday and of course there are several local island nights to embrace the culture.

The island of Rarotonga is only 32 kilometres (whether you go clock wise or anti clock wise ) with an outer road and an inland road which you wouldn’t believe is called the back road . The outer road has signs pointing inland and up for the Tsunami warnings! Pretty funny in a scary kind of way. And the hospital is also on the inland road and up high along with instructions of what to do in a cyclone!

The weather is not too bad considering it’s their rainy season. Really warm sunny days with a side of the usual tropical rainy afternoons/evenings. Or nanna nap time.

We also had a doozie of a storm whilst we were on a snorkel tour a couple of days ago which was so amazing with these big dark clouds that rolled over us in the ocean, with heavy rain seeing 17 turtles inside the lagoon it didn’t faze us or the turtles. Just keep your head in the water – Josh our guide tells us it won’t hurt so much.

We snorkelled close to and in a dangerous passage, called Avaavaroa Passage which is actually 1 big rip. The ocean waves break and wash over the rock ledge and into the lagoon. So of course the water has to get back out somehow. There are 2 big rips near our villa, and we have been warned that will take you out to sea in a very swift way if you aren’t careful. We went snorkeling with 3 young dudes who have all worked in New Zealand and Australia as life guards.

Snorkel Rarotonga- we would highly recommend them . They only had 6 tourists so it was a safe way to use the rip channel at low tide. And what a fabulous couple of hours we had seeing turtles swimming, resting and having their shells cleaned by sucker fish in the shallow coral gardens. The only sad part being that as Raro is so populated with homes and resorts and small villas like ours that open out straight onto the beautiful lagoon, with lots of locals who own dogs that are super friendly and all free range, the turtles no longer nest here.

There are a couple of small islands on the motu in Muri Lagoon a few km’s away that they can nest. As we all know turtles always return to where they were born, so it is lovely to know that there are turtles still around here. It’s fair to say there are free range chickens, goats, pigs and dogs and cats – luckily they all seem friendly! The view from our Villa and a lot of the little restaurants bars and cafe’s is pretty much the same and really you could just sit and stare at the waves rolling over the ocean ledge of the lagoon all day……

So apart from a quick cycle tour today after our snorkeling we have pretty much stayed put at our villa laughing at the locals playing the biggest game of water touch football ? we have ever seen and being greeted by the friendly local puppachulas ! ? ? Dogs of all shapes are sizes love to walk with you and when you have had a enough of them you just say loudly go home and point away from you. They look a little miffed and then happily trot off to were they came from.

I have been sitting in a bean bag enjoying the sun and reading with this cute little pup all afternoon and Steve just shooo’d her away ?

Well I’m off to make a booking for the cross Island tour or a buggy tour (although I don’t like our chances…… they have a 3 day public holiday for New Year ) and also find a restaurant for dinner, there are a few favourites that are closed till the 7th of Jan the down side to visiting over their quite Christmas period (not) -good luck to them being so busy throughout the year they get to take a break like we currently are.

We went to happy hour across the road last night to the Yellow Hibiscus for a quick drink and ended up staying for dinner and a storm ! Of course we had to enjoy the biggest New Zealand oysters and yummy tuna in lime and lemon juice ever the locals call Ike Mata.

I’m sure it’s 2019 somewhere so Happy New Year to our family and friends, it’s still New Years Eve here and we think we are almost the last country in the world to get to 2019…… we are off to snorkel and swim in the coral playground at our back door. Steve found a moray eel yesterday!

Love Mrs Wong and the baggage/passport controller.

Ps the internet is average at best so not a lot of pics x

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