Rarotonga in our A-frame

Rarotonga in our A-frame

Friday, 18th February 2011 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  1 Comment  |  Share

Lets start off with: we’re here, we’re safe, we’re warm (Its 29oC today). The island is quite quiet as we’ve hit a bit of a tourist low season, I’m surprised there is such a thing as the weather is still great and the beaches are lovely.

Our little house is a traditional A-frame on the beach, with the kitchen, bathroom and living area downstairs and large bedroom overlooking the sea upstairs. We do have a TV, it’s got one channel provided by the church, I watched 5 minutes of ‘Jesus, where is he now?’ over breakfast.

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I’ve booked some SCUBA diving, tomorrow I’m going back to the site of my first ever dive and have a two tanker on Sunday, beats diving for shopping trolleys in Plymouth.

We’ve hired a scooter, to get about on. I love the backwards-ness here, let me tell you the process I went through to get it:

1. Hire a scooter
2. Drive scooter on road to police station
3. Apply and complete driving license to be able to drive scooter on road.

We took it for a spin around the island, this took about an hour after riding through a storm, getting absolutely drenched and still having time to dry off before arriving back home.

Well that’s all for now! In summary, we haven’t actually done much.

All of which is good.

Farewell Rarotonga!

Friday, 15th December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  2 Comments  |  Share

It is our penultimate day in Rarotonga and we (again) are sad to be leaving. We have met so many nice and friendly people here (photos of a few of them below) that this part of the trip has been as much about the amazing scenery as the people.

Over the last few days we have been relaxing on the beach and swimming. On Tuesday there were the most enormous waves (the photos don’t capture the hugeness of them) but very abnormal for Rarotonga. I sat at the top of the beach on a table and still the waves came up the legs of the table. Normally the lagoon is pretty still and calm so it was quite a different experience on the beach that day.

Yesterday we put up the hostels Christmas decorations- tinsel overload! Leticia (the family’s little two year old) was having great fun pulling them all down again! I was lucky to get a photo of the Christmas Tree decorated because this morning it was bare and she was rolling baubles around the floor. We had clubbed together for a BBQ last night- very odd (Christmas decorations and BBQ).

Andy and I have been planning Fiji (I want to go to Nativiti Island over Christmas). Most of the Yaswana islands don’t have electricity or phones (some are even low on water!- thank goodness we have our water filter!) so we will be out of contact for about 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year. We will be probably camping over both important days, ooh and maybe a bit of swimming, snorkeling……

Enjoy the photos- the waves were bigger than it shows- honest!

If we don’t email before we go to Fiji, have a happy Christmas, and we get the first rays of the 2007 sunrise 12 hours before you guys in the UK will!

Becky and Andy

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Hope you like the photos!

Painting a Picture with Words

Sunday, 10th December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  1 Comment  |  Share

I’m no wordsmith, and do struggle trying to get across just how amazing this place is which is a real shame! So, if I describe the last few days to you, you’ll have to imagine its much better than it sounds, because it really is.

So last night we went out for Chris’s last few hours on the island before he flew home to the US for Christmas. 10 or so of us went to an Indian Restaurant for Dinner, they were having an all you can eat buffet for NZ$15 which sounded like a great idea, the food was very nice but hot food in a hot country, I don’t think anyone got past a plate and a half. Once finished we said our goodbyes to Chris, he went off to the Airport and we went off to Whatever! bar. Now this bar is very cool, its on a platform maybe 20 foot up in the air overlooking the sea to one side and the harbour to another, they play very interesting dancy remixes of 80’s/90’s songs, we liked it. Because there are no street lights there is very little light pollution, so the stars are amazing! We stayed there for a while, watched Chris’s plane fly overhead and went to find Bill in the hostel bus to go home, lovely evening, the rest of the day was taken up by swimming in the sea, chatting on the beach, the usual…

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The day before, Friday was Beckys Birthday, so as a special treat we had our washing washed in a proper washing machine! First time on the trip, and it made a refreshing change to hand washing in the sink. I took Becky out in the evening to the nicest restaurant we could find on the island, the Windjammer, we dressed up (shirt and shorts instead of a tshirt) and caught the bus around to the restaurant. It really was very very nice, we had drinks, meals, deserts and it still only came to NZ$80 (which is about 28 quid). Its very hard to spend money out here. We then went on into town, actually we didn’t have a choice, after 4pm the buses only go one way around the island, so you have to go all the way around to get back home, bus routes are easy, you either get on the clockwise or anti-clockwise bus, and they both go to the same places for the same price. The bus company’s called Cooks Transport, just like home. Anyway we went into town had a few quiet drinks and headed back.

What else, well I’ve been SCUBA diving a few times, Becky’s not to keen so she stays on the beach while I’ve been out on Dive Rarotonga’s boat. I went to a places called Paradise and Crocodile Alley both of which are a little way out from the harbour. They’re both about 18 meters down and you get about 50 meters visibility, which is amazing, hundreds of fish, Parrot Fish, Picasso Fish, Sea Cucumbers, Spanish Dancers, I cant remember any more names, beats diving in the UK.

Big news out here at the moment is that an illegal Chinese Fishing Boat ‘Tim Tom’ has been caught and impounded, the police force (which is 8 strong) has been very busy. Ironically the Police Station (which is massive for those 8 policemen) and the Court House were both gifts from China.

We tried to walk back from the airport, walking along the road is hard, not because of the heat, or the traffic, or the pot holes, but because you cant walk 10 metres without someone offering you a lift, a lovely Canadian couple drove us back.

The Christmas decorations are going up on the Island. You’ve already seen the inflatable snow man and there’s much more of that, Budget Car Rentals have been putting a huge neon sign up on top of their building all week so we’re excited for the big switch on. The Christmas message this year in the Cook Islands is “If you drink and drive, drive carefully”

Nope… no proposal on Beckys birthday.

The Moons is upside down! Could someone remind me which way the toilet flushes in the UK? I want to have a look here!

Another hot day on Rarotonga

Wednesday, 6th December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  5 Comments  |  Share

Its 11 am and 33 degrees…

After all our lazing on the beach we decided to do some exercise, we walked across the island, we caught the 9:30am bus after a late night out in the Banana Court (the local club). We got off just outside town and started to make our way into the centre of the island, its a few miles on the road until you reach the ‘Jungle’.

The road walk was a nice steady climb past the islands power plant (a shed with a couple portable generators in it it seems), past some farms and to the ‘car park’ at the top. From here on in it was scrambling over and under trees, up banks, down banks, vertical scrambles up tree roots. Apparently a path but more like a mud slide. We made our way up the 7k and 350m height gain up to the Needle, a 60 metre high rock looking over the island, fantastic views of all the coast!We stopped there with a couple of american guys for lunch, then started to make our way down, this point was pretty much the half way point of the walk. Scrambling down, or ‘falling’ was just as hard if not harder than going up! Sliding down banks, paddling through streams, ending with a little paddle in Wigmores pool, a waterfall at the end of the hard part. All left for us to do was walk out on the road and back to our Hostel! showers and a good nights sleep.

Tomorrow we’re leaving the Hostel to go stay in a beach hut for Becky’s Birthday! (Toilets and Showers of our own! Hurrah!)

Here are some photos of the Island.

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Hope you like them!

Kia Orana!

Friday, 1st December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  1 Comment  |  Share

Its a lovely friday afternoon and we’ve just come into town to do a bit of food shopping. Working out if food here is more expensive is a bit of a struggle, all that mental arithmetic to convert dollars to pounds…

We’ve had a relaxing week touring the island and chilling on the beach. One day we hired bikes and cycled the 36k around the island, in the heat it wasn’t as easy as we expected, we also cycled though a small amount of torrential rain, which was refreshing. On our tour we cycled on the inner road first, past the prison, which oddly wasn’t on our tourist map, the prison really represents life here, 2 foot white picket fence with no gate. We joined back on to the costal road by the airport just in time for a Air New Zealand Boeing 747 to take off infront of us and take us off our bikes, we hear that it’s called jet blasting and an evening of fun here on the island so we’re going back with others to sit at the end of the runway and wait for a jet to land. Next was into town, locked up our bikes and had some lunch, the afternoon was taken up with us gently finishing our ride back to the hostel, the one road around the island is really nice, with great views and every now and again a little layby with toilets and drinking water.

Another day was taken up to snorkeling off of Fruits of Rarotonga, the fish certainly aren’t shy and swam round us in swarms, I made friends with a Picasso Fish that seemed to follow me for hours. Stuart you’re right, best cafe ever!

More days, sitting on the beach, swimming in the lagoon, playing cards with Germans (Sven just because we don’t speak german doesn’t mean we didn’t know you were passing tips to Phil). Watching movies when the rain comes.

The hostel’s very friendly and entertainment is provided by the 3 year old daughter of our host who stays up late and climbs anything that stays still, cars, rooves, plants, us if we stand still long enough, as with everywhere we’ve been in the last couple weeks (only a couple weeks?) we’ll be sad to leave.

So we’ll leave it at that, more to say, don’t want to bore you all.

We’re off to foodland!

Speak to you later!

Bye Dave and Sin, Paul and James, and Sven, have safe trips.

PS. Anyone heard about Fiji?

Forget Tahiti, We like Rarotonga!

Sunday, 26th November 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  3 Comments  |  Share

Morning! It is Sunday at 11.30 in the morning, it is very quiet here as everyone else has gone to church. The beaches are all deserted so we decided to go for a swim! It doesn’t feel that hot compared to other days but its still a lovely 28oC! We are deciding whether to stay here an extra week and maybe stay in Samoa and Tonga less (the guide book scared us rather a lot…) It’s a shame we have a deadline to come back otherwise we would extend our time everywhere!

We are staying in a backpackers place- like a youth hostel in the uk. We have made a few friends already and we played cards with them most of yesterday evening when we had torrential rain for 3 hours!

We have been on a bus journey round the island…. we only wanted to go 10 minutes up the road but ended up going all the way round because the bus only goes clockwise after 12.30pm on Saturday! (it only takes 45 minutes to go round anyway so we weren’t too disappointed!)

The money is NZ dollars and i have never seen triangular coins before!

Thats all for now, we are off for some lunch and some more relaxing as everything is shut today!

Bex and Andy

(Are you all jealous yet? wait till you see the pictures!!!)