Rarotonga Gong-Show…

So here we are in the Cook Islands, the island of Rarotonga to be precise. Since I left you, we have departed Tahiti, sailed to Moorea, Huahine, Tahaa, Raiatea, Bora Bora (all in the Society Islands, the same group as Tahiti is in), braved the craziest storm ever (like 30ft waves and I was cooking…) and arrived here in Rarotonga, the main island in the Cook Islands. If you’ve been following our travels on the salts website, you’ll know more details than I feel like sharing.
Highlights for me would have to be:
…A crazy hike on Moorea up a huge ridge overlooking 2 bays (Cooks bay and the one beside it which is where the boat was anchored). The view was amazing, the lagoon gorgeous. We had a great time. I thought I was going to die at points because it was fairly steep, it was stinking hot, and I had a sore throat that day. Oh, and Tav almost slid into me from behind several times on the way down which was fairly nerve-wracking.
…Amazing day on Huahine where we went to church in the morning followed by a hike followed by three glorious hours of volleyball. Church in French Polynesia is like nothing else. The singing is entirely acappella and amazing (emphasis on the amazing) harmonies. It starts with one person beginning a song, then everyone joins in. I had goosebumps. After church, a bunch of us wandered around the island to see where we could get to – in the end, we went up this dirt track to the top of a cliff where we had a spectacular view. It started to downpour a few minutes after we got there, so we dove for cover under the half constructed house at the top and proceeded to eat our lunches there. Then a car drove up and we freaked out (trespassing…?!?) and jumped over the wall on the opposite side from the driveway to head back down the track to the main road. That was followed by a spontaneous game of soccer with some of the local kids. Chase and I were pretty much the only two from the boat playing by the end, but it was fun. My team was annihilated, but I got over it. Then it was on to volleyball… there were some amazing players and at one point in our big Kings Court-style games, Elske and I ended up on a team with 4 really talented Islanders and we dominated for about 45 minutes (Kings Court is when you stay on the court until you loose, so if you keep winning, you play forever. Games were up to 11, so they went pretty quickly.) . I got some sweet kill shots in and it was all around a fantastic way to spend three hours. On the way back to the boat, one of the ladies gave me a beautiful hand-painted pareo (sarong) on very tight weave, soft cotton.
…Tahaa and the motu on the lagoon we snorkeled around. Did I mention that I have now pet a reef shark?!? Pretty much the most amazing thing ever. Chase has an underwater camera so we took pictures of each other touching it. And of Caelan hanging onto its tail, but that is another story. There were far too many moray eels there too, which were slightly freaky, especially the one that kept flexing its jaw. And I saw a couple lion fish which are pretty darn cool looking.
…Bora Bora. What more can I say? A day of snorkeling with different kinds of sting rays and seeing the spectacular lagoon. Bora Bora deserves its reputation as the most beautiful of the Societies.
…The storm on the passage to the Cooks was crazy. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when Carolyn split a third of a can of chick peas (100oz can, so huge) on the galley floor in a particularly large swell and then proceeded to body slam me as she rolled across the galley. All in all, we had a fun day though. It brought back some unpleasant memories of leg one, what with the pot cupboard exploding 5 times and all… After I was done cooking for the day, I hung out on deck with Port watch until they finished watch at 8pm (in full foulies for the first time since the passage to Hawaii) and watched the crazy swells. We were even having huge waves break over the cap rail in the stern.
And now we are in Raro. I am sure it is a lovely place, but I haven’t seen much of it. We have discovered a few bed bugs on the boat… probably got them leg one when everyone was sleeping off the boat in Hawaii, and now they’ve emerged in about 4 bunks. Drat. So today we got up at 6am and emptied EVERYTHING below on to the deck, sent all clothing and bedding away to be washed, inspected every inch of bags etc and now we can’t get back on the boat until 4pm because they are spraying it. Katie and I just spent $300NZ on pizza for dinner because we can’t get down to make anything. And we still have to put everything back on the boat tonight. It should be interesting. I’m cooking in the morning, so we’ll see what happens. Needless to say, I am less than enthused about the prospects of bedbugs over the next year, so hopefully we have caught them in time and our weekly spot sprays from here on in will eradicate them all. Katie and I are nervous about them coming in our cabin because we are in the hold and also the ones who bunk dive under all the bunks and potentially come into contact with them the most.
On a happy note, it is a beautiful sunshiny day, and I’m going to go look at gift shops to see all the tacky tourist stuff.
I think this is possibly my most epic update to-date. I have to figure out how to use my new camera (did I mention that my camera when wacky in Papeete, so I had to quickly find and buy a new one before I left, spending far too much money, but I wasn’t about to not have a camera for this passage. It is a Nikon and remarkably good. I’m missing some of the features of my Canon, but it is a bit smaller and a full 5 megapixles more than my old one) before I can give more photos, but be prepared for turquoise lagoons, crazy beaches, pearl and vanilla farms, mountains, boats… its all there folks!

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