Claudia, Peter, Lasse & Sil discovering the world

Cook Islands - Raratonga

Flying to Raratonga, the capital Cook Islands, we crossed the date-line, so we arrived ‘the day before', so to speak. We had not realized this, and as a consequence, we had no hotel reservation for the day of our arrival. This was, however, quickly solved, albeit against a considerable above-budget cash layout for the hotel near the airport. On the other hand we were lucky, as there was a private party in the hotel, hosted by the Cook Island prime minister, and we were treated to a free evening of local culture and dancing.

We did not do much other than swimming, snorkeling and kayaking on Raratonga. The first half of the week we stayed in Daydreamers Apartments, which were okay, but without good beach access and owned by a bit strange lady. We were invited by the owners for a BBQ one night, which was very friendly and we got to know them a bit better. On Sunday we went to a famous Cook Island church (every mile you will find a church), which was nice because the locals turned out to be very good singers. It was in local language, so we did not get more than the general gist, but it was a good experience nevertheless. After church we were invited by the vicar for a small lunch, which we enjoyed together with all the other tourists that went to church that day.

The last days we went to a more up-market accommodation: Kura's Kabana's. This had direct access to the beach, free use of kayak and BBQ and a very relaxed setting with other guests around. We had quite some rain on the island and got back very wet from a kayak trip a couple of times. On our last day we decided to book a tour with Captain Tama, the local glass bottom boat operator, for a trip to the coral reef and seafood BBQ on a small island just off the coast of Raratonga. This turned out to be a very nice day, with some nice snorkeling, a show with a live octopus (including some ink-squirting) and very funny guides that also knew how to cook a good dinner.

After the tour with the glass bottom boat, we were invited by Karen and Duncan (who just arrived on the island for a 1-year project renovating the harbor) and had a nice dinner from the left-overs of a big tuna fish we saw being cut at the beach.

In the evening Duncan brought us to the airport, where we found out we had to have applied for entrance to the USA in some kind of electronic database. Without it, no access. So there Claudia went, pointed to a very friendly check in lady of NZ Airways to one of their computers and with our passports and a credit card (....... Welcome to the USA, this is what you have to pay...). In the end it went rather smooth and we joined the other passengers who were just about to line up for boarding.

San Francisco here we come!


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