Saturday, July 5, 2008

To Aitutaki and back

One of the perks of working for a travel agent is you get to go and see some interesting places. Last Christmas, my team won a team trip to any destination on the Air New Zealand network. After much debate, we decided to go to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

We flew out to Rarotongo and stayed at the Edge Water resort. However, we had a surprise excursion to Aitutaki.

We flew with Air Ratotonga leaving Rarotonga at 0800 on a small Saab turbo prop.
After flying for 40 minutes we started our decent into Aitutaki. We flew over the lagoon and approached the island from the north, landing on an air strip built by the Americans in 1942 during World War 2.
The airport at Aitutaki is a little bit basic (an under statement!) but the welcome was very warm.
A man playing in his ucayali welcomed our arrival to the island - Pacific Islanders know how to make people feel very welcome!

Our tour host for the day was a man called Phil who was originally from the island and was a mind of information - he seemed to know most of the island inhabitants.

1900 people live on the island. Power is provided between 0600 and 2359 by two diesel generators. The container ship comes once a month, but if it is too rough it doesn't stop and steams onto Auckland.

The bus took us to the main town and we had chance to walk around.

After a short time we joined our boat and cruised around the lagoon for the rest of the day.

The TV series Shipwreaked and Survivor is filmed in Aitutiki and we payed a visit to 'Sharky Island'. We went snorkling and enjoyed a tuna lunch. After which we sailed to One Foot island.

One island has no inhabitants but it has a post office (UK eat your heart out!) so it was a great opportunity to sit under a palm tree and write my post cards while drinking a cool beer.

Alas, it was time to go home so we went back on the boat, steamed back to Aitutiki and caught the flight back to Rarotonga.

I'll be going again ...... but next time I will take my wife, Yvonne!

How I miss Holme-on-Spalding Moor!

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