Thursday, 2 January 2014

Rarotonga

  
  
  
  
  
  
Like a time-warped tiny Hawaiian island still in the '50s, Rarotonga is an awesome place to visit.  On the globe, it's pretty much a mirror image of Hawaii - exactly the same longitude and corresponding southern lattitude.  It's a tiny round island with verdant volcanic peaks belted with a turquoise bathtub lagoon fringed with white sand on the inside and a barrier reef on the outside.  We rode bicycles around the whole coast one afternoon. There are no buildings anywhere more than about 2 stories high, and there's just no tourist-industry hassle at all. It's a pretty nice place to just decompress and drop off the grid for a while indeed!

Raratonga is awesome! I really enjoyed the fact that it was small and quiet, so quiet that we were often on on the perfect white sand beaches with only a handful of others, usually locals. On the day that we hired a bicycle we stopped off to play Coco putt crazy golf (it was a tie by the way), ate pineapple pie and coconut bread, strolled around a botanical garden, saw hundreds of churches and swam. 

The following day we woke early to go diving. We were told that the conditions were good to go outside of the lagoon on the South side of the island. As we set sail in the little boat and passed through the channel from the lagoon into the open ocean the water got pretty choppy and I was slightly apprehensive. As soon as we got into the water, I felt fine. The drop off was pretty major and the visibility was huge-up to 35 metres. On the first dive we saw a turtle, reef shark, tuna and hundreds of parrot fish of all sizes and colours. The second dive was more fun though as we went diving in the passage between the lagoon and the ocean. As the current was fairly strong we had to rock climb along the bottom of the floor to propel ourselves through. On the way we saw a turtle, pink leaf scorpion fish, a giant grouper and huge puffer fish.

Our New Year's Eve celebration consisted of everyone in the hostel making a dish and sharing it for dinner. Ty and I then sat on the beach to star gaze and later rode our bikes to the nearest resort to have a cocktail just in time to celebrate 2014. On New Year's Day we spent most of the day snorkelling followed by a visit to a beach bar to watch the sunset. A perfect way to see in the New Year...I was very sad to leave Raratonga, but had French Polynesia to look forward to! 2014 is pretty amazing so far.  

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