Posted by: powellpjc | October 15, 2010

Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Captain Cook got around.

A lovely sail over from Bora Bora. Slow (7days) but fair skies, warm winds and about as pleasant as it can get out here on the Pacific. Ulic went a-fishin’ and came back with a 54” mahi mahi. Couldn’t be fresher and was delicious eating.

Bull mahi mahi and Ulic

Just in time for Halloween or Friday the 13th

I’ve been to Rarotonga, the main island in the Cooks, 31 years ago but this is first time in Aitutaki. There is no deep water harbour so all supplies come by ship and are off-loaded by barge then ferried to shore. The passage into town is, at places, less than 6 feet deep and we plowed through the sand at a couple of spots. I was up the mast trying to eyeball the deepest passage but it’s hard to differentiate between 5’ and 6’. We dropped our anchor in 6.5’ of water in the town centre. Sometimes the steel boat brings one’s confidence up. We draw 6′.

A couple of clapped-out scooters got us around the island, checking out all grocery stores, hotels, beaches and countryside. A cyclone came through here in February this year and 80% of the homes suffered some damage. There are still quite a few families living in relief tents and building material is flooding in on the container ship.

People are lovely, friendly, and SPEAK ENGLISH (it’s been 18 months of foreign tongues for me and I’m tired out.) Formalities are simple, cheap and without hassle.

The grassy highlands of Aitutaki. The flying boat of the TEAL Coral Route used to land in the lagoon in the distance back in the early 50's.

We are a small cruising community here of 3 boats. Petr from Germany in his 47’ catamaran and Johan and Reiner on their 24’ Danish built sloop.

Today was Christmas for us. Johan and Reiner have decided to give up their voyage here and are giving their boat away to the local community. We got a couple of cases of canned food, spare parts and a new solar panel from the boys. Thanks, guys we will put all to good use.

We planned to stay one day and now it is day five. I went on a lagoon snorkel trip yesterday. Many fishes, colorful coral and a deserted island buffet lunch.

The cargo ship comes once a month and offloads outside the reef, while at anchor.

The unloading is dangerous work. The big ship rolls, the container on the hook swings, the barge rolls and the boys duck.

This lagoon was used in the early 50’s for a refueling stop for the flying boat service from Auckland to Papeete. They used a 4-engined Short flying boat and travel was slow but luxurious. Way mo’ better than today’s grueling air travel.

Scraping the barnacles and other hangers-on from the hull. The bottom paint is 1.5 years old now and will need to be redone next year sometime.

We push off tomorrow for American Samoa. Need to buy some new propane tanks, a new chart or two and the usual odds and ends. There is US postal service there so it makes it an attractive stopover, even though the harbour is dominated by a tuna processing plant with all the associated smells.

A drive-through tree, Aitutaki style.

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Responses

  1. Happy to hear you made it safe and sound. There must not have been any rain otherwise who would have been at the helm? I am just jealous back at work. Things are good here. I am already plotting my return. Ulic congrats on the nice fish.

    PK

    p.s. How is the Buffalo Vodka holding up?

  2. You both crossed my mind today, looks like all is well, Lyndsay says hello, be safe.


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