Where to start??? There were a lot of good times to be had in Aitutaki. When we could finally convince ourselves to leave that perfect beach, we ended up finding all kinds of other fun things to do. First thing on the agenda was to figure out our transportation situation...
Most people get around on the islands on motor scooters. We're not most people. And that's not because we are too good for scooters. It turns out, we're not good enough for scooters.
This was either right before or right after I scraped off the end of my big toe when my turn went a little wide and I had to hit the brakes and brace my feet so I didn't run into a barbed wire fence. But I ended up getting good enough to pass, I think, after several passes up and down the road.
However, this was right before or right after Tera took off down the hill through a field on her scooter when her turn went REALLY wide. I think her toes were fine though.
After that, Mom had zero interest in getting on a scooter.
Somebody was pretty excited about driving on the left side of the road, right side of the car!
One of our first destinations was a clam farm/research station someone told us about. It was actually way more interesting than it sounds. and it was really close to where we got our rental car.
And check that out!!! Those are clams! I had no idea they looked like that. I think the bright ones are from Palau. Clams come in lots of sizes depending on the species. they go from tiny to this:
These are Australian ones. They are putting them back in the lagoon here to help with the biodiversity or something, which means we got to see some of these bad boys out in the lagoon when we did our lagoon cruise. I didn't think these were real. and the shell in this picture probably weighs more than I do. They are remarkably heavy for their size.
These were the tanks they grow the clams in.
And just past the tanks was the beach (you're never far from the beach when you're on a tiny island), and the beach there was covered in chunks of coral. I think the Cook Islands are called the Coral Islands, or are part of a bigger group of islands referred to as the Coral Islands. Makes sense given the amount of coral here.
Look how clear this water is!
Aren't they cute? It would have been great to see them anywhere, but I'm sure glad they picked such an awesome place for our reunion trip!
We were pretty excited at this beach. you can't tell from the pictures, but the white coral made it look like snow instead of sand, so it was pretty surreal.
This is actually the airport of Aitutaki. Both the airport here and on Rarotonga were built by the US during World War 2. We were nice enough to pay rent to the people whose land they were built on. a hot issue now is that since the US left them, the airlines and people who run them now don't pay that rent, so there is some turmoil about the airlines there. Also, there is a monopoly on flights to Aitutaki by Air Rarotonga, so they are trying to get a second airline in to help lower costs of getting to and from there. But despite their efforts to get more flights in and out, they don't want any of those flights to be on a Sunday. The Cook Islands are very religious, and some people there think it is unholy to have Sunday flights. At least enough people think that that there are signs up around the island encouraging people to not support Sunday flights.
Another stop on our drive was at this very large banyan tree:
That's Tera at the far end of the tunnel.
And near that tree is a turn-off for 'the watertanks', which are high on a hill overlooking the entire island and lagoon. You can get 360-degree views, which are as beautiful as you'd expect.
The water gets darker, and deeper, as soon as you get out of the lagoon.
Back at sea level, we walked around this little wharf.
At some point, Tera and I took this out to go looking for one of the giant clams someone had told us was near the resort we were at. We didn't find it, so we had to wait until our lagoon cruise to snorkel and find the big ones in the wild.
Our beach at sunset
Golden Hour selfie.
If two's good, three's better.
And here's the golden sunset casting that orange glow on us:
I seriously have a couple hundred sunset pictures from this trip.
We checked out the local market, which was kind of a joke. There was one lady there with a couple of tables of stuff. But we did find this miracle product:
and start chugging.
and in another shop, we found this mysterious product from the Blood Protection Company.
Despite the confusing packaging, I think these were mosquito coils that you burn to keep mosquitoes away.
One afternoon, we all finally got to go stand-up Paddleboarding! Somehow, no one fell in.
And lastly, here's the Island Night entertainment we had one evening at a big resort on the island.
This is the fire dancer that made Mom and Tera get up and hula for the crowd!!!
hahahahahahahahahaha. Mom was a really good sport. Tera tolerated it. but they both really gave the local girls a run for their money... ok not really. Those island girls can MOVE!!!
So that's a lot of what we did on Aitutaki! Stay tuned for a few more posts about our lagoon cruise, the hike up the hill and the awesome views, and one about a sunset that just wouldn't stop.