Aitutaki in the Cook Islands is a beautiful island surrounded by a blue lagoon and lots of small islands, called motus.
There is only one entrance into the lagoon. The ship parks outside and the tender carefully makes its way throught the reef to take us to the island.
I had arranged a tour privately on the internet with Teking (rhymes with The King). It came highly recommended and was half the cost of the shore excursions through the ship.
"Kia Orana" is the greeting here in the Cooks - it means "May You Live Well."
We first went by the wreck of the Alexander, a boat which used to bring supplies to the island. Teking didn't even slow down, so I had to take my picture of rusty stuff on the fly.
Then we got to our first snorkel stop. There were 3 boats on the tour, but we got on Teking's boat. He really puts on quite a show.
And then into the water - WOW! A little bread goes a long way.
It was an incredible sight.
Different fish everywhere you looked.
Here's a short movie.
I saw a Giant Moray Eel carrying a large dead fish.
All the little fish eventually brought in a Giant Trevally Jack fish. Scared me half to death, but he was after the little fish.
He was about 3 feet long. Remember my pretty little silver and turquoise underwater camera? Well, he liked it too and tried to eat it.
Unfortunately, he got my hand instead! He had really sharp teeth. Teking wanted to take me back, but I dicided to tough it out.
The next stop was at the giant clams. They are more than a foot across and about 20 years old.
We then went to a beautiful motu -
That was the home of the South Pacific Kiteboarding Center.
Then onto another motu for lunch.
A Red-Tail Tropic Bird, or Tavake, was nesting in the foliage. That red tail feather is a couple of feet long.
A baby was nearby - not sure is it was the same kind of bird.
Teking put on quite a spread, laid out in giant clam shells.
Afterward, we had a hermit crab race. Phil's came in second.
Then on to our final snorkel stop.
This was where a lot of purple coral was, and I found a pretty blue starfish.
Then on to another motu that was one of the small islands where Survivor-Cook Islands was filmed in 2006. How cool is that? The show was filmed on the islands in the lower right corner on the first picture.
Then on to One-Foot Island, so named because a man and his son were trapped there by warriors. The man walked in his son's footprints and saved his life by hiding him.
You can actually get your passport stamped here.
Back at the ship, I went to the ship's doctor and had some stitches and lots of surgical glue and strips. Yuck! Guess I can't do any more snorkeling for a while...