Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 3 - Aitutaki

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...


  1. Oh Diana, I am so sorry about your hand. But these are the most amazing pictures. Those fish are just beautiful. The islands and the birds and just everything.

    Congrats to Phil for his second place finish. Kind of hard to train that hermit crab, wasn't it.

  2. So sorry that fish took you for bait. Kind of puts a damper on your vacation. Such a beautiful place. It's hard to imagine water so clear...and the turquoise color is just breathtaking. I'm really enjoying all your pictures.

  3. Awesome, thought you did great photography on land but now you proved you can do it underwater too.

  4. If you want a different take on those islands, read Paul Theroux's "The Happy Isles of Oceania".
    Looks like you guys are having a great time. I'm actually looking into the possibility of doing a one year Round the World trip, going to the Philippines, etc.

  5. Maybe you should have let the fish have the camera.

  6. Beautiful! I first heard of the Cook Islands as a kid while reading about the adventures of Capt Cook!

    Hope you hand heals fast, that coral can be dangerous, but oh so much fun!

  7. Great photos! The snorkeling looked wonderful -- I've only snorkeled in the Florida Keys, but this looks amazing. Hope your hand heals soon.

  8. Spectacular photos and a great tour. Hope your hand heals quickly.

  9. You really are quite the adventurer! I love it! That hand will be healed in no time at all with all that good energy you have flowing through you!

  10. You really get caught up in your adventures, even the ones that bite.

    I'm sure you're very glad that was not a great white shark!

  11. SO sorry you got hurt! I bet the salt water will acutally help it to heal fast, SURE did see some awesome fish eh? Your video is super and WOW that cLam is huge! COOK island looks like a paradise for sure--take care of that hand!

  12. Diana, so sorry the fish mistook your hand for bait. Hope it heals quickly. Enjoyed today's visit to the Cook Islands; thanks for taking us along.

  13. There you go - instead of telling you about the Titanic, they should have warned you about the attack fish! You poor thing! I hope they had good pain pills on board. Gorgeous shots of the fish and I especially love that one with the crooked palm trees.

  14. Beautiful photos, what a day! I'm sorry the fish got your hand, what a bummer. That's a big fish! As long as it heals well, you'll have another good story to tell. Looks like he got your whole hand in his mouth, ouch! :(

  15. So sorry about your hand. It sounds like it was a bad bite. Shame you won't be able to snorkel for a while. Hope it is feeling better.

    Your pictures are beautiful, we are so jealous.

    Kevin and Ruth

  16. Beautiful pictures!!! What an adventure! Blue, blue water, colorful fish. Sad, sad hand....

  17. Sorry about the hand but at least you didnt give up the camera!! It looks a great holiday and a complete change from what you normally do. I hope the hand doesn't spoil the rest of the vacation.

  18. Great pics!!! Getting bit was a real bummer. Love your travels.

  19. those are the best underwater photos i have seen. sorry to hear about the hand. sorta reminds me of ron's bandage. keep having a great time----

  20. Ok just read about your hand goodness gracious so sorry that happened to you at such a beautiful place too! I hope it heals quickly for you. Beautiful pictures you are just having too much fun hehehe


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