On Tuesday June 13, we decided to leave Bora Bora and make our way to Maupiti as a possible stop on our way to Aitutaki. Only when we got there around 4PM the swell from the south was about 2M and breaking waves across the pass made it, in our opinion, too dangerous to enter. Once entered we also were not sure how easy it would be to leave Maupiti again and we wanted to get to the Cooks. So we continued sailing… The sea became very rollly during the night and with waves of about 3M, winds of 15KTS I was getting sea sick. My body was not used to this anymore. I had not taken anything because I was sure I would be able to do without. I guess not. After being really sick I decided to take one of the pills just before going for my 3HR sleep and sure enough I woke up feeling much better. I continued to take them every 12hours till we got to Aitutaki and felt fine. Hopefully I can get to Palmerston without one.
We arrived after 4 days of sailing on Saturday morning around 8AM but had to “heave to” twice during our trip so we would not arrive in the dark at the pass. We were not sure if we should enter right away since we knew it was low tide and the water was leaving the lagoon at a rapid pace. The Captain did not want to wait another couple hours so I went upfront ready to drop the anchor in case it was needed and we pushed Sanuk against the current of 5KTS into the lagoon. Our depth meter said “0”, a good thing Stefan did not mention this while going in or I would have flipped! We are now anchored in the little harbour of Arutanga in a depth of 2M and tied to 2 palm trees. We have been here a week and no other yacht has arrived here. This is definitely not an easy pass to navigate through.
Aitutaki is an “exclusive” tourist spot mainly for Australians and New Zealanders looking for a winter break. In June 2010 the island was nominated “the world’s most beautiful island” by the founder of the Lonely Planet Guides. Unfortunately this week the weather has been grey and rainy till thursday. Not fun when you are only here for the week in an expensive hotel.
Most of the Cook Islands (15) were discovered by Captain Cook, hence the name but the first European to set foot in Aitutaki was Captain Bligh in 1789 with the Bounty, just a couple weeks before the mutiny. The Cook Islanders are polynesian and the main language is Cook Island Maori but they all speak english with a heavy NZ accent. The Cooks islands are independent since 1965 but affiliated with New Zealand for defense, foreign affairs and finances. Cook Islanders are NZ citizens.
While the weather was not so great we enjoyed walking and bicycling around the island. We even had to wear a sweater during the evenings. Yesterday we took out Fiipper to tour the lagoon but the wind and cold water (only 22 degrees) made us turn around. Tomorrow we have booked a lagoon cruise with a barbecue on “One Foot Island”. It looks like it will be a sunny day.
We have checked out today (Friday) since there are no custom officials working during the WE. We paid 220NZD (about 140USD) departure tax and anchorage fee of 5NZD per day included. In French Polynesia, part of the EU, we did not pay anything…