We arrived in the Cook Islands on Easter Sunday afternoon, having left Auckland on Monday afternoon. It is really strange to gain back a day. Here, and in NZ, the Monday after Easter is also a holiday, so nothing has been open until today. We even walked about 45 minutes in the hot sun to lunch yesterday at a Sailing Club up the beach. It was worth it, as the salads were terrific and the beer cold. I have pictures of the small regatta to share. Nice little double hulled sailboats.
The island is lovely, just like a Pacific island should be and like you've seen in the movies. There are white sandy beaches, tall coconut palms, and mountains in the center of the island. Our hotel is right on the beach, and there's great snorkeling right out our door and down two flights to the beach. Because we are on the top floor, our view is amazing. The reef is a long way off shore, so we have lots of fairly shallow water to explore, and there are lots of fish to be seen. Some are quite different from the ones we are used to in the Caribbean. The food is very good, and we've both eaten mostly fresh fish. Tonight, the restaurant in our hotel is open, so we will eat there, with a rhythm and blues singer performing. That should be interesting.
The flight over from Auckland was only 3 hours and 35 minutes on a big 777, and very comfortable. The lunch was delicious - can you believe it on an airplane? At reception, the friendly representative of our tour agency hung gardenia leis around our necks in welcome.
This morning we went on an arts and cultural tour, and because Bill and I were the only ones, we had a private tour. The guide took us to several historic sites of the Maoris, and several artists' studios. We had lunch in town, and will take the island bus back to our hotel after a little shopping. It's a pretty laid back lifestyle, as you might expect. Tomorrow morning we fly to Aitutaki for two nights. Then, back here on Friday to stay at Pacific Resort, a Sandals hotel. It looks pretty posh.
I am sending this from an internet cafe, and didn't lug my computer along on the tour and into town, hence no pictures. But, I have taken some great ones of the blue Pacific and crashing surf on the reef. I'll post them when we get home - or, if we find a different arrangement at the next hotel, which I doubt.
It's great weather. The vegetation is lush and in bloom. Can't ask for anything more. Lots of hibiscus, bouganvilla, crotans, banana trees, papayas, coconuts, etc. We ate island spinach the first night, which I later found out, is Taro. It was delicious. This whole island is delicious!