Monday, 17 April 2017

A scooter drive around Aitutaki

PHIL: Day 64/18 April

lovely beaches everywhere on Aitutaki
At 3a.m. I am awoken by the unexpected sound of an aircraft landing at the nearby airstrip. Exactly nine minutes later it departs and I listen to the whine of its turbo-prop engines climbing away to the north, deciding it is probably an Embraer Bandeirante, a small feederliner operated by Air rarotonga..

Knowing there are no scheduled night flights here I guess it to be an emergency medical flight bound for one of the distant northern atolls – perhaps Penrhyn – just stopping at Aitutaki to pick up fuel for the long onward leg where no diversion alternates would be available.

Explore the ‘mainland’ on a motor-scooter including climbing Aitutaki’s 124m ‘mountain’, Maungapu. The whole round-trip only takes two leisurely hours including a stop at Spider’s Internet Café. 
a large cemetery
When we return the San Francisco hippie is sitting in the lagoon reading a book (Zen for beginners, perhaps?) under the shade of her umbrella pitched in 50cm of water.

A trip to the end of the airport’s disused runway 10/28 where snorkelling is alleged to be good is a disappointment as storm clouds gather and a flooding tide brings sand-laden water into the lagoon.

ALLIE: DAY 64: Wednesday, the 18th of April

Exploring Aitutaki: a climb up a hill, a drive around and a heavy rain shower

A relaxed wake up and baked beans on toast! I get soo English!

Allie tries to go snorkelling
This morning we set out on a discovery tour of the island on our motorbike. Aitutaki was originally named ‘Enua O Ru Kit e Moana’ which means ‘Ru in Search of Land over the Sea’.

According to Maori legend Ru was the first settler of these islands, but wherever he was first, he found it too crowded and sailed on finally reaching Aitutaki. A’i tutaki means ‘to keep the fire going’ and that’s where Ru finally settled with his 20 maidens (so maybe it was that sort of a fire?!).

We want to get a view and climb the highest peak of the island, Mt. Maungapu (124m). But as we reach the top, we realize that this isn’t the peak. Nevertheless the views across the lagoon are worthwhile the effort. 

sleepy little harbour
The island is quite pleasant further inland. Lots of taro, pineapple and banana plantations, nice houses and friendly locals waving at us. We come back along the western shore and stop for a quick beer and internet.

The day passes with more writing, reading, a heavy shower and some disappointing snorkelling with nothing to see except a thousand sea cucumbers lying all around the murky ground.

But it’s good to catch up on our writing, we are still fighting to finish our reports on North Korea.
Dinner at the ‘Samade on beach’ which wasn’t as tasty as expected but at least the bottle of wine out on our lounger was very good.

No comments:

Post a Comment