Day 289, Year l: Rarotonga Sunset
Date: Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Weather: Still Blue Skies with Rain Showers
Location: Avatiu Harbor, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

What a lovely day we all had today. We got off to a bit of a slow start because we decided to fill the water tanks using borrowed hoses from a couple of different boats in order to reach Windbird from shore. The hoses were fine, but the water pressure was very low and it seemed to take forever to fill just one tank. Eventually, both tanks were full and it was then time for everyone but me to go hiking up Mount Raemaru. This mountain is 350 meters tall and has a flat top. Local legend tells a story of how warriors from Aitutaki carried the top of the mountain back to their island. When we were in Aitutaki, we saw a tiny little mountain that looks like it should be the top of Mount Raemaru. Anyway, the climb was a little more difficult than expected due to the rainy conditions recently. The rocks near the top were very slippery, but Mike, Linda, and Garrett made it. Mark stopped somewhere near the top and waited for them to come back down.

When the gang returned, I got a call on the radio from Windbird Mobile (our handheld VHF that is carried by whomever is on shore) inviting me to come to lunch. At first I declined as I was on the boat working hard to organize pictures, but then they called back and said there was a special market day today with singing and dancing, and food. That did it. I shut down the computer and Mark came over in the dinghy to get me. The Punanga Nui Marketplace is right next door, so I hopped into the wheel chair and away we went. It was great fun listening to the live music and watching some young men dressed as female dancers do a spoof on Polynesian dancing. They were very funny and after their little show, they invited audience members up to dance. Kelly and Kelly Martin from the sailboat Moorea were chosen to participate and we got a great little video of the female Kelly dancing. She was really good, so we all decided that she has been secretly practicing aboard Moorea!

When we all got back to the boat, our next door neighbor, the sailing vessel Linda from Helsinki, Finland, had just pulled up anchor and was sailing out of the harbor. That left room for Capaz, a boat from the West Coast of the USA, to move in. Todd and Julie are on Capaz with their two young sons. Garrett got to know the oldest son last night aboard Endangered Species and they, along with most males in the anchorage, spent the afternoon helping to secure Capaz and playing a little dinghy tag at the same time.

We went to a great restaurant for dinner. It is a place called The Waterline. The location, the ambiance, and the food were all terrific. It is right on the beach on the west side of the island, so you have a great sunset view through the palm trees. We all took way too many pictures and thoroughly enjoyed our meal. All too soon, it was time to get back into town to go to the evening dance competitions. This was our second time attending, and each night just gets better. There are five different kinds of dances and each island gets a chance to present each kind of dance. My favorites are the Kapa Rima and the Ura Pau. A Kapa Rima is a choreographed dance including large groups of both male and female dancers. The costumes are just phenomenal, as is the choreography. How twenty-five to thirty young women and that many young men can all move in complete harmony is beyond me, but it is wonderful to watch. The Ura Pau is dancing to drumming, and I really love the drumming. I truly enjoy each and every presentation and will be anxious to find out who wins this year’s competition.

Tomorrow is the last day aboard for the Stuarts. They fly out late tomorrow evening, so we do at least have the full day with them. They will probably go snorkeling one last time and we will head into town to do all of the things that we have just not gotten to do. We really want to visit the Whale Center, so that will be high on the agenda. Tomorrow evening is Mardi Gras in the Punanga Nui Marketplace, so that will be our last adventure together. Mark is working hard at trying to find a way to keep Garrett onboard. He is a great kid and a great crew member. It has been great fun having all of the Stuarts aboard and we will miss them.

060802 Day 289 Cook Islands, Rarotonga–Hiking Raemaru, Marketplace, The Waterline
Day 290, Year 1: Farewell to the Stuarts
Day 288, Year 1: Moving About in the Anchorage