Day 290, Year 1: Farewell to the Stuarts
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2006
Weather: Winds Up and More Rain Mixed With Occasional Sunshine
Location: Avatiu Harbor, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

The good thing is that it is not raining 24 hours a day, but I think it does rain some in each of the 24. Tonight’s Mardi Gras celebration was cancelled due to the rain, and all we could think is that the clouds are raining tears of sadness because the Stuarts have to return to New Hampshire. They are at the airport right now waiting for an 11 PM flight to Tahiti and then on to Los Angeles, and finally on to New Hampshire. The weather was not as cooperative as we would have liked for their stay here, but they assured us that they had a great time despite the weather. Mike, Linda, and Garrett-We miss you already and hope you have a safe trip home.

It has been difficult the past couple of weeks with my leg out of commission. I haven’t been able to cook or clean like usual, but everyone pitched in and we made it through with flying colors. Even though I am out of the cast now, I still cannot put any weight on my foot and it is swelling more than it was in the cast. I have to keep it elevated part of every day. The knee on my good leg is starting to have problems as I have to bear all of my weight on that leg. Even with the wheel chair, the crutches, and the rental car to help out, I still have to climb in and out of the dinghy on my knees. Tomorrow morning we will have to figure out how we are going to best prepare for the passage to American Samoa. We could be leaving as early as Saturday morning and there are lot of meals to prepare between now and then.

We tried to visit the Whale Center this morning, but it was not open. We then headed downtown to do a little shopping. We wanted to buy some local music, so we went to the recommended Raro Record Shop. I wanted a particular song I had heard in French Polynesia, so Linda insisted that I hum the song to the guy in the record shop. It took him awhile, but he finally came up with the name of the song and found it on a CD for me. I found that pretty amazing. Next we went across the street to Trader Jacks. where we saw the newly carved canoes ready for launch. They were really beautiful, and although we didn’t stay for the launching, we did stay long enough to enjoy the instrumental music, drumming, and general fanfare. Mark and I went back to the boat while Mike, Linda, and Garrett went out for lunch and for a final trip to the lagoon. Garrett contracted some sort of flu bug yesterday, so they opted not to snorkel but to just walk in the shallow water and look for fish. They then returned to the boat so Garrett could rest and we could get the entire picture copying to CD’s done.

Before long, it was time to go out to dinner. We decided to go back to the Right-on-the-Beach Bar and Restaurant at Manuia Beach Hotel to enjoy the sunset and then have dinner. For dessert, we went back to The Waterline. This is where we had dinner last night. Linda liked the decadent chocolate brownie so much that her request of the day was to go back there for dessert before heading out to the airport. We did that and enjoyed the brownies and ice cream more tonight than we did last night. It was then time to get back to Windbird to pick up the luggage and go to the airport. I said my farewells on the dock and went back to the boat to leave room for all of the luggage in our little rental car.

Parting is always difficult, but we have two great weeks of memories to hold on to. Linda is returning just in time to get ready for her presentations at New Teacher Orientation. Garrett will be leaving with a friend to spend a couple of weeks in New Mexico (or Arizona?). And Michael will be back at work on Monday morning. We will be on our way to American Samoa by that time, and on to a new adventure.

060803 Day 290 Cook Islands, Rarotonga–Canoes and Farewelll to the Stuarts
Day 291, Year 1: Getting Ready for the Passage to American Samoa
Day 289, Year l: Rarotonga Sunset