To clear through Cook Island customs, we had to stop at the main Island, Rarotonga, before embarking anywhere else in the region. After 18 days at sea, I don't think its too bold too say that the lush green mountains of Raro were a welcomed sight to everyone of us.
After getting the ship into harbour safely and getting the all clear from customs, it was decided that the Soren Larsen would stay two days alongside a wharf in Avarua harbour. Perhaps not the prettiest area of the island, with its cranes and workmen throughout the day and the endless stream of scooters and cars on main road (which circles the island). However, within a one minute walk from the wharf, the island was beautiful.
Over the next few days watches were replaced with anchor watches and inquisitive locals came by to see the ship, which is registered in the cook islands. A lot of people remembered it from previous years and the local newspaper even came and took a picture of the crew.
Soon after we came alongside the first batch of crew, including myself, were given 22 hours off duty. Starting a t 4pm, our time went as followed;
- Found Internet cafe 'telecom' and quickly booked a hotel room for the night. Also found out that Internet is pretty expensive in these parts.
- Go to recommended Indian restaurant. As a bring your one booze restaurant, with meals for $10 that tasted amazing, what's not to like?
- Jump into taxi to accommodation. find reception locked up. use a room to call a telephone on the front door. Get shown to a large apartment suite. upgraded to executive level, which just means extra beds, but we did have a higher balcony....
- Walk aimlessly in the dark to a bar, in fear of scooters in the night. Found a beach side bar closing up and scored a free beer from the bar lady (again thank you), which we drank on the beach.
The next day, we got on a bus to muri beach (there are two bus routes on raro, one going clockwise, the other anti). And there we spent the rest of our time, having breakfast, watching dogs fish, lazing, swimming and a little bit of snorkeling. After watching the world go by and finishing up with a mojito at the 'set sails' bar, it was time to catch the bus back to the harbour. Less than 24 hours, spent well.