Tuesday 1st December 2015
06.12.2015 30 °C
The thunderstorms that we had been expecting overnight didn't materialise and the weather was much improved by the time we got up. It was pretty hot, but there was a proper blue sky for the first time since we arrived on Rarotonga.
We had a pretty boring breakfast of toast and marmalade, sadly the fruit platter we were given on arrival has all been eaten. Nigel checked and found out that high tide was going to be a bit after 1pm so we aimed to get out on one of the local beaches for about midday. The nearest really good beach is at Aroa which is about three to four kilometres south (anti-clockwise) from where we are staying. The beach there is better than here at Aorangi in that the reef is further out and there is less rock and coral and more sand in the lagoon so it makes for better swimming.
The sea was a beautiful colour when we arrived and we were feeling pretty warm and so we went straight in for a swim and then we did some snorkelling. I keep getting problems with salt water irritating my eyes when I snorkel, so after a bit I reverted to swimming and then came out the water quite a bit before Nigel did. I still saw some really pretty fish and one really large greyish one when I was swimming in the shallows. Going out further Nigel was able to see some better examples of coral as he went much nearer to the reef.
After about an hour and a half on the beach we went to get some lunch at a cafe just up past Muri lagoon, recommended to us by Angela for their fish sandwiches. I had Tuna and Nigel had their FOB (fresh off the boat) both of which were delicious. That particular area is one of the most popular on the island but the water didn't look as clear there as elsewhere on the island and Nigel had read reports about localised pollution and excessive damage to the coral.
Despite being sunnier today on the beaches the Rarotongan mountains were still shrouded in cloud and mist.
Once we had finished eating we decided to go back to Magic Reef and chill out there. We had a bit of a swim in the lovely boat shaped pool and then went and sat on the beach in front of our bungalow with a beer. It probably wasn't a great idea as I ended up dozing off for a little while and woke up with a bit of a headache. I had hardly drank any of the beer and the headache sort of put paid to any more alcohol that evening. Fortunately a bit of time in the cool and lots of water plus a couple of paracetamol seemed to do the trick. We had booked a table (or at least Angela had done this for us) at the Tamarind which she had previously told us is her favourite on the island. It is about a 15 minute drive from where we are staying up on the northern shore. It is situated in an old colonial building, one of a few still remaining, and the staff are very friendly and welcoming. I had yet more fish (swordfish on a lemon and pesto risotto) and Nigel had lamb shank. I followed mine up with a delicious pavlova whilst Nigel settled for an iced coffee. I had really enjoyed the meal, and although Nigel thought his lamb wasn't the best he'd ever had we had both enjoyed eating there. The wind had blown up again during the evening and there was some rain but we managed to get back to our accommodation without getting wet. It was still pretty hot and humid and there were loads of flying (and probably biting) insects around despite my hefty dosing of Deet and a number of hungry geckos, so after a short while I went inside and took advantage of the coolness the air conditioning provided.