A Travellerspoint blog

Coffee, Art and Caving

Saturday, February 2

We started the day, after a great breakfast, with Jurgen picking us up for a tour of his coffee plantation. This trip was in the back of his truck on wooden benches, hanging on for dear life as we bounced over the pot holes and ducked the hanging tree branches. We visited the coffee plants, and he showed us the building where the husking, drying, sorting, roasting, and bagging go on. It was very interesting, even to the non-coffee drinkers in the crowd. Then we went to the Atiu Fibre Arts Studio,www.cookislandsartlink.com/andreaeimke, which is run by Jurgen’s wife, Andrea, for a coffee tasting and a chance to view her artworks. Great coffee and wonderful fibre arts.
Andrea Eimke's art

Andrea Eimke's art


She makes her own tapa cloth, which is a lot of hard work, and then incorporates it into her artwork. She does appliqué, similar to Hawaiian quilting, but with no batting, just two layers of cloth. She also has some wonderful machine lace effects. We had a great visit, but I didn’t buy anything there. Mani bought 2 pareo (wraps) and a glasses case. After Jurgen dropped us off at home, we went back to the same spot for a repeat of yesterday’s lunch.
Marshall picked us up for a bird cave tour. We were joined on this tour by Dominique, the French Canadian man, and the Dutch couple. We hiked over the makatea, which is a fossilized coral area that has been pushed up out of the ocean by the movement of the tectonic plates. Extremely rough country, we used walking sticks and had to watch where we put our feet every step. We had frequent stops so Marshall could show us different plants or interesting items. When we reached the cave, he handed out headlights and we climbed down a ladder to reach the cave.
Caving

Caving


Then duck, watch your step, duck, etc. into the cave and found the Atiu Swiftlet, which Marshall says is misnamed, but a very interesting bird, which echo locates to find its nest in the pitch black of the cave. He then took us down to a little pool in the cave that we all had a swim in – very refreshing, but of course, we got all dirty and sweaty on the return trip as well. We came home and showered and went over to the Atiu Villas for supper. Another wonderful meal with bananas in brandy with ice cream for desert.

Posted by katdill 14:07 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

Travel to Atiu

Friday, February 1

Up early to get ready to leave. Mama drove us to the airport. They told us our flight left at 7:30, but really it didn’t go until after 8:00. I talked to a young French Canadian man at the airport because Teking had told me a single fellow was flying out with us. (Dominique was his name). There was also a young couple from Holland. Only 7 of us on the plane. It was about a 45 minute flight to Atiu. We were met by Marshall at the airport with eis, the Cook Island version of leis. We arrived at his place and got settled in. At lunchtime, we borrowed one of his trucks and drove into the village to have burgers at the food/convenience store. Don and I had egg burger without the meat patty (or mince, as they say down here) with lettuce, onion, and beetroot. Yum! We ate on a covered deck overlooking the sports field. I always forget how delicious canned (not pickled) beets are in a sandwich until I come back down under. After lunch, Marshall took us on a tour of the island and gave us a history, sociology, and nature lesson at the same time. We had new coconuts with a straw to suck the milk out, while walking on a beach to see where the turtle nest is – all you see is the flipper markings on the sand, showing the path of the turtle and where it stopped – interesting because apparently turtles haven’t used this beach previously.
Don with fresh coconut drink

Don with fresh coconut drink


Then Marshall showed us how to crack open the nut and get the fresh coconut meat out. I even managed to do it myself. There aren’t many beaches here, it’s a volcanic island on a coral shelf that is being pushed up out of the ocean at the rate of a centimeter a year. So the coral reef is rising as well. The beach is lovely and you can swim out a little way before reaching the edge of the reef and then the drop is immense! No swimming for us, the ocean is wild after the storms and wind that has been happening. We had a picnic on another beach – fruit salad, fresh shredded coconut, and banana muffins. Yum! After we returned to his house, we had a bit of a rest while Marshall made us a delicious supper. He’s a really good cook, only he gave Mani and I such large amounts we couldn’t finish it. He had also made mango ice cream custard for desert and I managed to eat all of it!!!

Posted by katdill 14:04 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

A Lagoon Cruise and Island Night

Thursday, January 31

Woke up to sunshine and a clear sky. And now the wind is down, the mosquitoes can come out to play! Don, Rob and Mani went to take the scooters back and get their Cook Islands drivers license. Then we were picked up and taken to the dock to join the cruise. We went in a little boat, luckily with a shade canopy, and an entertaining captain, Teking. It is his cruise business and he takes it seriously, but provides lots of humour throughout the day. There were two snorkeling stops before lunch and then a wonderful yellowfin tuna Bar-be-que with many different veggies and salads and fruits to eat.
Wonderful lunch

Wonderful lunch


Then a longer snorkeling opportunity and a visit to another island to walk about and swim if you wanted to. All in all, a great day on the water(except for the sunburn I got even tho I had 60SPF on!). Just a few little rain showers that hardly had any impact at all. Then home to clean up, pack up to leave tomorrow, and get ready for the “island night” we have booked just down the beach. We walked down to the Tamanu Resort for the buffet supper and dance show. It is a pretty classy place, a wonderful buffet with so many choices. They were going to have the dance outside, but it started to rain so they moved inside, which made it a little more cramped but still amazing. Very athletic with wonderful muscle control! Then we all moved outside for the fire dance (the rain had stopped for awhile).
Fire Dance

Fire Dance


That was also spectacular although not very different from what we had seen previously. We waited for a break in the rain and we walked home along the beach. Of course, it started raining while we were walking, my headlight didn’t seem very bright, and Don and I were in the lead and walked right past our place because it was so dark we couldn’t tell when we had made it! However, we didn’t go to far before Don realized we had to turn around and go back. By then, Rob and Mani had made it inside and turned the lights on so it was easier for us. A very full day!

Posted by katdill 14:00 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

Rain, rain go away

Wednesday, January 30

Very windy this morning, but not raining very much. Don went snorkeling and I went for a walk down the beach. Found a few interesting shells and coral. Very slow morning waiting for the rain and clouds to clear. After lunch Rob and Don went to hike up the mountain in the middle of the island. Not long after they left it started to rain a lot harder. By the time they got back they were soaked thru. It was like a hurricane for the rest of the day. It didn’t quit raining until sunset and it was still very high wind. So a very inactive day, lots of reading and playing computer games. We did book a lagoon cruise for tomorrow, weather permitting.

Posted by katdill 13:58 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

Touring Aitutaki

Tuesday, January 29

Rained all night and still raining in the morning when we got up. After a slow morning of reading and writing, we went next door to Buffy’s for lunch. Grilled tuna and an interesting salad – homegrown lettuce?, shredded carrots, and green mango pieces. Delicious! Then we went on the scooters to check out the opportunities for attending an “island night” while we are here. Riding on the back of a scooter is not my favorite mode of transportation – hard on the legs, due to the placement of the foot rests. But it does make a nice breeze to keep the bugs off. The weather has been so uncertain that lots of places have cancelled their island nights. Cyclone (hurricane) warnings, and lots of rain. This is the off season and there aren’t many tourists around. We did find somewhere in walking distance which is nice. We also found the fish market and bought a chunk of frozen tuna to have for supper. We also stopped at an organic veggie and fruit garden and visited with Angelo, the transplanted Italian, who lives with his wife there.
Angelo's Garden

Angelo's Garden


It was very interesting but the mosquitoes were driving me crazy. He brought out his homemade mosquito repellent, 1 part Dettol and 3 parts baby oil, and we put some on. It seemed to work, thank goodness. So we returned home with the storage containers of the scooters filled with food and made a great supper.

Posted by katdill 13:56 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

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