Thursday, 31 July 2014

Cook Islands reminiscing...

Hey everyone!

Today we’re going back in time… (cue dramatic time travel music)
At the end of November 2013, my mum and I went on a fantastic adventure to the Cook Islands.
For those of you who don’t know, it is an island country made up of 15 islands in the Pacific Ocean - around four hours in a plane from New Zealand.
Map credit:
The island with the largest population, Rarotonga, is also home to a big annual waka paddling festival called “Vaka Eiva”. My mum is an enthusiastic and talented waka paddler, so naturally she wanted to attend this festival with her crew. Lucky for me, I scored a holiday out of it!

When I arrived in Rarotonga my mum had already been there for a week competing, so we only spent another four days on the island. We then jetted off to a nearby island called Aitutaki, which turned out to be even more of a paradise than Rarotonga was! (Most of the photos in this blog post are taken in Aitutaki.)

Our days were spent riding around the islands on a small scooter – “do as the locals do” and all that. In the Saturday market in Rarotonga, we found amazing freshly made fruit juice, young girls and boys performing a traditional dance and endless stalls selling shell jewellery.

While on the island of Aitutaki, mum competed in a more relaxed, fun race called “Motu2Motu”. I was fortunate enough to go out with the wakas on the spectator boat to follow the race – it was such a cool experience.
The tropical fruit on the islands was ridiculously delicious, especially the passion fruit. So large and flavoursome – ahhhh, take me back to that passion fruit!

When passing back through Rarotonga on our way home, mum got a new tattoo. It is a traditional Pacific island style design, with many meanings and significant things incorporated. The tattooist is basically the “grandfather” of the art on the island – the other tattooists on the island all learnt from him. His method is different to what mum or I had experienced before, and it turned out to be a very spiritual and interesting experience. 

He will only tattoo a person if he feels a connection to them and can picture what they want. He designs the tattoo as he goes – no pre-drawings or anything! Mum basically told him her ideas for the tattoo, what it meant to her and where she wanted it. He then drew a super rough outline on her arm, went at it with the tattoo gun and 2 ½ hours later, he was finished.
Mum was super pleased with the final product and I’d have to agree - I think it’s beautiful!

Another activity Mum and I did was in Aitutaki was a snorkelling day-trip. It consisted of three spots – the first amongst a shipwreck, the second amongst giant clams and the last with purple and blue coral. The underwater world is truly spectacular. Being under the water with all of the marine life makes you forget about everything else – so relaxing.

So as you can see, it was an absolutely incredible holiday - the Cook Islands are a truly special place. In New Zealand everyone knows the Cook Islands but here in Europe, if I mention them or Rarotonga, people’s eyes glaze over and they give me a blank look as they slowly nod their heads. I wanted to make this post to enlighten more people of their beauty and 10/10 holiday-worthiness. It’s also a very romantic place if you want that kind of holiday – unfortunately not so much when you go with your mother (love you mum).

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

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