Snorkeling in the Cook Islands was by far the most amazing experience of the entire trip. If you go snorkeling or diving off the coast of Southern California, you will see luscious kelp forests and lots of marine life. The marine life in the Cook Islands was definitely different from the marine life seen off of our coast.
This beautiful view was near the Boat Shed restaurant in Aitutaki.
I want to go into the Marine Ecology field, so being able to see all of the colorful fish, coral, and invertebrates was a dream come true. We were able to snorkel with giant trevally, schools of tropical fish, moray eels, and so many more.
The beautiful green chromis hiding in the coral during one of our snorkels.
Our professors definitely did an awesome job at selecting the students that were able to go. We had some of the best people on this trip, and I know that I made some lifelong friends that I hope feel the same. We worked so well as a team and we were able to get so much work done in our short amount of time there in the Cooks. The memories that I made from this trip will last a lifetime, and for that, I am so thankful.
I will definitely miss being able to just walk out to rhe lagoon and snorkel and see this everyday.
What a beautiful start to our “rest day.” After a little bit of sleeping in on my part while a handful of others went to church service, we got up and got ready for our hike on the Maunga Pu Summit trail.
It was a steep hike up, but the views were spectacular! We were able to see a 360 degree view of the entire island and the surrounding motus.
After our hike, we drove over to the Koru Cafe for a quick snack and rest before heading back to our motel to do more science! We will be doing some trash pick up later this evening.
Never in my life have I been in such a beautiful place. I am so blessed to have been chosen to be here. We’ve snorkeled in beautiful clear waters and been so welcomed by the locals.
Our lagoon cruise yesterday in Rarotonga was so much fun. Hearing the music and seeing the culture here is fantastic. We have seen so many awesome fish species and had many laughs.
Today, we arrived in Aitutaki and will set off to snorkel and see more of the island soon. More to come!
What am I not looking forward to?! This is the trip of a lifetime. I want do something involving Marine Biology after school so getting to go to the beautiful islands will be amazing! I’m looking forward most to snorkeling and seeing the marine life there in the lagoon and reefs. I’m super curious about the cultural aspect because I don’t know much about the culture of the Cook Islands. I have traveled outside of the US including a diving trip to St. Lucia in the Caribbean, but this will be such a different experience that I cannot wait for.
I just finished my first year here at CI and just a couple of months ago I chose to double major in ESRM and Biology. I just feel so blessed to have this opportunity to get to go to the Cook Islands. I know a handful of the people going and I’m also going with my best friend so it will definitely be an amazing experience. I can’t wait to come home with a million pictures and lots of memories.
My topic was involving the coral in the Cooks. I was honestly surprised to see as many articles come up as I did. One article had divers focus on the West and North side of Rarotonga which is supposed to be the most diverse site of the island with its coral and fish populations. There are many natural challenges as the reefs are explored. With any little change in the ocean’s chemistry, the risk of damage to the coral increases because of how sensitive the corals are. The first time that coral bleaching was reported in the Cook Islands was during and after the El Nino event in 1982-1983. It has been found that higher water temperature has been the main factor leading to the death of the coral.
Fun fact: 13,095 people live on Rarotonga, making it the most densely populated island of all 15 of the island chain.