One thing I wish I got the chance to do more of was snorkeling while we were in Rarotonga. The lagoon tour that we did was really quite amazing. The water was light blue and unbelievably clear; it is the kind of water I never thought I would see in person let alone snorkel in. The creatures in the water were another amazing site to see. I feel like I saw more fish during this snorkeling session than I have in my whole twenty-three years leading up to this trip. In addition, I saw a small eel that traveled from one rock to another, as well as Roger (a giant moray eel). I could not believe how huge Roger looked when a crew member from the lagoon tour pulled the eel out and up from his hiding spot in the rocks! Another thing I recall seeing was the coral garden in the lagoon. This is where a metal grate/structure is placed on the sea floor and pieces of coral are attached to the top and grow with less space restrictions than on the coral reef itself. It was really cool to be able to see a protective environmental measure that I have learned about in school while I was out in the lagoon; I was glad to see that the locals put forth those efforts and were educating other people and tourists about what they are doing to enhance their coral reefs.
Another day of poor Internet connectivity but great goings on!
We started today with an island cruise off of Muri Beach where we got to see some giant Tridacna maxima inside protective cages. Individuals were brought over from Aitutaki (and they were not native there, but that’s a story…). The cages are more of a demonstration of what is possible. In fact we actually got to see a predated clam thanks to a hungry octopus who got into the cage. We finished up with lunch and a demonstration of coconut tree climbing by the world champion coconut tree climber, were instructed how to husk and open coconuts, how to properly tie a sarong, etc.
We then headed over to TIS’s new Marine Park Visitor Center and got the update on the efforts to implement their Marine Park vision.
After some tasty dinner from outside the National Amphitheater, we are headed in to see the second night of the 50th Anniversary Independence Day dance and song celebration.
(We will post pictures when connectivity is better).