Well thanks to our engine, and Drew’s willingness to motor instead of sitting still like a duck in water, we were able to arrive in Rarotonga in a little over a day. There were absolutely NO WINDS to aide in our journey here but of course southerly winds hit us head on early Tuesday morning. So instead of only having four more hours left to the trip we had barely 4 knots pushing us along and another two hours or so tacked onto the trip. Funny, as quickly as we can change our plans and add another island onto our list, the weather can change just as fast. You can follow all the weather charts you want but sometimes, oftentimes, out here you get some stuff you’re not expecting, and all you can do is adjust and push on. We did just that and pulled into Rarotonga, a.k.a. Raro, around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.
What did prove dead on was the anchorage here in Raro. Exactly as we had expected, we came in, dropped anchor, and then butt wedged Dosia into a spot. We are tied up to a concrete wharf and could literally reach out and high five our neighbors. Needless to say, there are fenders and lines EVERYWHERE! Two other boats have come in after us so right now there are ten, one of which is a 60+ foot massive catamaran. There isn’t much room left for any more boats and we’ve all got our fingers crossed that no northerly winds or swells come ripping through here or this harbor is likely to turn into a big mess of bumper boats. On a positive note, no outboard dinghy engines are necessary as you can just pull yourself back and forth from your boat to the wharf by all the lines from the boats.
Instantly once you pull in, your nose is tantalized by the gourmet burger joint across the street and the fish-n-chips hole in the wall off to the right of the harbor. We got Dosia settled, made sure she wasn’t going to be doing the two step with any of our neighbors, and set off to follow our noses to get something to eat. Within half a mile from the boat there are more restaurants than we could possibly eat at in the week we plan to be here, along with several grocery stores, and plenty of shopping. For Tuesday night we chose Trader Jacks, which appears to be a very popular bar and grill here on the island, large enough to possibly entertain the entire population of Aitutaki! Grilled wahoo, seafood pasta, calamari….scrumptious!
First thing yesterday we rented Junior, our new scooter, and were off to tackle the 32 km that makes up the coastal road around Raro. The largest island, and capital, of the Cooks, Raro is home to more than half the population that makes up this group of islands. Driving here will prove to be a bit more of a test with a lot more traffic than in Aitutaki so we’ll let Drew do most of it. The wharf offers a hot water shower to cruisers (for $10NZ w/a $20NZ deposit) so yesterday I was able to take a LONG shower and didn’t have to worry about turning the water off! So nice. We’ll be able to provision our fridge while here and restock the freezer with fresh chicken and beef and the best part…there is a small movie theater here so tomorrow night we’ll be able to check out the new Transformers movie! Heck yeah!