Day 2 – Christmas Day
The second in a series of posts about our recent trip to the Cook Islands. Read the first post here.
We woke bright and early – no alarm required. Before I even opened my eyes properly I went out onto the deck and breathed the fresh sea air. There was quite a breeze – the trade winds. After a cup of tea in bed I decided to go for a run. I walked as my Garmin found the satellites – taking 5 minutes to do so – then jogged by the side of the road with the lagoon on my right. This being Christmas Day there was hardly anyone about.
I saw lots of different flowering plants as I went, as well as a jackfruit tree with huge fruit, a goat, a chicken with chicks, dogs, some birds – terns I think – and a few people. Families seems to be out in their gardens starting a smoky barbecue or just sitting around chatting. I got as far as Chantal’s Concierge, about 1.7 miles from home then turned around. I got a “Merry Christmas” from the guy putting the big flags outside the Maire Nui Gardens & Café.
After a hearty homemade breakfast of cereal and egg on toast and a giant pot of coffee, I sat down and wrote the post about our first day. I texted home in the UK to wish people merry Christmas, and got reports back that the weather was dark and stormy. Those same people were not impressed with my description of Raratonga’s weather!
At 1pm we headed up the road to the Nautilus resort for Christmas lunch. Parking was an issue but because we had a small car we squeezed into a not-quite-a-space and went inside. This was definitely a step up from Crown and the buffet was good, with some seafood options and some excellent ham, the date cake with custard was delicious and the Christmas crackers on the table were a nice touch. The view over the pool to the lagoon was spectacular (for a change).
Once home we donned the snorkel gear, determined to go further out into the lagoon than before. The tide was going out so we managed to get pretty far and we found the coral and fish were much more varied here as the rocks were more abundant. I can report, since we consulted the poster of fishes at Crown the day before, that we saw Convict Surgeonfish, Orangespine Unicornfish and Threadfin butterflyfish and a Moorish idol, among others, as well as another blue starfish and a giant clam. After about 45 minutes we’d had enough so we drifted back to shore.
We spent the afternoon lounging around then improvised dinner at home. Just before sunset we headed along the beach for a walk. As the sun approached the horizon we paused to watch it go down. Someone nearby was blaring “Hotel California” from speakers, and someone else was flying a drone around.
The sun hardly deviated from a sphere as it approached the horizon, making it strangely easy to visualize as a giant ball of burning gas at the center of the solar system. The conditions were perfect for the possibility of a green flash as there was no cloud on the horizon. Sure enough, we both saw it – our first. Jonathon saw it for long enough to take off his sunglasses for a better look. To me it looked like the last drop of sun turned into a green jewel for just a moment.
That night, I took the camera out for some star photography, and got 5-6 shots in before the mosquitoes found me and I had to beat a retreat.