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Rarotonga is a full three degrees south of French Polynesia and those three degrees mean lower temperatures and much less humidity. Alaskans do not scoff at that difference! Rarotonga is also beautiful: as rugged as Moorea, lush in vegetation, and alive with the vibrant communities of Polynesia and New Zealand. It's a "G'day" kind of place with everyone speaking the lovely New Zealand lilt.
As is common in volcanic islands, the island is high, with a rugged ring of ridges around what was once a huge caldera. Now, that rim of rugged basalt is covered in heavy and verdant vegetation, with palms rising in small clumps here and there. It's magnificent, and seen from a few miles out, in the light of early morning, it's spectacular.
As we mentioned, there was a lovely French patisserie near our dock in Uturoa and this exquisite loaf of Louvain baguette is a small sample of the family-owned shop. It tasted as good as it looked. The French government subsidizes every single loaf in French Polynesia!
On our journey to Raro, we had some rough weather and were forced to stay awake for much longer hours that we're used to. Conni was sleeping under the stern US flag to keep warm and had her hat pulled over her face against the sun. She's clipped in with her harness: boat rules. Great photo of a tired sailor!
Rarotonga at 10 miles as we arrived in the evening. We stayed out the 10 miles, just drifting, so that we could get some rest. Lovely island, isn't it?
To celebrate our entry into Rarotonga, we had some Hinano beer after the Immigration and Customs officers departed.
This is a real 1960s-era island freighter. She's even got working masts! She was built for the island trade and has been derelict for several years. On our arrival, she was made to move by the harbor master to make room for us. Amazingly, they were able to get her moving with this tiny skiff. The odd triangle on the pole at left is part of the "range light" system for allowing incoming vessels to follow a clear path into the harbor.
Wings in Mediterranean Mooring, (AKA Med Mooring), at the quay in Rarotonga. They LOVE the huge Cook Islands flag! We made friends with the crew aboard the catamaran.
The local Catholic Church has one heckava view.
Sorry for a trash photo, but it's the Amazon Prime box that got my attention. Really? I guess free shipping is a big deal here.
Truth in advertising.
BlueSky is the local Wifi provider and the dish must be part of their setup. It's pretty good Wifi, actually.
Hibiscus growing in the large median is so beautiful.
I mentioned in the blog that CITC (Cook Island Trading Company) market had a lot of imported New Zealand food, and here's a row of Vegemite.
Cook Islands Trading Company (CITC) is the largest chain in the country and does big business. You would all be right at home in the huge number of choices and modern arrangement of things.
In our efforts to track some electronic problems, Conni was helping by trying to determine if some instrument lights were working. She covered her head with a towel and pulled her hat down: too funny! A woman at work.
Yep, good tag and statement.
I mentioned in the blog that there were some exposed vertical cliffs that were part of the original caldera walls Here's a portion of them, seen from town.
A poinsettia TREE! Surprised the heck out of me.
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