The dawn of the first day started with a leisure walk by the beach. Breakfast is served at 8. Buffet breakfast consists of fruits (water melon, papaya, banana and starfruit), bread toast, cereals, coffee, tea and papaya juice. Have to load up for the first activity of the day.
Kia Orana Cruises catered for the 7 Wonders of Paradise Aitutaki Lagoon cruise. The cruise includes visiting several islets, marine reserves and a sumptuous lunch. Sean, the van driver fetched us up at 9AM at the Paradise Cove Lodges. Two Swedish joined the trip to make it to 6. The speed boat is waiting at the dock where we met Andrew (aka Captain Fantastic), the boat captain, tour guide and chef all in one. And off we go to explore the islets of Aitutaki lagoon.
A black volcanic rock formation along the white beach complimented each other. There is a little sand bank which comes up at low tide. In the olden times, this is where the people with leprosy are exiled to protect the people of the mainland. This is one of the location shoot of Survivor.
A flock of white terns hover the whole island. As one goes inside amongst the trees, these birds perch on the branches and seemingly saying it’s their territory. At the other side of the islet is a cave which has been covered by rocks washed ashore. Andrew said that there are small cave formation at the bottom. This is another location shoot of Survivor. We just saw the front of the cave which has been covered by rocks. It’s a tiny cave where the entrance has been blocked already.
Sand Bank (Heaven Island)
A wide patch of white sand at the middle of the lagoon. The sand is very fine and powdery. From a close distance, you will be mesmerized. The moment you step on it, it’s heavenly. This is quite similar with the sand bank in Maldives.
One Foot Island (Tapuaetai)
This is where the Pacific Hideway is located. This beach house can be rented exclusively as this is the only accommodation on the island. But you have to bring something to cook when you arrive as nobody would cater you there.
The famous passport office is situated where one can have his passport stamped for souvenir. Nobody is in the island when we got there.
A small patch of vegetation where everyone is warned not to enter. Otherwise bee attack is imminent. At the other end is a long stretch of white sand and some coconut seedlings about to flourish. This is where we have seen several people already as other smaller boats has arrived. For the first 4 islets we visited, we were the first ones to arrive and we have the whole islets to ourselves. That’s one of the pitch for Kia Orana Tours, it brings its guests to islets when nobody is there yet.
Maina Island (where the BBQ is)
Where the rest of the boats go to have the barbecue lunch for their guests. Upon docking, Andrew advised us to go around the island and be back after 40 minutes. He is preparing and cooking the food while we are away. This is so far the best beach food we had. Grilled and smoked parrot fish with bread fruit, banana, loaves, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya as sides. The plate is exquisitely made of the woven coconut leaves and hibiscus leaf. Well done and thank you Andrew for the sumptuous lunch. This is the real island lunch, big, massive and full! And it is buffet!
Giant Clam Reserve and Corals
The last destination of the cruise is to go snorkeling in two locations. The marine reserve and the giant clam reserve. We spotted two manta rays mating as we are cruising towards the reserve.
Anchored at the marine reserve, these two giant trevally are teasing and playing with each other. Probably wanting to draw attention and be the star for the day. A shallow water at the middle and a sudden trench drop. The corals are formed like massive lumps dropped on the white sea bed. In contrast with the usual coral garden in other countries.
And the last stop is the giant clam reserve. These gigantic clams with different colors sit quietly at the bottom of the sea. Managed to dive down and touch several of them. These must have been hundred years old and really massive the size of a baby tub.
This is a 5-hour trip. Only at $125 per person including lunch. The lagoon cruise is worth the money. The beaches are pristine. The islets are stunning. The food is festively satisfying. The clams are massive. The other sea creatures are great. The pictures interspersed will show how beautiful the lagoon is. Watch the video and you’ll even appreciate it more.
And that was the ending of the islets hopping. We headed back to the main island at a different port where Sean is waiting. The Swedish were dropped off to their hotel. It so happens there is the second dairy opened just recently in their drop off point. So we asked Sean for a couple of minutes as we go panic buying for something to cook and eat in the resort. This way we can reduce the cost of buying lunch or dinner in the resto.
Arrived at the hotel at 4PM and there are still lots of time to kill. So we headed to the edge of the beach northward and had a quick nap. Then went for a swim and snorkel. The whole stretch of the lagoon are full of corals and sea life that you just have to bring your snorkel and mask. Or horseplay in the water.
We saved heaps of money for dinner as we cooked chicken adobo and rice. The girls are dying as they haven’t eaten rice yet for the day.
The Expediture for the Day