Cook Islands


Day 5

Avarua Market and SUP at Muri

I woke up early to be at the police station at 8:30am to re-sit my motocycle test and this time I passed! Woohoo!
The practical test was next and gets you to go around cones, but they are quite close together which means you have to go fairly slow and you’re not allowed to put your feet on the ground.
My first run I almost got through without using my feet, but the second last cone I did put my foot down just briefly, so he got me to do it again.
I also put my foot down on the second run too, but it was really early on, before the slalom, which I ended up getting through ok this time around. While technically he could have failed me, he gave me a pass mark.

In the end I paid $5x2 for the written test, $5 for the practical test and $20 for the licence, but I was good to go! From there I went to the avarua market to get some food.

For brunch I got a marinated chicken plate that came with potato salad and veges with a home made passion fruit, mango, coconut and guava juice.

While I was eating I got chatting with an Aussie guy who works out in the mines and I’m pretty sure I saw the old guy, Brian, from the tourism ad as well!

I spoke to a kite surfing company that had a stall at the market about doing some lessons, it actually sounds fairly hard (normally around 15 hours to get good) but the intro course sounds easy enough as there is no board involved, just body dragging. I thought even if I can’t actually get up and riding, an intro lesson where I just learn how to control the kite would still be fun and interesting, but I thought I’d go away and think about it.

I went for a ride around the rest of the island and finally did a full lap! The full ride didn’t take too long and it was really enjoyable. Along the way I stopped at Muri beach to see what the wind conditions were like and it was dead flat. Not great for kite surfing, but great for trying out Stand Up Paddleboarding!

With weather this calm, I decided I wanted to try it but I didn’t have any beach gear, so I continued riding towards the hotel, got changed, grabbed a towel and went back to Muri.

Walking down the beach, I saw a shop called “Captain Tama’s” that were advertising lagoon tours, equipment hire and a bunch of other stuff. Hiring a SUP cost $20 for an hour and chatting with the guy it sounded like it was pretty easy to get started. He drew a quick diagram to show that there is a handle in the middle of the board and explained that I should start with my knees on either side of that handle because that is the middle of the board.
Once I had my balance on my knees, put one leg up and keep paddling, then once I was comfortable there, attempt to fully stand up.

Kneeling was easy and pretty fun, putting one knee up wasn’t too bad, just had to keep my body weight centered and evenly dispersed, but then standing was a little more challenging. My legs were really shakey at first and I kept over compensating with my balance, but then after a little while I started to get the feel for it and the shaking slowed down.
About 10 minutes in I was doing ok upright, but a gust of wind would bring the shakes back! By the end I did fairly well, I could stand-up even with some wind, but a strong head wind still made me shakey.
I alternated between standing and kneeling as I needed (standing to practice balance, kneeling for more speed and control) and I even laid down on my back for a while and stared up into the blue sky, very relaxing!

My hour was about up so I headed back to shore, dropped off the paddleboard and went for a walk down the beach. Muri is a really nice beach, but the main reason I chose here instead of the beach near the hotel was because this beach has the largest lagoon on the island and is a much more popular. There are lots of shops, restaurants, etc.

The weather was so nice that I wasn’t ready to leave just yet so I went for a walk along the beach. I eventually stopped and had a lay down in the shade, there were the traditional island drums playing in the background from a near by sandbar and I got taking to a girl from New Zealand named Kelly. We had a bit of a chat and eventually some dark clouds started drifting in so we headed off.
By the time I got to my scooter it had started lightly raining, I was a bit hungry so I got a late lunch at the very popular Sails restaurant right on the beach.

After lunch I headed back to the hotel, had a shower and relaxed for a bit. As it was getting later, I went out to get some food but I really left it too late, so I just got some supplies from the nearby convenience store and went back home.