Cook Islands


Day 10

Buggy Ride, Kayaking and Games

I was woken up sometime between 1:30am and 2:30am this morning by someone shouting at the top of their lungs. It turns out there were some partbus goers making some noise, which I didn’t actually hear but one of the other guests at the hotel was screaming to tell them to quiet down and ironically that’s what woke me up!

Today I had a buggy tour booked, so I rode the scooter over to Muri beach.
Not sure if it was because of having a broken sleep or not, but when I arrived I realised I left the voucher back at the hotel. The voucher was my proof of purchase because Rangi had paid for tour and the cost was going on my accommodation bill. I was able to come to an agreement with the tour people that I could still join in on the tour and then afterwards I would go to the hotel, get the voucher and then back to the tour place to give it to them. This was essentially a lap of the island, but it had to be done.

We had our safety briefing and then instructions on how to drive the buggy. We drove them into town and our long, loud convoy was turning a lot of heads. The first stop on the tour was a coconut oil facility. They showed us how to open coconuts and extract the oil which they use to make skin products, cooking oils and similar products.

We jumped back in to our buggies and hit the back roads. These roads were muddy and had big puddles everywhere. Our buggies started to slide around a little here and there and we got covered in mud.

One of the guys took a wrong turn and because we could only really see the person in front of us, a big part of our convoy ended up going the wrong way which led us down some roads that were so flooded that it was more like a small river! Eventually our guides ended up halting the convey and got us to turn around and backtrack.

The next stop was the waterfall. Apparently the waterfall had been dry for about 5 months, but due to the amount of rain recently the waterfall was flowing nicely! There were a lot of mosquitos around!

Next stop was the abandoned Sheridan hotel. Apparently there were two offers to build casinos, but they were rejected, the third offer was a big hotel by some Italian guy. Turns out he wasn’t from the Sheridan and had mafia connections, he was actually using it for money laundering. It was practically complete with furniture and everything, just needed staff to run it, but they extradited the man and in the mean time there was no one running it so the locals took everything from inside and it was abandoned.
It was really muddy through there, but apart from the buggy track and a laser tag place, the hotel was supposed to be closed to the public!

Next stop was a driving range, we each had 6 shots and if we got a hole in one our ticket price would be refunded. Apparently this happened around 10 times in the last few months, but no one from our group was able to get it.
While we were golfing, they hosed down our buggies and then we gave our lunch order to our guide and he used his walkie talkie to place our orders at the Mooring Fish Cafe. We drove our buggies down there and the food was really nice! This was another place I had read about during my research. After lunch we headed back to the hotel where we started and ended the tour there.

There were dark clouds lingering over the mountain, so I thought I’d go back to the hotel to get that voucher while I still could, even though I was covered in mud! About half way there it started raining. I got to the hotel, grabbed the voucher and headed straight back, by the time I reached Muri again the weather was clear. Not sure if it was only raining on that side of the island or if the weather has just changed so frequently. There were still dark clouds over the mountain so it was hard to tell. I dropped off the voucher and headed to the beach to wash all the mud off. Once I was somewhat clean, I drove around to KiteSUP to check the weather for tomorrows kite surfing lesson and they said it should be around 20 knots, which is good for kite surfing!

Even though the dark clouds where still over the mountain, I thought I’d try my luck and I hired a kayak from Captain Tama’s. It cost $15 and I wanted to see what the protective reef was like so I started the trek over there. As I got closer, I saw some people standing on what looked like rocks with huge waves crashing in front of them.
The protective reef is made up of a big rock wall that literally borders with the ocean. I didn’t get too close in fear that my kayak would get caught on the rocks and headed back around to the small island where we went for Captain Tama’s Lagoon tour. By the time I had made it there I was pretty tired and pulled up on the sand bar. There was a girl relaxing on the sand bar so I stopped for a chat. Her name was Sarah and she was from Germany. Sarah was here on holiday after finishing her master’s in psychology. After a nice chat, I headed back to shore and returned my kayak.

It was about 4:30 by this stage and the night market was going to start at 5:00, so I went to get some fuel for the scooter and waited around the market for all the stalls to set up.
I wanted to try Ika Mata, which is raw fish in coconut cream and they had it at the market for $6. It wasn’t enough for a full meal, but I thought this time I could have a bunch of smaller dishes instead of one big one, so I bought that, some kebab skewers (the most popular thing at the market) and some fried rice.
The Ika Mata was delicious and the kebabs and rice was really nice too. They put mushroom sauce over the kebabs and rice, mushroom sauce is everywhere here! I also got another coconut drink from the same place as last time, but this time instead of banana, he mixed passion fruit, which was also really nice!

While I was eating I got taking to an engineering student from the US who was here doing her scuba diving licence certification. She was new to the island so I told her about some of the things I had done here that I enjoyed. One of those things was riding around the island on the scooter, but she wasn’t keen on that and had been taking the bus everywhere. After we had finished eating, I gave her a lift back to her hotel and headed home.

When I got back, I dumped my stuff in the doorway and went over to the outdoor tap to wash all the sand off my shoes and got speaking to my neighbors again who were eating at the gazebo area. They had cooked a big serving of freshly caught fish and actually looked for me to offer me some, which was very nice of them! They were about to play cards and invited me to join in, so I grabbed a beer and ended up playing a game called “up and down the river” with them until about 11:00pm.

After that I went inside to have shower and prepare for another early morning ride out to Muri tomorrow for my first kite surfing lesson!