Cook Islands


Day 11

Kite Surfing and Party Bus

I’m quite positive my kite surfing lesson today was booked for 12 but I received a phone call in the morning where they told me they were expecting me to be there at 9! After a little confusion they booked me in for later in the day and it all worked out well.

Now that I had my times sorted, I headed into Avarua to make a stop by Rehab, the local night club. I decided to take the plunge and get a ticket for the partybus. The guy was pretty funny, he said you can’t bring alcohol on the bus, but seemed ok with people mixing alcohol into a bottle of soft drink and sneaking it on! He got my accommodation details and arranged for the bus to pick me up at 8:45pm. He said I won’t miss it, a giant light up bus with really loud music!

With my ticket in hand I continued around the island to Muri. I still had a bit of time before my lesson and hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I went to LBV (the local bakery that was pretty popular). I ordered fruit and muesli with a fruit smoothie. The fruit here is so nice and fresh!

After breakfast I headed down to the beach to find someone from KiteSUP. After a brief introduction, I got changed into a wet suit and put on the harness.

Malin was my instructor today, she taught me how to setup the kite, including how to inflate it, setup up the lines and hold the handle. I had to make sure the red handle was always on the left and the blue on the right to not get confused when we were out on the water.

The first lesson was all about safety. The kites have three levels of safety precautions built in. If something goes wrong, such as getting too much power from the kite and being unable to control it, the first this to do it to let go of the handle. This should release the power to the kite and it should basically fall out of the sky. If that’s not enough, the next step is to pull the safety release on the harness and as a last resort there is one final release on the “leash”, however this completely released the kite which will make it harder to retrieve, but if the lines were pulling you under the water after being caught on a boat engine, this will save you!

We then went through what makes for good weather conditions. The things to look for is an inward wind (towards the shore) of > 15 knows or so, flat water, clear of others and also not hiding behind a “wind shadow” created by nearby islands, etc.

After that we went through the “wind window” which is a way of referencing the position of the kite in the air and explaining where it needs to be to get power, turn, etc. With all this new knowledge I was ready to go out into the lagoon to do my assisted launch!

First I helped launch the kite for Malin, then she helped me launch the kite. I was shown how to move the kite to the sides of the wind window (down to 10 and 2) and control it with one hand. Then I started walking through the water with the kite in one hard and then body dragging upwind by tacking and finally going downwind by doing “violent” figure 8s to get power out of the kite.

Marlin said I picked up the kite control pretty fast, but I did struggle with the last part. Wherever I got a bit of power going, I would lose control a bit and either get out of rhythm or crash the kite, but other than that I think I did ok considering I’ve never done anything like this before.

I booked in for another lesson tomorrow at 12, hopefully I’m not too tired after the party bus pub crawl which finishes up around 2am!

After the lesson I was pretty hungry so I went deli-licious, which is next to KiteSUP, just opposite LBV and had a salmon bagel, not sure if it was just because I was so hungry, but it was really good!

I also got a chilled nu (coconut) to go with it and when I was done they broke it open for me to scoop the meat out. I only ate a little bit of the meat so I took the rest home for a snack.

The cafes around here always have interesting tokens for you to hold until your food arrives. In Melbourne it’s normally just a number, but here I’ve seen different types of colored rocks and a variety of different toys! That’s what the deer toy is in that photo in case you’re wondering!

I had another quick look around for a spray jacket but no luck, so then headed home to have a shower and prepare for a big night of partying!

The bus was meant to arrive at 8:45pm, so I waited out the front in the rain, it arrived at about 9pm. When it did, the guy at rehab was right, it was pretty hard to miss. Bright lights, loud music and no windows, with a bunch of drunk people hanging out of it dancing and singing!

The first two hours where spent going to the popular bars around the Avarua area including Aviana’s, Hula Bar, Heidi’s and one more that I can’t remember the name of before going to Rehab for the last few hours. Rehab is the islands main nightclub and is open until 2am. It was a pub crawl bus, so even though we were only at some of the bars for about 15 minutes, I had a beer at each one and even got in a tequila shot and danced for the majority of the time! The bus would let us out and then do a really loud whistle to call us back to go to the next place.

I met some pretty cool people, one guy was looking to move from Rarotonga to Melbourne permanently and I met a couple of guys running their own IT businesses, one making apps and another running an ISP and I also bumped into my kite surfing instructor and one of the girls from the KiteSUP shop, Maria. I even saw the first girl I met at Muri beach too, Kelly, but she snobbed me off, I guess she didn’t want me cramping her style!

While I was talking to Maria from KiteSUP, I heard someone saying we need to get back to the bus, but I couldn’t hear the whistle. I saw the group getting a photo taken, so I continued chatting. After a minute or two I thought I’d check for people with wristbands from the party bus and I saw a couple going out the front, so I joined in with them and asked if they were on there party bus, they said yes and asked me which one I’m on. That’s when I realised their bands where a different color to mine and their tour guide said my bus had already gone!

He was kind enough to squeeze me on to his bus as they went to their next destination, but he said the buses don’t always go to the same places. When we got there, I saw the bus I came on and the guy pointed me in the right direction! I thanked him and eventually joined back in with my group!

It got to about 12:45 and I was tired and the back of my ankles were killing me. I’m not sure if they got cut from the kite surfing today or from all the dancing or from having sand in there for so long, but every step I took became more painful so I decided to leave a bit early. The bus would have taken me home at 2am and I had already paid for it but I decided to take a taxi instead. It was going to cost me $30 to get home, which was a bit expensive, but I ended up sharing it with a bunch of other people including one girl who had way too much to drink and could barely stand!

In the end the cab still charged us too much, he asked everyone for $10 and there were quite a few of us, but it’s better than the $30 I was originally going to pay!

It was a pretty big night and I was exhausted, but it was pretty fun. I’d never done anything like that by myself and I think it would have been better with friends, but I’m glad I did it.