Holla! Ok so this is it...sorry but I just had to break it up into 2 posts.
So one question we've been getting asked a lot is, Why the Cook islands? Why did you decide to go there and how did you even find this place? The first thing is that it was a logistical decision. We wanted to go somewhere this summer and since we were leaving the girls with my brother and sister in law in California we needed to go somewhere that would be quick and accessible from the west coast. Next is the fact that ever since I spent a year of college in Hawaii (at BYU-Hawaii, yes they have one there!) I have always loved the island life and have been dying to go to the South Pacific ever since. So we started researching and looking at travel packages and accommodations and the Cook islands just kept coming up. I think I was even more open to them because I had a roommate in college who got engaged there. (I know!) I still remember her pictures and thought it was an amazing place. Additionally, we actually have a brother in law who is a Cook Islander. He wasn't born there, but his mom was and as per the Cook Island law their family has some land there...yes we have plans to pressure him into building a family getaway. Brilliant right?
I loved kayaking. Getting far enough away from the island to see it from a distance, in all it's majestic glory, was always a treat.
One of the tours we almost passed up, ended up being one of my very favorite things we did. A glass bottom boat, snorkeling, an amazing lunch, then a very detailed coconut explanation/demonstration.
My above average attractive husband was pulled up to demonstrate how to tie pareos for men. And then he was invited to do a warrior dance. He owned it. Obviously.
Now this manly man (who just happens to be wearing a grass skirt) wasn't just any coconut demonstrator. He is the reigning coconut tree climbing champion of all of Polynesia. I'm not joking. He climbed up and down these bad boys with ease. The actual championship is for the person who can climb to the top, touch the coconut and be back at the bottom the fastest. I don't know his official championship time, but he did it in 7 seconds for us. Snap.
Dinner at this tree house type restaurant above, while watching the sunset progression below.
Our hike with Pa. So much could be said but here are the facts. Pa is 72 years old and has 12 kids. He hikes barefoot. Our hike was his 4,113th hike across the island. This was a surprisingly challenging hike that took about 4 hours. Pa shook everyone's hand in our group that morning and asked everyone's name...at which point he knew everyone's name accurately the rest of the day (about 25 people). The only person who Pa stopped to comment about when shaking hands was my husband. He shook B's hand, then grabbed with both hands and proclaimed, you've got good hands...healing hands...you work in the medical profession. It wasn't a question. Everyone was stunned to learn Pa was right.
That orange flower is only found in the mountains of Rarotonga. I love that.
easily my favorite sign in all of Rarotonga
(in my hot pink reef shoes.)
Believe me when I say I had to seriously edit down the photos, there is still so much I could show and say. That being said I'm sure you're bored to tears of our virtual vacation slides.
Thanks for humoring me!