As Rarotonga appeared in the early morning light during our approach on Tuesday, I was surprised how rugged the terrain looked. The mountains were higher than expected with sheer cliffs, and some giant spires on them. And, since they are in the tropics, they are covered with vegetation in many places.
The view of the mountains from the harbor is beautiful. To me, there are few places better than a spot with beautiful mountain views and ocean views at the same time!
On Wednesday, we rented a motor scooter for NZ$100 for a week. Very economical. Karen and I did a circumnavigation of the island – which is about 32 km in circumference. Like Aitutaki, Rarotonga is mostly surrounded by a reef. The reef appears much smaller in the satellite photos of Google Earth, but it is somewhat deceiving because the island is quite a bit larger than the island at Aitutaki. We found some larger areas of the reef that definitely reminded us of Aitutaki. The island vegetation appears more lush on the southern part of the island.
The humpback whales are apparently in abundance north of the island right now. We have seen a couple going by the harbor north of us, but just spouting some spray. No breeches yet. We hope we’ll get a better look during our stay here.
Today we plan to do a hike over the mountains. I purchased some Internet from the local telecom company. But, the WIFI antenna at the harbor has not been working. So, I’ve had to take the scooter a couple of kms away to pick up another hotspot. The connection at least seems pretty fast when we’re connected.