33. RAROTONGA (COOK ISLANDS), NCRG - 22/26.1.2009 - 814 NM - 5:56h

Round the World Flight with HB-PON 2008/09
Rolf Martin FRIEDEN & Manfred Melloh
Sun 25 Jan 2009 04:14

33. RAROTONGA (COOK ISLANDS), NCRG - 22/26.1.2009 - 814 NM - 5:56h


"21:11.8S 159:47.9W"

The flight from Vava'U in the north of the Tonga Chain of islands via
Niue Island, about two hours away in the direction of Rarotonga was
in relatively good weather, cruising at 10'000 feet eastwards across
the international dateline.

All of a sudden, it was no more the 22nd of January 2009, but one
day earlier, the 21st of January 2009.

Repeating this a few days, we might get younger and younger......

Passing Niue Island, the sight was clear, except some broken cloud
patches, and we took some video footage and photos of this really
remote place in the middle of nowhere in the South Pacific.


Niue, a independent country of its own

Moving on east, in the direction of Rarotonga, the weather got
increasingly difficult and we had to circumnavigate quite a few CB's
and high cloud layers to stay out of the mess at 12'000 feet.


We arrived at Rarotonga, a really small needle in this haystack in the
middle of the Pacific basically as planned, but the approach was
again in heavy rain, and we broke out of clouds only on short final to
runway 08 at 150 feet AGL.

Summer here and lots of rain and occasional Cyclones, not the ideal
period to buzz around VFR in this part of the globe!

After shutting down the engine in front of the International terminal
building, we were greeted by Murno Hocking the executive director
of Air Rarotonga and his son Cambel.

All administrative formalities were taken care of in a short time with
the help of our two hosts.

Thanks a million you guys for your precious help and the beers.

Presently we prefer to stay on the island, as the weather conditions are
less than favorable due to a tropical depression (El Niño) in this region, with
lots of heavy rain, high wind and low visibility.
The weather should improve a bit by Monday, and we will then be moving on north to
the island of Aitutaki, apparently one of the nicest places in the Pacific.


>From there, our next leg will lead us to Papeete in Tahiti, French Polynesia.

Stay tuned.