34. Rarotonga, Cook Islands to AITUTAKI ISLAND,NCAI - 26.1.2009 - 142 NM - 1:10

Round the World Flight with HB-PON 2008/09
Rolf Martin FRIEDEN & Manfred Melloh
Wed 28 Jan 2009 19:42

34. Rarotonga, Cook Islands to AITUTAKI ISLAND,NCAI - 26.1.2009 - 142 NM - 1:10


18:49.8S 159:46.0W

After a few unplanned additional days waiting for the torrential rain to stop,
we took off yesterday from Rarotonga at 09:30 in good weather heading
due north, 220 Kilometers.

It was an easy 1hour and 10 minute flight over open blue water at the
assigned altitude of 6'000 feet, above the occasional cumulus clouds.

As we descended for approach to land, we saw this:

Aitutaki has to be one of the most beautiful sights in the Pacific.


This southern paradise is made up of a triangular- shaped reef, encompassing
an aqua lagoon in which three volcanic- and twelve coral islands nestle.

The breathtaking allure of its crystal clear turquoise waters and sparkling
white beaches was for us overwhelming, as we got closer and closer.

After landing, we had a very friendly welcome by the local airport staff and
a few minutes later, Munro Hockins landed with Raratonga Airway's
Saab 340 (ex Crossair).

Before returning with a new load of passengers, Murno gave us some valuable
instructions on how to leave tomorrow for our flight to French Polynesia.

We were recommended to stay at the Paradise Cove Lodge, a very nice
small resort , with small thatched bungalows, not far from the airport, right
on the beach.

Later we discovered the island with a rented car until lunch and then swimming
in the lagoon, right in front of our cottage was on the agenda.

Aitutaki Airport

The Aitutaki Airport was built during World War II by the American troops that
were stationed here on Aitutaki.

Aitutaki was used as a military stop over for the American Bombers for refueling and supply storage.


Due to the central location of Aitutaki, the Americans decided to build the two way
airstrip back in 1941.
At the end of the World War II the two way airstrip was still used by the Hercules
carriers from time to time.

Today the local airline, Air Rarotonga uses the airstrip for domestic flights.



Tomorrow, if we finally obtain our landing permission from Tahiti which we
requested some days ago will come through, our flight of approximately fours hours