CR and KN Williams
Tue 1 Jun 2010 04:17
18.52S 159.48W   
Monday 31/5/10
Everyone, including Cath & Reece who got married here, says this place is wonderful and they're absolutely right. Weather a bit drizzly but that doesn't detract from the island itself.
Only blot is a disgusting cruise ship called the Paul Gauguin whose tender raced by at 20+ kts, 20m from us all morning while we were anchored outside the reef, and, when we finally came in at high tide, overtook us in a 10m channel with 5cm to spare. They don't even monitor ch 16 all the time. A stiff letter to the owners and IMO will follow as soon as I can get proper WiFi.
Today we went on a lagoon trip and C did lots of snorkelling (alone) plus a lovely lunch cooked by the guy's wife on a place called 'one foot' island. Our fellow lagooners said they made a film here 27 years ago! 'The Silent One'.
We now have yet another crap dinghy which deflates all the time and we still don't have a whiff of a new Navionics chart. I haven't broken anything today.
Coming in through the pass in the reef was quite exciting. We first investigated in the (only slightly) squishy squashy flippy floppy dinghy which was lucky as most of the markers had been blown away in the recent cyclone. We went wrong once and bumped some coral but once on shore the locals said we would be fine to come in at high tide. The passage was, at best, about 50 ft wide and the least depth we saw was 1.6 m (we draw 1.4m). We are now safely parked with a stern line ashore tied to a coconut tree. Keith declined to swim ashore with the rope in his teeth and went in the dinghy but had problems landing and ended up in the water up to his neck. From the safe distance of the boat I was having a private chuckle as I could imagine his language !
He got his own back by refusing to swim on the lagoon trip but the other people were very nice.
I waxed lyrical about French Polynesia but I think the Cook Islands are even better. The lagoon is stunning but sadly the island has been devastated by the cyclone .The wharf and market were destroyed and lots of houses. People are living in tents provided by the N.Z. Red Cross but are still lovely and helpful.