10 May 2013
We have quite enjoyed looking at the magnificent backdrop we have before us here in Avatiu: massive big mountain tops covered in dense trees. Makes you think that this is what NZ would have looked like before the sheep arrived. There are many similarities to NZ as the people who left Rarotonga settled in NZ hundreds of years ago. The language spoken here is the same as Maori, at least the two words we know are. We spend half the day working on the boat and the other half touring. It's definitely a tourist town and riding the bus is not the cultural experience you get on other Polynesian islands - it's all tourists. You can either go clockwise or counter-clockwise and before you know it, you've been all the way around the island. There are 3 or 4 mopeds for every person on the island so our boys are beside themselves with envy as they aren't old enough to drive. There is a reef ringing the island which creates a lagoon all the way around where the fish are in abundance. It reminds us of Barbados on the south coast. The kids ask us why everything reminds us of Barbados - funny.
We were wandering past a veterans cemetery when Riley noticed Tom Neale's grave. He lived on the tiny atoll of Suwarrow NW of here. He lived there a couple of times for many years, all by himself, and wrote a book about it (An Island to Oneself). What I found interesting is he looks a great deal like Charles James Neale, my grandfather. Sounds like a research job for Owen and Uncle Ted!
There are five metre seas coming our way so I'm ready to get going and Doug's digging in his heels. Not sure who is going to win. He bought his first case of beer yesterday so maybe I'll be able to convince him to let go the lines. The sailing tall ship Picton Castle is coming in so we have to move over. She sounds like she's a beauty. Just so Long Shot II isn't outdone, I'll have to get going on the varnish replacing all that ended up ripping off on the last passage!