01 June 2008 | Rarotonga
The good news is that our replacement radar head arrived on Friday and is installed and working fine. Radar helps us mostly at night and is pretty good at identifying rain squalls in addition to other boats and islands; very comforting when it is REALLY dark. The spare alternator is somewhere in transit, and Fedex isn't willing to say where or when; pretty frustrating when there are three flights a day from Auckland (where it was shipped from) and here. Nonetheless, our repaired unit is working fine and Surprise is happy. Our next imported parts will be new batteries which we hope to connect with in Tonga; they will be shipped from Auckland but are way too heavy for air freight.
We did the cross-island hike yesterday, a challenging combination of Indiana Jones and Rambo. A thousand feet of climbing (most of it quite steep), about 10 stream crossings, and mud and mosquitoes in unlimited quantities; all in all, a 4 hour adventure. The round-island bus brought us back to Surprise for medication, showers and a drink before heading out for Susan's B'day dinner. Wonderful setting, excellent food and an outstanding Pinot Noir wrapped up a great day.
Current plans are to depart Rarotonga on Tuesday and head for Beveridge Reef, a small atoll about 450 miles NW of us; yes, it is just a reef, no land to walk on. We'll likely spend a few days there and then hop to Niue, about another 135 miles W. Best guess is a week there before departing for Tonga. All of this subject to change at the whim of many things.