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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: -21.2318, -159.763
I had not been to the Cook Islands with Fletcher while he was running the RDC so when the Oceania Athletics Championships were scheduled there this year I knew we had to go. I had really enjoyed participating in them last year in Tahiti and looked forward to renewing friendships and visiting a beautiful part of the world.
There is now a direct flight from Sydney to Rarotonga so we flew from Adelaide to Sydney on Saturday and then spent an uninspiring 7 hours at Sydney airport. The flight to Raro is one of the killer ones. It is only five and a half hours long but it leaves at 9-25pm and arrives in the Cooks at 7am on the same day, crossing the International Date Line on the way. The plane was packed with athletes and officials as well as holidaymakers all wanting to arrive on the same day.
At the airport we were greeted by a fantastic welcome. The customs and passport officers were friendly and efficient and as we emerged into the outside arrivals area we were greeted by Ina Marsters, the President of Cook Island Aths with beautiful flower leis and crowns and ushered onto the waiting
buses to take us to our accommodation. We are all staying at the Edgewater Resort, a rambling series of rooms and bungalows set amongst beautiful tropical gardens.The dining area overlooks the beach and the lagoon and there is great swimming and snorkelling on hand.
After breakfasting on fruit and cereal we went out to explore. As the Championships do not start officially until Monday evening we have two days to explore the island. The easiest way is to hire a car and that is what we did. We then drove back into the main town and capital Avarua. On Saturdays they have a market. We stopped there to browse amongst the many stalls selling food, traditional sarongs etc and Cook Island Black Pearls. They had some drummers and the dancers performing their version of the hula. Boy, can they move those hips. We then went to Trader Jack's which is right on the beach and had a great lunch of fish. It was a very warm day, humid but no rain.
Aftere that we found a supermarket to stock up on drinks for the room and especially tonic water to go with the Duty Free Bombay Sapphire.Met up with Marsh and Josephine
from Guam which was great. After a short nap back at the hotel we drove three of the PNG athletes to the track for training and checked it out. A well maintained track set against the deep green mountains of the interior makes for a great setting for the next few days.
We then drove further around the island to the Royal Rarotongan. This is a more upmarket resort with a fabulous pool and a stunning beach. They were hosting a wedding, the white tent and tables decorated with local flowers and overlooking the sunset and the beach. A great venue for a romantic wedding.
Tomorrow we plan to drive right around the island, stopping at Muri and Sails restaurant which Fletcher says is terrific. Something to look forward to!!
Tot: 3.65s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 8; qc: 45; dbt: 0.044s; 3; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb