Saturday, October 24, 2015

Punga Cove Resort and helicopter

While at Punga Cove Resort in the Marlborough Sounds, I threw myself into a hammock and as I lay sprawled in unlady-like grace in zoomed a helicopter with guest coming for lunch at the restaurant! At only $1500 a flight I do hope the lunch was spectacular.

It came in so low it was almost hidden behind the sun umbrella before is gently touched down on the heli pad.

Whilst I was still laying in the hammock I looked up into the huge Punga tree fern high above me and decided to photograph it too. These tree ferns are what the resort is named after, there are many of them on the hillside around the Cove.

We did have a lovely time while staying here, sadly I came down with a nasty heavy cold so didn't feel up to going out fishing or playing in the spa pools as we had intended. Being together is the important thing when celebrating your Anniversary, we drank several toasts to just that and also to My Dear Mother who we felt was with us in spirit some times. She was approving.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Anniversary Treat

Its our Wedding Anniversary we think its our 20th so we decided we should really celebrate. We honeymooned down the Marlborough Sounds so thought we should go back down the Sounds again. Decided to go to Punga Cove Resort, not where we honeymooned, its nice to try somewhere different.
We caught the Water Taxi and roared down the Sounds along  some other people who were going to walk the Marlborough Walk. A great scenic but quite energetic walk, we have walked parts of it but are unlikely to ever walk the whole way as it is just too far for unfit us.
There is road access to Punga Cove but the road is long and narrow and winding, some of it is gravel too. We have driven there twice and that is enough, much nicer and quicker in the water taxi.

We were met at the wharf and our luggage carted away up the hill to the Lodge where we shall be the only people in a huge 5 bedroom house. Plenty of room to move and we have the best room in the house, just look at the veiw from the window; our very own Punga (tree fern) just outside our room.

We quickly settled in and went back down the hill to lunch at the Boatshed Cafe on the wharf. Really delicious pininis  filled with smoked chicken and cranberry sauce, yummy served with lots of chips, enjoyed out in the sunshine enjoying the view.


We lunched here each day. In the evening we dined in the big restaurant 

high up on the side of the hill, the view from up there is lovely  a water taxi is at the wharf dropping people off in this photo.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Marina to Marina run and walk day

A big event for the young people of Picton is this Marina to Marina run, from Waikawa Marina to Picton Marina not a very long distance, maybe about 8km just right for kids and not fit adults ofcause there are some fit athletes in the running to and they win it but the others have fun.

There are lots of stalls set up at the finish line even for once there are actually interesting food stalls.

We didn't realize there would be food or that the food would be so nice looking. I enjoyed some yummy smoked salmon and some some uncooked fruit balls and chocolate balls too. But there was quite a lot of middle eastern food and salads plus baked potatoes and hot roast pork sandwiches and icecream and fruit etc.
Plenty of people around to watch and cheer on the participants.
A rather late arriver at the finish line one of the adult walkers makes it to the finish with lots of clapping..

 The event was run by the Girl Guides I think, and we were shown the wonderful brand new clinker boats specially designed for children to use on the harbour.We can expect to see them out practicing any time from now on, will look great when they can have races and fun.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our yellow Bubble car

While is Rarotonga we hired a small yellow bubble car a Toyota IQ.

 Just a wee 2 door car that got us around the island just fine. But bellied on many rough spots and almost vanished into major pot holes on some small roads, specially when we drove up to Wigmores Waterfall. Last time we were in Raro we came up here to enjov the cool on hot days, but now the road has deteriorated greatly and it was not easy to drive without going into the pot holes.
 There were quite a few others up here and one of them took our photo.
We stopped off at the old Sheraton buildings and were able to wander around and even go inside the old half finished buildings. I was impressed by the fact that most had an in-ground built in spa pool.  Also by how very extensive the building are. Apparently someone went bankrupt and the building had to be stopped, never to be re-continued. Now goats wander at will around the place to keep the grass down, and it seems that go-carts have a track around the grounds.

Maybe someone will restore the place sometime. Looks better than it is.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A small tsunami.

We slept in a while, after all we were on holiday,  We awoke to the loud roaring of a heavy sea running and smashing into the outer reef. When we went down to the beach to check out the noisy ocean, we were told oh you have missed all the excitement!
Apparently 8 people took out the big white out-rigger canoe, right out to the outer reef when the surf was pounding loudly. They got too close and the big waves turned them over and threw them all out into the sea. They all rushed to grab the out-rigger and clung to it. But the out-rigger was not meant to be clung to but 8 people and immediately snapped off. So the men of the resort all grabbed kayaks and paddled furiously  out and  rescued  them all and towed the pieces of the big out-rigger back into to the beach. Just as well we were not there as I have lifesaving medals and may well have considered going out rescuing too.
We were told there had been an earthquake near Tonga, not to far away from Rarotonga, and it had stirred up the ocean and the tides were likely to be much higher than usual with a possible small tsunami. It was true the tide was much higher than usual but not dangerous.
We spent the day reading our books and lounging around relaxing.  The sea remained very high, like high tide all day long crashing and banging and pounding onto the reef and the beach, no swimming for anyone today, far too dangerous.
We went out to dinner at the Muri Beach Market enjoyed another lovely meal and returned to the resort and so to bed without giving the high seas another thought, never thinking about the next high tide during the night.
We found out in the morning that the tide had risen much higher and in fact had rushed into and through all the beach front units to a height of 3 feet soaking all the guests luggage and gear. Staff had to evacuate everyone in middle of the night.
When we got up we found a large pond filling all the  garden area in found of our unit. We were three rows from the sea front, the sea had raced up the pathways between the blocks of units and come to a halt right outside our door. The Sea came to us, so we also had a sea frontage. lol.
The salt water soon soaked into the ground leaving behind masses of seaweed and small pieces of coral and rubbish. killing all the grass and some of the plants, but not the banana palms we had been enjoying.
The groundsmen worked hard sweeping up all the sand, coral and seaweed very quickly, and digging out the flooded units.
I did not take a photo, as I have this thing about not photographing other peoples misery if possible
All the people who had paid for the expensive waterfront units had to be resettled into the upstairs units in our block, the real cheap seats!  I felt sorry for them.and they did not get to go back to the unit they paid for because they were full of sand and soaking wet.
The big wave not only caused damage at our resort it also went right up and over the ring road round the Island in many places and probably went through plenty of houses.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Big Market day Raro

The big Market day with all the people from the outer Islands selling their wares as well as all the normal stalls with lots of interesting bargains for those that want them. With all the travel we do buying knick knacks  and curios to take home just doesn't happen much now days. But I did decide to buy a black pearl necklace for myself, not I might add an expensive one, not his was just small pearls with mixed colours which turned out to be river black pearls not sea ones. But its ok as far as I am concerned if I like it and want it doesn't matter what it costs; but I prefer a bargain. This bargain cost only $10.  I wore it all the rest of the holiday. This stall with all its interesting sea shell tempted me, it was the one i bought the necklace from. I also bought a nice bright sarong as we always do, not to wear but to take home for a tablecloth. We find the bright cheerful colours remind us of the  great times we enjoy while overseas. And they as so cheap we can get a nice new one every year.

Because it was a special market day there was a band entertaining everyone, not to my taste but I seemed to be in the minority so I imagine they were quire good.

We wandered around for ages buying up things like kebabs, churros and  choc cake to nibble as we went, before settling down to  tasty lunch eaten outdoors at the picnic tables we shared with several others, all washed down with a special island fruit smoothie which was delicious.

There was a big yacht moored just outside the reef one of those millionaires floating palaces, with small boats coming and going from it I guess they were also enjoying the market day. 
Later we visited the Deep Sea Fishing Club for a glass of wine as we wended our way home around the 'other' side of the island
this is the fish cooking caravan outside the Fishing Club building, its nice sitting out there watching the sunsetting. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Independence for Cook Islands.

The days celebrations with all 57 floats was so good we really wanted to join all the happy Islanders for the evening fun. We decided to start by going to the Islander Hotel to the outdoor Hula Bar right on the waters edge where the drinks, all of them are only $3.50 a glass, amazing bargain prices has loads of people turning up.
 Erle went to buy the drinks and I looked about for a table we could sit at. All of them were nearly full, but I found one with just 4 young Islander girls at,  all about  20 - 25 year olds,   and asked if they would mind us sharing the end of their table and I said we wouldn't bother them. They were all for us joining them and after just a few moments we were all like old friends laughing and chatting and having a good time.
After a while another lovely young lady joined the group wearing a most beautiful Ei ( head dress like a crown made of flowers and leaves, and long leafy scarf that we have seen a few Islanders wear.  After she had been introduced to us oldies she immediately took off her Ei and placed on Erle's head and said welcome to Rarotonga. He wasn't too sure about this and I took his photo.

Then she took off her long leafy scarf, there is a fancey name for this but I couldn't catch it they spoke it too quickly. She placed around my neck and said welcome to Rarotonga to me and gave me a kiss. Erle took off his Ei and placed it on my head said it was better suited there and took my photo all decked out beside a couple of the girls.I felt really honoured and admired it all greatly before returning the Ei which was very special all made of Gardenias that smelled deliciously. But I decided to keep the leafy scarf which I sort of assumed to be made from a vine of some sort.
 I was wrong!

After another drink together we said goodbye to the girls and headed off to Trader Jacks an iconic local restaurant and bar. As we walked eeryone was so nice to me smiling and saying Kia Orana the local greeting  which I said back to them hsppily. When we got to Trader Jacks everyone seemed to be looking at me and I was made very welcome and showed to one of the best waterfront tables by a, nice waitress. 
While we drank our glass of wine every waitress in the place came to our table asking where I had got the leafy scarf from as it was so unusual for white tourist lady to be wearing one, they said it was very rare and how lucky I was. Then one of them told me it was made from many little fine branches of a special tree all woven together and what an especially nice leafy one this was.
 Apparently the tree does not even grow on this Island it must of been brought in from one of the outer Islands, probably by the young lady who gave it to me.  Very special. The leaves all smelled beautifully of a sweet coconuty aroma, I liked the perfume.
Later we enjoyed our lovely gourmet Pizza with great big prawns all around it, then headed home taking the leafy scarf with me. When back to the resort I hung it up on a hook beside the bed and admired it some more, wishing I could of showed it off more.
The housemaids arrived to do our room next day and nearly fell over at the sight of it and wanted to know the story again. One of them told me she had been given one at a wedding, they had been ordered and brought in from the only island they grow on to give to the honoured guests.  I really felt bad about taking it home with me so casually, but she did seem to want me to have it and I did love it.
 God Bless her. 
I kept it hanging in our room the rest of our stay and it acted like a room refresher making it smell all lovely and coconuty.