We’ve arrived to the Cook Islands and met up with Guy Trimby from Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK. Communications have been difficult due to limited internet, and we’ve had a pretty packed schedule. To acclimate ourselves with the Cook Islands, we have been visiting the capital island of Rarotonga, and learning about the culture. The islands are celebrating their 50th anniversary of independence, in where villagers from the 15 different islands compete in a song and dance competition.
We have done some snorkeling and checked out some of the local reefs, and they are simply amazing. the water is clear and warm, and the reefs are plentiful and beautiful. Our real research destination is on Aitutaki, a 30 minute flight to the north east of Rarotonga. Aitutaki is home to the largest lagoon in the Cook Islands, and has only a population of 2000 people.
The group spent two days on Rarotonga and now has been on Aitutaki for another two. Unfortunately there has been issues with our cargo, as all of our equipment is large, and very heavy. Because of this, we have not been able to perform any remotely piloted systems surveys, but we have continue on with other surveys such as snorkeling and sandy beach ecology monitoring.
More will come in the next few days, along with pictures when we have secure internet!