We were recently holidaying on Aitutaki and decided to avoid the crowds and hire a private charter with Wet and Wild. We couldn't be happier with the service provided by Quinton... in fact we were so delighted we rebooked it again for later in the week.
We started off with a little bit of fishing... didn't catch anything but nearly died when a massive noise off the bow of the boat made us all look up to see a Humpback Whale breach only meters away! WOW! We saw at least five more breaches as well as swimming turtles as we motored around.
Our first 'get out of the boat' stop was an area of the lagoon near Honeymoon Island that is referred to as 'the fish tank' for very good reason. Only two boats go there, so the fish are VERY happy to see you (and your bread).
We got in surrounded by colourful fish of all sorts, they ate out of your hands to the point I was squealing and dropping the bread to a frenzy of fast finned action. I took off for a swim around the neighbouring coral and saw a MASSIVE Napoleon Wrasse... he was at least a 120cm long, and quite fat!
We were then taken to the clam regeneration area to see giant clams of all sizes, and thousands of tiny fish. It was like being in a micro aquarium.
Off for a burn around to the other side of the island, fast over the shallow water so the boat doesn't get grounded.
Tiny motu (islands) litter the lagoon. We stop at a great swimming spot looking at the packed One-Foot Island from the neighbouring practically deserted island.
While Quinton cooked us lunch on his nifty little grill we took a swim in this. What a lunch! With a bit of soy and a few secret additions, his barbecued wahoo was amazing!
In the afternoon we went back and did some fishing. Quentin has a perfect knack for doing most of the hard stuff (baiting those flying fish) and instructing gently enough to let your husband feel like a king when he pulls in a ten plus kilo barracuda (we called him Barry).
Look at the grin on my partner's face in the photo! He was delighted with his HUGE catch! Incidentally, the fish was then used to feed Quinton's family... no wastage here.
Quinton was exceptional at making sure we had a safe and fun time, and he coped well with countless questions. It is a GREAT way to get to spend some time with a local Cook Islander and find out about the way that they live in this beautiful, beautiful paradise. He's young, friendly, nicely tattooed and a good conversationalist.
On our second trip we went back to 'the fish tank' - I love feeding fish!
We also got dropped off on Honeymoon Island which is a must for any avid bird watchers.
The island is inhabited by a type of white seabird with red tail feathers which the islanders pluck at certain times of the year (there are two, they always leave one) for their feather head dresses. We saw the birds in three stages - nesting adults...
... big fat teenagers and...
...fluffy hungry babies. The male birds circled overhead, and the mothers were off getting food. It was very interesting to see this up close first hand!
While we were motoring around the lagoon, one of the neighbouring boats had a great catch. It was an eyecatching moment to see them hold up their bounty...
... he even jumped into the water to play with his tuna for us. It's nice seeing a man who knows how to handle his fish.
If you ever find yourself on Aitutaki, SPLURGE and do this tour... so worthwhile. They also have a range of other activities (spear fishing, wake-boarding) available. Here is the website for them: http://www.ranginuisretreat.com/
Thanks to Wet and Wild for two absolutely fabulous adventures!