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Cook Islands 2of3 (RAR-AIT W. Air Raro) Pix  
User currently offlinevio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8041 times:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8001/7473807904_00ddb06744_b.jpg
Aitutaki-001 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Flight 01:
Date: Thursday June 14 2012
Airline: Air Rarotonga
Flight No: : GZ 618
Aircraft: : Saab-Fairchild SF-340(QC)
Registration: : E5-EFS
Departure: : Avarua – Rarotonga International Airport (RAR/NCRG) (15:30)
Arrival: : Aitutaki – (AIT/NCAI) (16:20)
Flight Time : 0h 50m

Welcome back to Part 2 of the Cook Islands Trip Reports. Part 1 can be found at this link:
The Cook Islands W. AC ANZ & RAR - Part 1 Of 3 (pi (by vio Jun 29 2012 in Trip Reports)
or
http://romanian-spotters.forumer.ro/...ands-w-ac-anz-rar-part-1-of-3-pics

As most of you may know, The Cook Islands consists of about 15 major islands (Southern / Northern Groups) with Rarotonga being the largest and most popular with tourist. Avarua, the country’s capital is also located here and it’s safe to say that it’s also its economic and political heart. Access to the other islands is offered by the only airline in the Cook Islands, Air Rarotonga, with Aitutaki being by far the most popular of the islands visited, outside Rarotonga. Other means of transportation is available, but there is no regular passenger boat service or anything along those lines, so most people especially visitors opt to fly on this small yet extremely cool little airline. For those of you that are not familiar with Air Rarotonga, it has a rather small operational fleet (1 Saab 340, 2 Embraer 110 Bandeirante and a Cessna 172 used for sight-seeing trips around the island). From what I understand, they will acquire more airplanes in the near future. For more information on Air Rarotonga, visit their website or check out Wikipedia.
http://www.airraro.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Rarotonga

Aitutaki, which is voted as one of the top “most beautiful” lagoons in the world is about 260 km North of Rarotonga. One of the “Survivor” seasons was filmed there, but of course that’s not the reason we went, especially since I only heard about it while being there. Originally we wanted to book a flight and spend 5 nights there, but we weren’t sure how much money we’d have after the wedding, so we chose to hold back on it and see if any specials would come about. Lucky for us, the 2nd day we were in Rarotonga, we stopped by the Air Rarotonga office and found out that there was indeed a special of $109NZD per person, each way. That came to exactly $436 NZD (That’s about $350-$375 Canadian Dollars for both of us); a steal if you ask me. We booked it as soon as we made arrangements with our accommodations in Rarotonga. I must say that Rarotonga Backpackers was awesome. The owner (Paul) was kind enough to refund us the 3 nights we would be gone to Aitutaki and even offered to hold some of our luggage while we were away. I highly recommend Rarotonga Backpackers if you ever decide to stay in Rarotonga.

After booking the tickets and arranging accommodations in Aitutaki, we were advised to “bring lots of mosquito repellent”, advice that can’t be underestimated in importance. I must say we were “as happy as a clam on Sunday”. I don’t know if clams are indeed happier on Sundays, but we sure were pretty damn excited to visit this literal “Paradise on Earth”. I can’t say that we couldn’t wait to get there, because Rarotonga is extremely awesome and we didn’t want to rush anything, so until our time came to show up to the airport on Thursday June 17, we kept ourselves very busy enjoying “Raro” (as locals call it) to the most of our (financial) abilities. The day of the flight, we met our friends from Warsaw and had lunch with them at the local market, then around 2:15 made our way to the airport. Check-in would start at 2:30pm. We were there a little early so we had to hang around to wait for the Air Rarotonga Counter to open. It was a smoldering day and the humidity didn’t help. People started showing up for the weekly Tahiti flight followed by passengers on a flight to New Zealand.
Domestic / International Departure Area of Rarotonga Airport
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8003/7473801170_6b10f2ec2a_b.jpg
Aitutaki-002 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8010/7473801226_46ddd67dc7_b.jpg
Aitutaki-003 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8141/7473801348_ffb39e9549_b.jpg
Aitutaki-004 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8152/7473801088_cf97197c33_b.jpg
Aitutaki-005 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

One of Air Rarotonga’s Embraer 110s
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7277/7473801396_e6297c3dcb_b.jpg
Aitutaki-006 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Soon we see Air Rarotonga’s only Saab 340 being towed to its apron location
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7264/7473801690_9d4a245fcf_b.jpg
DSC_2512 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8010/7473801744_42aa23f1a4_b.jpg
DSC_2516 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Local departure board. I think the NZ 45 was a Boeing 777
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8020/7473801798_42aa23f1a4_b.jpg
DSC_2517 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Air Rarotonga Check in Counter:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8009/7473801852_4849de88c4_b.jpg
DSC_2518 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The coolest and most unique passenger waiting areas I’ve ever seen:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7269/7473801918_7739053659_b.jpg
DSC_2519 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Soon after we checked in the Air Tahiti ATR 42 arrived from Papeete.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7128/7473801978_1514113ce0_b.jpg
DSC_2524 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8024/7473802048_09881deab5_b.jpg
DSC_2532 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8015/7473802114_575dda26ba_b.jpg
DSC_2533 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8156/7473802842_d939d05620_b.jpg
DSC_2558 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7276/7473802148_85565db303_b.jpg
DSC_2534 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Not long after, we started boarding and made our way to the aircraft. Everyone at Air Rarotonga was extremely polite, including the captain who was always smiling and even offered me the chance to visit the flight deck later on in the flight, something that I was really looking forward to. We boarded the aircraft and in no time, the pilots started the engines and there was a short taxi to runway 26. We taxied on it and started rolling toward the West, rotating about midway of the runway and climbing away from this “small piece of rock” in the middle of the South Pacific.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7273/7473802266_847ec10fa5_b.jpg
DSC_2535 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8013/7473802326_47cd2ea9a1_b.jpg
DSC_2538 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Boarding Passes:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8162/7473806170_7e49e31ed0_b.jpg
IMG_3262 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Our flight attendant walking to the aircraft:

DSC_2544 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7118/7473802610_f97bc3225b_b.jpg
DSC_2547 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8145/7473802766_e03759d36c_b.jpg
DSC_2557 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Boarding the Saab 340
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8027/7473802884_4a348bb7c3_b.jpg
DSC_2559 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Captain giving us a friendly smile:

DSC_2562 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The “International Arrival Wing” of Rarotonga
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8148/7473802998_09ab32c38d_b.jpg
DSC_2563 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Saab 340 Flightdeck.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7280/7473803100_1095b28510_b.jpg
DSC_2565 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Prior to engine start:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8141/7473800962_d27f6ac488_b.jpg
DSC_2566 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Safety Card:

DSC_2567 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

After start-up:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8009/7473803386_06c82f89f6_b.jpg
DSC_2569 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7268/7473803424_51b5c01340_b.jpg
DSC_2570 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7122/7473803514_38c571173c_b.jpg
DSC_2571 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8020/7473803586_801c441139_b.jpg
DSC_2574 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7113/7473800586_c59f9cda12_b.jpg
DSC_2576 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Take-Off toward the West:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7114/7473803618_241ba297b5_b.jpg
DSC_2578 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8026/7473803672_17b17996aa_b.jpg
DSC_2580 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8024/7473803728_0185025425_b.jpg
DSC_2582 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8009/7473803788_08620ceb85_b.jpg
DSC_2583 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7256/7473803838_a973d0b58e_b.jpg
DSC_2584 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8167/7473803906_2c24c20124_b.jpg
DSC_2585 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The Western shore of Rarotonga

DSC_2586 by VioLudusan, on Flickr


DSC_2587 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The edge of the reef:

DSC_2588 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8166/7473804168_779c6c0464_b.jpg
DSC_2589 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8001/7473804202_f20bfdbef5_b.jpg
DSC_2590 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Cruising over the South Pacific, heading North toward Aitutaki

DSC_2594 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Our flight path from Rarotonga to Aitutaki:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7246/7473799744_7f8bd11431_b.jpg
RAR-AIT-RAR Flight by VioLudusan, on Flickr

I really like the Air Rarotonga F/A uniform, very “island-like”

IMG_3263 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Happy to be on our way to Aitutaki:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7133/7473806304_c0fc55456c_b.jpg
IMG_3270 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7112/7473804414_f069a6afab_b.jpg
DSC_2598 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Some nice reading material about the Cook Islands:

DSC_2604 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8017/7473804618_d8af5d1d7c_b.jpg
DSC_2609 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Front of the aircraft passenger cabin:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8166/7473804528_cbae8c69ec_b.jpg
DSC_2613 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The island of Aitutaki (3D View). Note the airport on the North Side of the island
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8012/7473801490_bf20f21c98_b.jpg
Aitutaki-0013D by VioLudusan, on Flickr

As we were nearing Aitutaki, the F/A told me I was okay to go into the cock-pit. I was as excited as a kid getting ready to open his Christmas presents. The captain and first officer welcomed me and showed me the seat and seatbelt. I didn’t expect to be there for the landing, but this turned out even better than I have hoped for. We had a brief introduction / chat and before we knew it, he pointed out the beautiful island of Aitutaki in the distance. I couldn’t believe my eyes how gorgeous it was. Flying the B200 in the Canadian Arctic has its moments of beauty, but this was something out of a “Windows Desktop Background”. The entire approach was visual, though they said, should the weather not be VFR, they do have an NDB approach at Aitutaki. I left the camera in the back with my wife, so she snapped some photos of the landing, as I managed to take a few pictures with my iPhone. I can tell you that these photos don’t do the scenery any justice. It was absolutely stunning.

The amazing island of Aitutaki:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7133/7473806688_ca1d2721a9_b.jpg
IMG_3276 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8027/7473806802_c139c4fab3_b.jpg
IMG_3278 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

View toward the right side… F/O side.
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8165/7473806894_3b3437d5fe_b.jpg
IMG_3280 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The airport runway 32-14 is on the Northeast side of the tip of the island, built originally by the Americans & Kiwi in WW2. It’s 1804m long (5920ft). We turned right over the lagoon and lined up with the runway, giving us an amazing view of the lagoon. Even the back had some stunning views.
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8165/7473806958_516204f387_b.jpg
IMG_3281 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

View from the back passenger cabin, taken by my wife:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8168/7473804656_16b0e489bd_b.jpg
DSC_2630 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8163/7473800374_6e25bda72b_b.jpg
DSC_2631 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8152/7473804682_53d4efed75_b.jpg
DSC_2633 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Meanwhile, back in the cock-pit:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7114/7473807026_135297dbdf_b.jpg
IMG_3284 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8145/7473807132_dc64ce60b5_b.jpg
IMG_3286 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Phenomenal views and picture perfect water:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7112/7473799910_9f006903a6_b.jpg
IMG_3287 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Again, meanwhile in the back:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8020/7473804724_da05ca3d85_b.jpg
DSC_2637 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8143/7473804760_a88ddcc68e_b.jpg
DSC_2642 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The captain was flying from the left seat, banking right to turn final, runway 32
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7131/7473807200_a5d085a098_b.jpg
IMG_3289 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The airport in the distance:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8165/7473807270_ac92e876cc_b.jpg
IMG_3292 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8028/7473804802_8a7478566e_b.jpg
DSC_2648 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8160/7473807324_cdbae49cf8_b.jpg
IMG_3295 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7256/7473804894_e732b69917_b.jpg
DSC_2665 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

In the cockpit:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7118/7473807464_1140a19f03_b.jpg
IMG_3296 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Short Final:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8025/7473807588_327bc022db_b.jpg
IMG_3298 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Just about to cross the threshold of runway 32:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8002/7473807656_8dd6542208_b.jpg
IMG_3300 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

After touchdown, seen from the passenger cabin:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7135/7473804982_c6f1a3d57f_b.jpg
DSC_2681 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Captain shutting down the aircraft:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8146/7473807722_517f96599c_b.jpg
IMG_3305 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

F/O doing his duties:

IMG_3306 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Wow… what an experience that was. I felt very fortunate to have been given this opportunity and I couldn’t contain my excitement, which of course, my wife laughed at. She was very happy for me too. I thanked the crew for this fantastic flight and disembarked in Aitutaki along with all the other tourists on board. The small terminal is extremely nice, giving that special “island feeling”. We were greated by the owner of our lodge with traditional flower necklace and a very warm smile. After collecting our bags we got a ride to our resort, which was very close to the threshold of runway 32. I was happy to be so close to the airport, since I would be able to see the Saab / Embraers in action in the upcoming days.

After de-boarding the aircraft:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7116/7473805062_ce8d066697_b.jpg
DSC_2698 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7263/7473805132_3337c53dc9_b.jpg
DSC_2701 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8168/7473805266_8d75de4f81_b.jpg
DSC_2704 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Aitutaki Airport Terminal:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8002/7473805332_4f125ac7d3_b.jpg
DSC_2706 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Our bags / cargo being unloaded:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7256/7473800256_4a3aa03a8a_b.jpg
DSC_2708 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Welcome to Aitutaki:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8157/7473805430_37607a81b2_b.jpg
DSC_2709 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Ukulele Player:

DSC_2710 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Gabriela and the flower necklace:

DSC_2711 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7258/7473805668_9c222ba7f6_b.jpg
DSC_2716 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The terminal / Saab seen as we drive away toward our resort:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8149/7473805842_f4b58f9e6e_b.jpg
DSC_2720 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7138/7473805920_22256445a4_b.jpg
DSC_2724 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The turn-around was extremely quick and before we even reached the end of the runway (by car, on the road parallel to the runway / fence) the Saab was already taxiing to the runway on its return flight to Rarotonga:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8151/7473806088_421778b2a5_b.jpg
DSC_2733 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Screaming past us:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7268/7473800124_00f9cb6b29_b.jpg
DSC_2751 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Heading South toward Rarotonga:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8167/7473806248_ffb18db1e2_b.jpg
DSC_2763 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

From Thursday afternoon until Sunday evening of that week we had a great time in Aitutaki, being completely blown away by the lagoon, the kindness of people and how uneventful and relaxing life was in Aitutaki (at least for vacationers). Here are some pictures from our stay in this piece of Earthly paradise:

Gabriela:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8022/7473837976_f863509d67_b.jpg
DSC_2771 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Me relaxing by the lagoon:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8007/7473838050_f821c1db33_b.jp<br><br></font></td></tr></table>

<table border=


Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinevio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8042 times:

The bungalows at Inano Beach, where we stayed
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8167/7473838118_a42144485a_b.jpg
DSC_2819 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Sunrise in Aitutaki:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8011/7473838212_ba08ec89fe_b.jpg
DSC_2848 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8161/7473838346_578b7b949b_b.jpg
DSC_2864 by VioLudusan, on Flickr


DSC_2874 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

We also took a day long lagoon trip with Bishop Lagoon Cruises and we had one of the best times of our life. The crew was great, the food was delicious and the views / marine life was something out of a Discovery Channel or BBC show… amazing… amazing… amazing… I felt like I was in some Desktop Wallpaper. Some pics from the lagoon trip:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7260/7473842996_36d2a6f802_b.jpg
DSC_2897 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The friendly crew:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7124/7473838478_a7a5d388d1_b.jpg
DSC_2902 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8156/7473846228_008eb3845f_b.jpg
DSC_2908 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8011/7473846068_faae903160_b.jpg
DSC_2919 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Look at that water…. LOOK AT THAT WATER… (… and pictures don’t do it justice)
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8020/7473846274_04404cbeac_b.jpg
DSC_2924 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8161/7473846330_767ce475e8_b.jpg
DSC_2936 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

We couldn’t wait to jump in:

DSC_2950 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7276/7473846454_21bccfd058_b.jpg
DSC_3008 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7280/7473846618_4abf6cf7fb_b.jpg
DSC_3021 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8153/7473846718_f921fbe960_b.jpg
DSC_3030 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Fantastic crew:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8154/7473846802_6d567a4e17_b.jpg
DSC_3036 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

An island made entirely of sand:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8153/7473846850_05e12e8212_b.jpg
DSC_3041 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7118/7473847180_71bba5375c_b.jpg
DSC_3058 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8004/7473837836_2cef408e85_b.jpg
DSC_3097b by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8010/7473847322_bf9faa9a44_b.jpg
DSC_3205 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The crew prepared a great meal with fresh tuna, potatoes, grilled bananas, salad, coconut and other fruit… (and I had a couple of beers)
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8153/7473847506_d05d0d1d60_b.jpg
DSC_3216 by VioLudusan, on Flickr


DSC_3219 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Gabi and I got our passports stamped on the famous “One Foot Island”. Best passport stamp ever:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8167/7473847754_7244f1f7ac_b.jpg
DSC_3245 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Relaxing under a palm tree on one foot island:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7139/7473836332_1417697365_b.jpg
DSC_3254 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Leaving “One Foot Island” and the smallest post office in the world: (I guess it’s an official record)
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7276/7473847838_59ccb1b045_b.jpg
DSC_3256 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7252/7473848088_07b18689d3_b.jpg
DSC_3259 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7247/7473847966_e3606b1906_b.jpg
DSC_3327 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8162/7473836218_4c8ac1cf52_b.jpg
DSC_3331 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Some more pics from around the island. This is the highest point on the island and in the picture you can say Aitutaki Airport Terminal and some of the runway:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8163/7473848234_65552029bb_b.jpg
DSC_3350 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8156/7473836112_65dfca1b93_b.jpg
DSC_3367 by VioLudusan, on Flickr


DSC_3414 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

One of the 5 flights from RAR to AIT that come in daily. Some are done with the Saab, some with the Embraer:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8159/7473848498_8303dea327_b.jpg
DSC_3453 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Having a drink at “The Boat Shed” a great bar and grill
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7111/7473848348_b865366330_b.jpg
DSC_3493 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Locals that came here from NZ (about 30 years ago) and never left. These two gentlemen were extremely kind and friendly. I just love this pic. It’s something out of a “frozen in time” moment:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7124/7473835798_e9a03658f9_b.jpg
IMG_3324 by VioLudusan, on Flickr


IMG_3380 by VioLudusan, on Flickr


IMG_3386 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Local houses:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7270/7473848588_0bdefb8764_b.jpg
DSC_3545 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7251/7473848678_64286e3983_b.jpg
DSC_3548 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7251/7473848730_177ab05b81_b.jpg
DSC_3569 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

We even went to church on Sunday. Everyone was very welcoming
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8158/7473836052_a14062cbb5_b.jpg
DSC_3508 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Riding our rented scooter:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8149/7473835936_14933b5217_b.jpg
DSC_3575 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Local animals. I just love this little guys. So cute:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7272/7473849530_f9022d792d_b.jpg
DSC_3681 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8147/7473849658_deac8bccce_b.jpg
DSC_3681b by VioLudusan, on Flickr

One of the resorts in Aitutaki (and a local kitty). I couldn’t help myself when I see little furry animals. I just gotta pet them:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8023/7473849424_848c1f77ff_b.jpg
DSC_3651 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Marine research center:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8007/7473848836_e386ac42d5_b.jpg
DSC_3586 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7268/7473848996_6424247d37_b.jpg
DSC_3600 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Picture perfect island:

DSC_3634 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8155/7473849298_e9a5ffd44d_b.jpg
DSC_3638 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7251/7473849118_d74da49978_b.jpg
DSC_3641 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Flight 03:
Date: Thursday June 21 2012
Airline: Air Rarotonga
Flight No: : N/A
Aircraft: : Cessna 172L
Registration: : E5-NTP
Departure: : Avarua – Rarotonga International Airport (RAR/NCRG) (9:00)
Arrival: : Avarua – Rarotonga International Airport (RAR/NCRG) (9:45)
Flight Time : 0h 45m

The 3 nights and 3 days we spent in Aitutaki seemed like two weeks. Time had a mind of its own there. I for once loved it, except it was a bit too quiet for me. I’m not the type of guy to just sit and relax on the beach. I must meet people, see things, do things so 3 days was plenty for me. Gabriela somewhat agrees with me. We both loved Aitutaki though. On Sunday it was time to leave back to the airport and head on the last flight to Rarotonga. We got there about 2 hours early, since we had nothing to do, so we just read, talked to people and waited for our aircraft to arrive. It seems that flights in are quite the event here and lots of family members come to the airport to see their loved ones off. The load was fairly full today, compromising half of tourists and half of locals or ex locals returning to see their families. It was getting dark by the time we boarded the aircraft and the ceilings were lowering and the wind was now out of the South and blowing a bit.
The local airport fire truck:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8028/7473898534_ef17a1e5f0_b.jpg
DSC_3701 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8156/7473898644_94f0318522_b.jpg
DSC_3702 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8004/7473898748_52e8afc2e9_b.jpg
DSC_3704 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Aitutaki terminal:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8144/7473898444_28d6d8e503_b.jpg
DSC_3712 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The outside waiting area:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8159/7473898906_079368f2fe_b.jpg
DSC_3715 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8157/7473898998_44d5e8fd1f_b.jpg
DSC_3716 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Cute local kids:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7130/7473899104_4f1db4cc36_b.jpg
DSC_3736 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The Saab landing on runway 14:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8148/7473898214_114a00a2b0_b.jpg
DSC_3748 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8019/7473898330_1e1fed07e6_b.jpg
DSC_3749 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8019/7473899252_9b8da1c8f7_b.jpg
DSC_3762 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Lots of kids / people seeing off the plane:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7126/7473899360_3829b5be32_b.jpg
DSC_3771 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8005/7473899514_e1d0d94a29_b.jpg
DSC_3774 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Boarding the aircraft:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7251/7473899636_c8758dc678_b.jpg
DSC_3781 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Last view of the terminal. Check out the amount of people:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8024/7473898156_6111002ffd_b.jpg
DSC_3783 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Flight back to Rarotonga:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8165/7473900640_82d51c8dd5_b.jpg
IMG_3440 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

And we had the same F/A like the inbound flight… Very nice young lady:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8162/7473900530_9ee2ac7b7d_b.jpg
IMG_3439 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7249/7473898008_16dbcc408a_b.jpg
IMG_3437 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Since it was dark, it was very hard to take photos so this is the only “meaningful” one I managed to take of the lighted runway in Rarotonga. We came from the North and landed on Runway 08.

IMG_3456 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

The crew after landing:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7258/7473899700_681f75ee1e_b.jpg
DSC_3785 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Airside of the Rarotonga domestic terminal:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8159/7473900220_7b47a8dce1_b.jpg
DSC_3791 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Inside the waiting area, waiting for our bags to come:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8156/7473899856_d2d7a6abe6_b.jpg
DSC_3792 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Outside the airport arrival area:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8161/7473900302_005717b508_b.jpg
DSC_3793 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Our rented scooter that stayed parked there for 3 days (it was cheaper than to actually bring it back and rent another one)
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8005/7473900478_679c310d71_b.jpg
DSC_3794 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

All in all, I must say this was the most unique and beautiful (scenery wise) trip I have ever taken in my entire life. Air Rarotonga is small, but a great airline with a team that I could only describe as “AWESOME”. This is made even more apparent in the next portion of this Trip report (PART 3). Everyone from the reservation agent, to the check in agents to the pilots, F/A, ground crew and Management was top notch. Great for you Air Rarotonga. Keep up the good work!!! I will def. fly with them again. Aitutaki was fantastic. I highly recommend the lagoon cruise. The snorkeling and marine life is second to none (that I have ever seen).

I hope you enjoyed this part and come back for Part 3, the final of these 3 trip reports.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8003/7473897926_55cc331fbd_b.jpg
zzzToBeContinued02 by VioLudusan, on Flickr

Comments, observations and suggestions are always welcomed and encouraged

Thank you for your time

Vio



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineyapple From Singapore, joined Apr 2011, 91 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day ago) and read 7264 times:

Hi Vio,

Absolutely superb report with very nice pictures. (Your previous one was very good too) One of my childhood dream is to 'conquer' the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. Your report and photos just made me all the more jealous...

Nice to hear that you've had some fantastic experience in the Cook Islands (thus far), from the owner of the accommodation to the pilot etc.

Look forward to your next report!

Yap


User currently offlineMack8994 From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 59 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 22 hours ago) and read 7137 times:

Great trip reports... Looking forward to Part 3.
The pics were spectacular and RAR looks amazing. Congrats on your wedding!
Mack8994
(aka Greg)



Courage is the power to let go of the familiar!
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1170 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 21 hours ago) and read 7080 times:

Thanks for the great report. I always wanted to go there.

User currently offlineviasa From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 1870 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 2 hours ago) and read 6644 times:

Thank you for sharing. I remembering me travel to RAR and AIT back in 2008...

User currently offlineIdeekay From Switzerland, joined Jun 2012, 206 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 1 hour ago) and read 6590 times:

Thank you for this very impressive TR. I was never there so it is a pleasure to read it.  

User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2376 posts, RR: 21
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6498 times:

Quoting vio (Thread starter):
Gabi and I got our passports stamped on the famous “One Foot Island”. Best passport stamp ever:

Haha, I have this stamp as well.. although not as fancy looking as the new one it seems:



User currently onlineMortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 3848 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6335 times:

Thanx once again for a great trip report. Aitutaki is one of the few places I have been where the pictures you take and develop is just as good as the place looks in the adds ... Never dissapoints. Hanging out at the Boat shed restaurant, having a cold one while the sun goes down is just an amazing experience.

[Edited 2012-07-02 12:55:49]

User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12082 posts, RR: 18
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 weeks ago) and read 5770 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting vio (Thread starter):
Locals that came here from NZ (about 30 years ago) and never left. These two gentlemen were extremely kind and friendly.

Not surprised they stayed as the Island looks beautiful.

Quoting vio (Thread starter):
The local airport fire truck:

New Zealand built appliance. Two ex New Zealand fire appliances are heading to Rarotonga shortly


User currently offlinevio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5281 times:

Thank you for the replies. Much appreciated it.

Quoting yapple (Reply 2):
One of my childhood dream is to 'conquer' the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. Your report and photos just made me all the more jealous...

I think I share your dream right now. Everyone asks me, would you go there again? YES, however, there are so many other amazing places to see and since I'm not exactly rich, I don't know if RAR will be on my list in the near future.

Quoting Mack8994 (Reply 3):
The pics were spectacular and RAR looks amazing. Congrats on your wedding

Thank you kindly!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 4):
I always wanted to go there.

Highly recommend it

Quoting viasa (Reply 5):
I remembering me travel to RAR and AIT back in 2008...

Awesome. Lots of Europeans go there. I met lots of Swiss people in RAR and AIT.

Quoting Ideekay (Reply 6):
I was never there so it is a pleasure to read it

Thank you. If you have the chance, please do go.

Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 7):
Haha, I have this stamp as well.. although not as fancy looking as the new one it seems:

Oh, awesome. I still like the new one better, but just having that stamp on the passport is awesome!

Quoting Mortyman (Reply 8):
Aitutaki is one of the few places I have been where the pictures you take and develop is just as good as the place looks in the adds ... Never dissapoints. Hanging out at the Boat shed restaurant, having a cold one while the sun goes down is just an amazing experience.

How true. I said it a few times to my wife. "Doesn't it feel like we're inside a Windows wallpaper?"

Quoting 777ER (Reply 9):
Not surprised they stayed as the Island looks beautiful.

Yes they are, but AIT is a bit too slow for me. Maybe if I had an interesting job there I could stay, but otherwise, not much happening.

Quoting 777ER (Reply 9):
Two ex New Zealand fire appliances are heading to Rarotonga shortly

Well that's good to know. I hope one makes it to AIT though.  



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6503 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5137 times:

Hi vio!

Thanks for an amazing report with amazing pictures ! You were very lucky to sit in the cockpit on approach to Aitutaki!

The whole island looks really nice and relaxing !

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4819 times:

Hello there


Great report, thanks for sharing.
Nice too see something from the cook islands. We don't see that too much.
Great scenery pics, nice to see you where able to get one of the best seats in the saab as well.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1118 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4527 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Vio,

Nice to see part 2, another excellent report. A lot of great pictures from Aitutaki, such a beautiful and peacefull place!

Looking forard to your last part

cheers,
Brendan // adamspotter


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 4374 times:

Hey Vio!

What an awesome pair of TRs! Your photos remind me of my own honeymoon in the Bahamas. I hope you guys had a good time and by the look of it you definitely did! How lucky that you got to be in the cockpit of the Saab. The views from there were great! Thank you for the destination photos. I may love airplanes and flying but photos of the destination are definitely my favorite part of any TR.

I'm eagerly looking forward to part 3!

Thanks,

WB



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6408 posts, RR: 38
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4027 times:

Hi Vio,

Another great report with great pictures. What an experience that must have been! It's good to see that the ex-Air NZ birds are still flying strong.. Gotta go there to log the types (EMB and Saab) which I never got to try while they still operated domestically!

Your photos continually attract me to visiting the Cook Islands. I suppose I'll get there someday as it's virtually on my doorstep compared to the rest of the world.

The cockpit landing must have been wonderful. I've jumpseated a Convair 580 before but landing on a tropical paradise must be much more special!

Quoting vio (Thread starter):
Our rented scooter that stayed parked there for 3 days (it was cheaper than to actually bring it back and rent another one)

That makes no sense!


Thanks again, looking forward to reading the 3rd part.


Cheers,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
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