Location: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Rarotonga is an incredible place. Ask someone to point at it on a map – should you be taking part in a quiz, or perhaps particularly low on conversation topics – and you’re likely to be met with blank, uncomfortable faces as people make their way towards something that isn’t going to require an in depth knowledge of the South Pacific. Even this early on in the trip, we’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to hopscotch our way around a series of sandy slices of sea-bound serenity, but Raro has definitely put in a strong case for the top of the leader board. In the water has been incredible coral, in water so clear it’s like diving in slightly more dense air. Out of the water we’ve got to meet as welcoming a bunch of people as you could ever hope to find, and experience rainforest that has remained largely untouched by humans. Did you know there’s a handful of plants endemic only to Rarotonga? I think that’s amazing. Not only have plants managed to get here; a tiny speck of land that popped out of the ocean about as far from a continental landmass as you could find, but then they’ve also had the time and space to evolve into something totally unique, which i reckon is pretty cool. Basically i think i can speak for everyone when i say that we quite like it here.

Now today was a tale of two halves. We woke up to some pretty solid breeze, blowing unsuspecting crabs out of the sand, smallish dogs off leads, and – as it would turn out – one of our anchors out of its cozy hole in the mud. Fortunately we’ve got a few of them out at the moment, so this wasn’t a problem. Since that point however, the combined might of the staff team have been doing all they can in the chilly and deeply murky waters of the harbour to restore it to its recently very useful lodgings. Whilst this was going on the rest of the crew got a chance to explore the island at will, now having a slightly better idea of the layout of the island and of all there is to do here, and also offering an opportunity to top up on snacks and supplies ahead of our upcoming passage to Tonga.

We are using a complete job wheel now with staff and students combined, so we have been having students as head chefs over the last several days- and they have not disappointed! Tonight we had a tasty chicken and pasta dish, which was exactly what was needed to warm up the staff after a long day in the water, and round out the palate of the students who had food ashore for lunch. Our squeeze question was “Why are you here?” and we had a wide variety of answers. Some of the favorites were to seek adventure, grow as an individual, meet new friends, and learn about ourselves and the world.

Pictured: Henry, Frank, and Kari on the beach; Henry, Garrison, and Frank with a kite boarder behind them