|The Hardcore Traveler in front of One Foot Island|
I heard something rustling around in the bushes...OMFG I thought, what was making that sound? My heart was beating at least a thousand beats a second.... The sound got closer and closer until....I looked over my shoulder and there it was the culprit, a wild/feral pig digging around in the bushes! Having hiked extensively throughout Hawai'i I knew not to mess around with these guys due to their sharp tusks. I slowly moved away and continued my journey home!
After a close call with the wild pig, I felt I was just about “out of the woods” until the path turned into nothing but bushes! I had made it too far to turn back, so there was no other choice but to push on and hope that somehow I’d find my way out. When I finally returned to the bungalow I started calling
around to local
snorkeling tours. Unfortunately most were either full or did not go out on
Saturdays. Luckily, I found a tour with some guy who called himself “The
King” or “TeKing”. He claimed his family was and still is the ruling class of Aitutaki. Who knows whether or not any of that was true or not!
The excursion began with a stop off to feed the locals. Within several seconds of dropping bread into the water countless fish of every size, shape and color swarmed our boat in an attempt to grab whatever piece of the action they could. After the offering to the locals we continued through the lagoon until we approached what looked like a GIANT purple and green colored coral reef. The coral turned out to be a giant clam, which are famous for its ability to grow beautiful black pearls.
The snorkeling was outstanding! I have snorkeled in Hawai’i, The Great Barrier Reef and even the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, but none of them could compare to what I experienced in Aitutaki!! After drying off, our adventures continued through the lagoon by touring several different islands/atolls, one of which was used in the hit American reality TV show, “Survivor”.
|Picture perfect! The One Foot Island coast!|
However, unlike in the TV show, “Survivor”, where contestants are forced to eat insects or other weird things, we were treated to a full buffet lunch. Before we hit the buffet line we had some spare time to explore One Foot Island on our own. Although the island is larger than a foot, it was so small it took only ten minutes to circle. Most spent the time shooting pictures of all the beautiful scenery in and around the island. I had never visited One Foot Island, but felt a sense of deja vu. Maybe it was because I had visited Hawai'i so many times or the fact I had been in Polynesia before? It was likely because every tropical calendar, desktop wallpaper and/or screensaver has the exact same scenery.
|The Hardcore traveler eating lunch in the water! YUM!|
|On the left is George!|
Following our delicious lunch, it was time for………hermit crab racing! TeKing instructed us to go out to the beach, find a hermit crab and meet back in 20 minutes at “the racetrack”, a mere circle drawn in the sand. I had no idea what the criteria for choosing a hermit crab was, so I randomly picked up a guy in a white shell. The goal of the race was simple; your hermit crab had to stay in the circle and get to the middle! First one to reach the middle won.
|The hermit crab race track!|
|One Foot Island through the inches deep lagoon|
When we headed back to shore the clouds began to thicken. I started to feel hot, but was puzzled why since the temperature was cooler and I was sure I'd covered my body in suntan lotion.
To my horror I looked over at my back and it resembled the color of a well-done lobster. My worst nightmare had come true; I forgot to
put suntan lotion on my back!! Ooops! In only a matter of hours the sunburn
went from uncomfortable to bad to painful to feeling as if my back had been lit
on fire! Being that Aitutaki was a tiny island I had no way of finding any type
of relief for this very painful burn. And to make matters worse I was flying
back to Seattle via Rarotonga then to LAX and then home to Seattle, totaling
nearly 20+ hours of traveling!!!
|Thickening clouds as we leave One Foot Island|