Reached Aitutaki today and luckily the sea calmed down enough so we could safely anchor outside the coral reef and take a tender to shore.
Because it was a Saturday there weren't any tours offered by the cruise line. This was something different about the south seas where missionaries did such a good job of converting locals to Chrisitanity that many people don't work on Saturday or Sunday. As a result, we spent the day on our own, stopping first at the ATM for New Zealand dollars for tomorrow's tour. We then stopped at Arutanga CICC Church (CICC = Cook Island Christian Church).
After the church, Elizabeth took us on a mini-death march to the Piraki Lookout, stopping only briefly to catch my breath and remove the burrs from weeds stuck to my Holland America bag and pants.The lookout was primarily to the east away from the ship, though we managed to find a few glimpses of the ship in the other direction on our way back downhill.
Elizabeth made the walk much more interesting by pointing out the taro plants, overripe coconuts, and other plants which I can't remember the names of. Overall it seemed like it should be simple to live off the land, especially supplemented by some of the abundant fish from the ocean. It would be nice if there were some kind of Airbnb that would support you in spending a month or more learning to live off the land on an island like this.
We ended the day at the Pacific Resort. I'd thought of going snorkeling there but the coral area, where snorkeling would be best, was very far from shore so I didn't bother. Instead we found a table with a very scenic view of the beach and coral encased lagoon that surrounds the island. Very nice for viewing but didn't look that good for snorkeling. It was also a bit windy and there were some waves, especially outside the coral area.
The walk back to the ship seemed fairly long as well as hot and humid. We spent 15 to 30 minutes sitting in the tender boat waiting for it to fill up before heading back to the ship - some of the most uncomfortable time of the day in a small cramped, hot, humid boat.