Jennifer Darnell

Joined July 2016
  • Day14

    Last day

    July 22, 2017 in the United States

    We had a great day. We snorkeled, we saw eels, lion fish etc. We had a great lunch and dinner and generally didn't care that we didn't have a room. Then the airport happened. I am standing in a long New Zealand air line while dave was turning in the car. I notice that I signed up for frequent flyer and can skip the line but I need Dave to show his face so I wait. Then I hear "Who has the smallest hands?! Evie, Major, let me see them."

    I turn and say can we drop our bags off first. He says ok.

    Then he asks us to walk to the rental car Dropbox bc he left his phone in the car and turned in the keys. Evie was able to get them with little problems.

    We go thru security. "Ma'am, is this your backpack?! (Its Daves)"

    No, I tell them and point to Dave.

    Turns out he forgot the sunscreen, bug spray, and his favorite hot sauce from here was in the bag. All trashed now. Still giggling at Dave. He claims the phone thing threw him off.
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  • Day12

    We started our goodbyes

    July 20, 2017 in Cook Islands

    We came back to shipwreck when our night snorkel was cancelled. We listened to great music, played games, and the kids caught crabs and freaked out the New Zealand people. Dave and I giggled a lot watching that. My Savannah Ghost Crab training has been passed on.

    We said our goodbyes to Alone. Our favorite of the 9 sisters on the island. The others have been great but she is quite possibly the best person I have ever met. Her name may be Alone but she is not Alone, she says.

    We gave our hugs and teared up. She asked us if we could just move here. We told her that Evie was jealous that the local elementary school has a whale watch tower on the playground and a marine biology team. They have had a few humpback sightings so far.

    We will miss this place
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  • Day12

    Tennis and hiking

    July 20, 2017 in Cook Islands

    I guess having ping pong in the kitchen has expanded to our family playing tennis. We had fun learning. Major didn't want to stop. Evie doesn't understand letting a ball bounce first bc of softball, so she felt weird playing it. Dave should take up tennis, and I still suck at it.

    We headed to the waterfall. Which isn't there bc it hasn't been raining. Kids were disappointed. The drive over to it was beautiful and the kids did part of the muddy, slippery, cross island hike. Which they loved. Major wants to do it again tomorrow.Read more

  • Day10

    The stars

    July 18, 2017 in Cook Islands

    It's been many nights and a few different locations but one thing that hasn't changed is the intense beauty of the stars here. They are like nothing we have ever seen. Just belts of them Wish I had the stargazer app on my phone to learn the names. Just ridiculous. Not a single night where we don't look up and say wow.Read more

  • Day10

    Rarotongan

    July 18, 2017 in Cook Islands

    It's growing on all of us. We took part in feeding the fish, which was crazy. The snorkeling at the hotel is the best I have been around. A ton of variety. Colorful and Major can stand up anywhere. He is darting around so confidently going after huge fish, it makes me happy. If you want your kid to fall in love with snorkeling, this is the place to do it. They even provide wetsuits for all.

    Now the rooms are not perfect and kind of small. I expect this in another country so I am not bothered. But I wont have the craziness I had, so I am grateful for just about anything.

    Downside, we bought island wifi and they try to make you buy their own wifi. So we won't be on as much as we try to eat up the rest of our island plan.
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  • Day10

    Well sometimes tripadvisor is wrong

    July 18, 2017 in Cook Islands

    We rented a 9.8 rated place. It had everything you needed. The snorkel gear in the room was great, local phone, stuff in the fridge, a pool. But let's just say that Americans haven't really rated it.

    The room was clean and tidy, and we happily played games even though I wasn't thrilled with what we got. Then we went to sleep.

    We have slept in many different places, been without glass etc, we have roughed it for some standards. So I am no newbie to island stuff and sounds.

    This was like sleeping in a tent. In the most crowded barrio ever. We woke up from every noise imaginable. Then the barking dog came. I don't mean dog barking, I mean out right 3 hours straight of barking. Then babies and people coughing etc. The walls are too thin and the windows are too large (no glass) to ever keep any noise out much less the kind of thing we endured. I have been up since 230am.

    The next morning we started our laundry while we waited for the office to open, many other guests mumbled that the night had been super "wild".

    We nicely formed our argument and stayed firm. I will say they gave us every penny back and were extremely nice.

    But everything is a blessing bc we ended up getting a deal at The Rarotongan resort and the kids are super happy. It has kids club, pool, own marine reserve, kids night snorkeling etc. I am happy. Dave feels like he is in Vegas. It seriously isn't that large of a resort, or all that crowded. We passed on booking it previously bc we heard it was dated, not worth the money, we would have a standard hotel room, and has a 7 point rating on trip advisor.

    Interesting factoid- dogs are illegal on Aitutaki. There is several different stories as to why, but no clear answer.
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  • Day9

    Koru cafe

    July 17, 2017 in Cook Islands

    This morning we kayaked. We noticed the Koru Cafe had a Philly Cheese lunch special so Major insisted we go there for lunch. On the walk over we enjoyed watching our hotel cut down the coconuts for the day.

    This beautiful coffee shop/lunch place had such great food.

    More importantly, they had children's books. Great classics that are more obscure and some New Zealand ones.Read more

  • Day8

    The biggest part of our Day

    July 16, 2017 in Cook Islands

    Evie has been wanting to crack a coconut this entire trip. She has tried almost daily. Yesterday, we learned how. Today, Dave got one and cracked it. He was very proud of himself and Evie was ecstatic. She also left half on our porch and a rooster grabbed it. She spent 15min watching a rooster eat a coconut.Read more

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