Cook Islands

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By Pacific Divers

Rarotonga -embrace the warm tropical air and romance of this delightful South Pacific island

cook_is3The quintessential Rarotongan holiday conjures images of coconut lined beaches, white sand slipping into a turquoise lagoon, cocktails at sunset, the embrace of the warm tropical air and the romance of a delightful South Pacific island. But there is another side to this Pacific hideaway that divers are beginning to rediscover.
Rarotonga is a small island rising steeply from the depths in the middle of the Pacific. It was forged in the past by volcanic action which now forms a lush green mountain forest skirted by a fringing reef that dips deep into the blue Pacific. The perfect backdrop for any water sports enthusiast.
Rarotonga’s high features are impressive and give a dramatic backdrop to life on the beach. Into the blue and things stay just as spectacular. Rarotonga is skirted by a small lagoon with good snorkel and dive opportunities but the really good stuff is just over the edge of the reef. Under the water Rarotonga starts with a gentle gradient but starts to slope with more determination once the drop off is reached. Each of the sides of the island, North, South, East and West offer a distinct dive environment and have their own personality with three dimensional terrains, plunging walls and shallow outcrops all within easy distance of each other.
What this means for the travelling diver is a huge variety of dive sites to choose from and the opportunity to dive daily. Diving almost every day regardless of weather is a benefit of coming to Rarotonga because of the size of the island, when the conditions are bad on one side, dive sites on the other side will be sheltered and calm.
There are few currents and surge is minimal for most dive sites. The diving temperature is tropical making the diving comfortable with a world of blue to explore. Rarotonga’s greatest claim to great diving is the visibility which has to be seen to be believed, it very rare not to see the surface on any dive (unless you’re in a cave!) with visibility ranging from 25 metres on a bad day to 60 to 70 metres if you get lucky.
All manner of things await the diver in Rarotonga. The naturalist will see fish life in their natural environment ranging from colourful parrot fish, wrasses, lionfish, grouper, angelfish, surgeons and more. Sharks, turtles and rays frequent particular sites and for those lucky enough humpback whales can cruise overhead or be seen breaching during a surface interval.
Rarotonga offers caverns and swimthrough fun for the beginner and advanced. Some basic wreck dives are also available and

offer a good chance to search for lionfish and giant moray. When available the southern passages provide a real experience, deep gashes in the reef between the lagoon and the outer ocean which can be at times a few metres wide and over 20 metres deep.
And for those who love the feeling of being on the edge of the world, Rarotonga offers epic drop offs. From 30 metres you can see the beginnings of a drop towards two kilometres. Night diving couldn’t be easier with great visibility, no currents and smooth surfaces. All the diver has to do is shine the torch and let the search for the small colourful things begin.
If you’ve been wondering where to learn to dive or even if you want to experience the feeling of breathing underwater, Rarotonga provides the perfect place to begin your diving adventure. Whether you choose to Discover SCUBA or complete the PADI Open Water Diver Course your first dive experience will be amongst friendly people in easy conditions and the great visibility and warm water is bound to get you hooked on diving. For certified divers looking to advance there are plenty of adventure dives just a short boat ride away, including wrecks, caverns, deep terrain and night diving spots. Training is also available up to the rescue and leadership levels with all dive centres on Rarotonga being PADI 5 star or Gold Palm rated.
Whatever your choice there is something for everyone in the Cook Islands.

 

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