Wish You Were Here: Aitutaki, Cook Islands, By Night

by Owen James Burke


Photo: David Rofall.

Aitutaki (aka Araura, Ararau and Utataki) is a 7-square-mile island ringed by a lush triangular barrier reef and a soft white sand lagoon. Despite it being the second-most visited of the Cook Isles, there’s not a lot happening on Aitutaki, and maybe that’s why we like it.

The lagoon is a flats-fisherman’s delight, and surfing, though not advisable by most accounts, can be a blessedly solitary experience in the Cook Islands, where you’ll often find yourself alone in the lineup. If you succeed in navigating the shallow urchin-strewn reefs and punchy, hollow waves patrolled by ‘the men in grey’, you’ll quickly find out why. Not many medical facilities around, either (look at the map below; in the Cook Islands, you’re out there). Watch the tides, and bring booties–that goes for anglers and surfers alike.

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