We went to 'One Foot Island' on the 'Yellow Boat Lagoon Cruise' with 'Aitutaki Adventures' in early October 2008. This is a wonderful day trip where you can enjoy the lagoon's sheer beauty at its best (the word 'paradise' springs to mind). In fact, we liked it so much that we went twice on two consecutive days. Our first trip was complimentary, as it was included in our stay of more than five nights at Tamanu Beach Resort, but we very willingly paid the charge of NZ$65 per person for the second time.
After breakfast, we were picked up by a very friendly elderly driver who turned out to be the boat owner's Dad. As chairman of the island's Maori Council, retired school principal and historian, he was the perfect tourist guide and we learnt a lot about the local education system on the short drive to the harbour. There, we met Puna, the yellow boat's owner, captain and 'managing director' (as it reads on his business card) in one person, as well as his lovely wife Tutu (meaning 'photo' as Puna proudly explained). It turned out that Puna has family ties to Tamanu Beach Resort being the owner's brother-in-law. Not surprising, as everybody on the island seems to be related somehow.
After Puna's short introduction about the lagoon's underwater world we set off for our 'lagoon cruise', together with a group of some 15 other tourists from different resorts. Our initial aim was to spot Green Turtles (which looked rather orange) and we could see a few diving up and down in the distance.
Our first destination on the cruise was 'Honeymoon Island', with a good nearby snorkelling spot. If snorkelling isn't your thing, alternatively, Puna drops you off at one end of the island for a promenade along its white sandy shores. When reunited later at the meeting point, both snorkellers and promenaders were treated to a lovely refreshment consisting of juice, doughnuts, homemade banana cake and fresh tropical fruit – all handed out with a warm smile by Tutu who doesn't stop encouraging you to keep eating until everything has gone.
Next, our journey led us past the two tiny islands of Moturakau and Rapota, where, at the time, the tv series 'Shipwrecked – Battle of the Islands' was being filmed for the umpteenth time. We all waved when we saw a few people on the shore in the distance.
Shortly before One Foot Island we stopped at 'Sandbanks' which isn't really an island, but, as the name suggests, a huge formation of sandbanks and a perfect swimming spot. You can just dive into the sea directly from the boat and swim along the shore leaving all your belongings on the ship whilst captain Puna slowly navigates the yellow boat to the other end a little further and waits for the swimmers to catch up. Before going back on board we had a quick rest on the sand and met a camaraman from the Shipwrecked crew whose only task was to sit in the sunshine next to a 'still shot' camera transmitting pictures of the island in the distance. What a lovely job!
One Foot Island, our final destination, is famous for the stamp you can get in your passport at their tiny post office. It's also another great spot for swimming and snorkelling and we had a good half hour in the warm shallow water before Puna served a late BBQ lunch which he had prepared in a purpose-built little hut by the beach. There were even two tables with benches in the shade. Lunch was simply gorgeous! Puna had grilled fresh tuna which was served buffet-style together with a fantastic selection of homemade salads, bread, more fresh fruit and cold drinks. Just like his wife on our first refreshment break, he encouraged us to come back to the buffet several times and help ourselves until we were absolutely stuffed!
Time passed very quickly on this exciting day trip and unfortunately, we had to head back after our scrumptious meal. Still on the boat, we decided to do the same trip again on the following day and made our booking directly with Puna once we had reached the harbour.
We highly recommend this trip and suggest you bring along the following: swimming and snorkelling gear, reef shoes, all possible measures of sun protecion (sun glasses, hat, long-sleeve shirt, high-factor sun cream etc.), insect repellent, a small water bottle and tissues for the only toilet on the tour, which is situated behind the post office on One Foot Island. Beach towels are provided on the boat. Don't forget your passport and your camera!
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