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Ultimate underwater adventure

Friday August 12, 2016 Written by Published in Hot on the Rock
Among the marine creatures that can be spotted on the Sea Scooter Safari tour are leatherback turtles. 16081201 Among the marine creatures that can be spotted on the Sea Scooter Safari tour are leatherback turtles. 16081201

I NOW know what it’s like to glide effortlessly beneath the sea, getting amongst the fish and coral and enjoying all the wonderful underwater sights Rarotonga has to offer.

 

That’s because last week I was given an opportunity to join Kave and Jules Tamariki, owners and operators of Ariki Holidays for their Sea Scooter Safari Tour.

A sea scooter is a safe and easy-to-use propulsion device powered by an electric engine, with an enclosed propeller that drives it through the water. It’s equipped with handles for the operator to grip and it travels at an easy speed, taking the hard work out of exploring life under the waves.

A keen snorkelling enthusiast, I eagerly seized the opportunity to try being propelled through the water effortlessly by a sea scooter while checking out the beautiful coral gardens and plentiful assortment of tropical fish.

The tour started with a brief run down from Kave on the operation of the “scooters,” then a short practice before venturing out onto the reef. Within minutes our group was well accustomed to the controls and at a speed of 4km we were leisurely able to enjoy Rarotonga’s abundant marine life without the normal physical exhaustion of having to swim.

Getting up close and personal with a moray eel was definitely the highlight for me, though the giant clams with their incredible colours were truly something amazing to see up close.

Our group stayed within the reef, but Ariki Adventure Tours also offers a more “adventuresome” tour from out in front of Trader Jacks through the Avarua passage. For the more experienced swimmers, there’s a chance of seeing leatherback turtles, reef sharks, and perhaps even a whale. Lying metres below you the wreck of the ship Matai stares back to the surface. The vessel sank against the reef on Christmas Eve 1915 and today, the only sign of its presence from land is the “boiler” which protrudes from the sea. Participating in this tour is definitely on my “to do” list.

Kave Tamariki is a great host, which makes it easy to have a good time and enjoy the experience to the full. Communication is always important when playing in the ocean, and Kave ensures everybody is confident and relaxed before starting the tour.

Ariki adventures also offer a night stand-up paddle board “cocktail” tour. The boards are illuminated from underneath, giving you an incredible night experience of the underwater world. What could be better than enjoying a paddle out into Muri and the surrounding motus then relaxing with a cocktail on the beach afterwards?

After sampling this adventure tour, it’s easy to understand how Ariki Holidays were voted one of National Geographic’s “10 Best Winter Trips for 2016.  As well as the Sea Scooter tour, Kave also offers the illuminated Night stand up paddleboard tours, guided mountain bike tours and a beginner to advanced level kite board experience.

They also have three rental bungalows in Muri, offering a complete package for the Rarotonga holiday experience.

Check Ariki Holidays on Facebook or at www.arikiholidays.com

                - Dan Johnston

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