The expedition ship, carrying 83 passengers, was one of the two cruise ships that visited the Cook Islands last week.
Paul Gauguin, a frequent visitor to our shores, stopped over Rarotonga on Friday before heading to Aitutaki on Saturday.
However bad weather in Aitutaki prompted the captain of the luxury cruise liner, which operates in French Polynesia and the South Pacific, to call off the visit and head straight to Tahiti.
Stuart Henry of Cruise Cook Islands said Paul Gauguin arrived in the Cook Islands waters from Bora Bora, Tahiti.
The ship was initially scheduled to arrive into Rarotonga on Thursday.
“The weather was not the best, with swells up to two metres at the gangway which made it difficult for the passengers to get on the ship’s tender,” Henry said.
“But a big effort from the captain saw the passengers disembark the ship and set foot on Rarotonga.”
Henry said MS Caledonia Sky which carried passengers who were mostly interested in bird watching, snorkeling and diving, made a successful stopover in Atiu on Saturday.
He said they received a warm welcome on the island before some went bird watching while others took a tour around the island.
However, when MS Caledonia Sky arrived in Rarotonga on Sunday, the swells near Avatiu harbour were too high for the ship’s zodiac to transport passengers safely to the jetty, Henry said.
MS Caledonia Sky anchored near Arorangi to pick up two passengers heading off to Palmerston and drop off the immigration and biosecurity officers who came with them from Atiu.
“No passengers came ashore. They anchored for breakfast and lunch and some passengers got onboard the zodiac for whale watching while others snorkeled in the shallow waters nearby,” Henry said.
“The weather was ideal but the fact that Arorangi jetty was closed on Sunday, the passengers on the ship were unable to come ashore.”
MS Caledonia Sky headed off to Palmerston after lunch on Sunday and arrived safely on Monday at around midday.
“The passengers visited the Palmerston Island and had a walk through the township. Some did snorkeling before departing for Niue.”
MS Caledonia Sky will return to the Cook Islands waters early next month.
November 1 – Caledonia Sky – Palmerston, November 2 – Caledonia Sky – Aitutaki, November 3 – Caledonia Sky – Atiu, December 3 – Maasdam – Rarotonga, December 5 – Paul Gauguin – Aitutaki, December 6 – Paul Gauguin – Rarotonga