Sunday, March 29, 2009

Family Time in Yakima

Saturday was nephew Trevor's 18th birthday and we celebrated with ice cream cake at Dennis & Raeleen's.

Here's Colton showing us his new radio controlled car. He modified it by installing a weed eater motor, so now it goes extremely fast.

Danielle with Trevor as he opens his cards and gifts.

Trevor & Dennis watching Colton as he lights the candles on the ice cream pie.

Here are Amber & Sage relaxing in the dining room at Mom & Dad Cheek's house.
Amber is the newest addition to the family, moving in last October.

A Quick Trip to Seattle

Friday we decided to make a quick trip to Seattle to visit a few friends. Unfortunately we didn't have much time as we needed to get back to Yakima on Saturday for a birthday party.

We did get to visit Rich & Diane Graber and their twin daughters Sydney & Lexi.

The girls are as cute as ever and we always enjoy getting to see them.

Dave also enjoyed checking out Rich's new Victory motorcycle.

While Kelly was more excited about Rich's other Victory.

Friday night we stayed with our friend Randy in Monroe and enjoyed catching up with him over some pizzas and college basket ball.
Saturday on our way back to Yakima, we stopped in Sammamish to see Matt & Becky and their new son Henry James who was born on February 25th. He's a real cuttie and we can't wait to see him again.
Here's Dave with Henry.
A group shot at Matt & Becky's house with Randy, Becky, Dave, holding Henry, Kelly & Matt.

Matt, Henry & Becky seeing us off from their front porch.

Returning to the States

After being gone for 7 months we are very excited to get home. We had a great season in Antarctica and will be heading back down again in September.

The time we had traveling around New Zealand and the Cook Islands was wonderful. We had 14 flights from the time we left until we returned. We stayed in 11 cities in New Zealand and drove through countless little towns. The beauty of New Zealand is so diverse, and the Cook Islands are breath taking.

We are now ready for our summer time in Bend with a few side trips planned over the next couple months.

Leaving the Cook Islands

The grounds of Aretai Beach Villas, where we stayed on Aitutaki.
Pam & Dave sitting in the airport at Aitutaki.

The little airport at Aitutaki..

Our Air Rarotonga plane has arrived.

A parting shot of two of the outer islands of Aitutaki as we fly back to Rarotonga.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

On Sunday the 15th we flew to the island of Aitutaki. We rented a two bedroom villa on the beach which we shared with Pam for the next six nights.

Aitutaki is a small island with 15 tiny islets all surrounded by a coral reef which creates a beautiful lagoon of various shades of blue.

The beaches on these islands are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the world.

This photo is of one of the outer islands in the lagoon seen as we were flying in. The top of the photo is the open ocean

The day we landed it was overcast and raining. It remained that way for the first two days and rain was forecasted for the entire week.

Fortunately the sky cleared on Tuesday night and we had great weather from then on.

Here's Dave getting off the plane in Aitutaki.

Christianity was introduced to the islands in the early 1820's and is a very important part of the islanders lives. This is an old Church in the town of Arutanga.

There were beautiful gardens at Aretai Beach Villas, the place we were staying. Kelly took a few photos of some of the flowers.

This is the villa we were staying in. We snorkeled and kayaked right out our front door.

Here we are riding in the back of a truck on the way to the wharf. We did a lagoon cruise on Wednesday with Aitutaki Adventures.
It was an awesome day of snorkeling and checking out some of the islands in the lagoon.

Here's Dave snorkeling in the lagoon. We saw loads of fish and giant clams.
Unfortunately these photos don't do justice to the color of the water. It was so clear and a beautiful indigo blue.

Dave coming up for a rest.

Kelly & Dave on Honeymoon Island.

This island, Moturakau was used during "Survivor: Cook Islands".

Here's Kelly & Pam checking out one of the huts from Survivor on Moturakau.

The island of Moturakau

Kelly & Dave on Moturakau

Dave on the island of Tapuaetai, also known as One Foot Island. This is where we stopped for lunch.

Kelly in the lagoon at One Foot Island.

Kelly, Pam & Dave on One Foot Island.

Dave & Kelly on One Foot Island. That's our boat in the background.

Our boat from Aitutaki Adventures.

Kelly & Pam enjoying cocktails on our deck.

Dave on the beach at sunset.

Sunset from our place on Amuri Beach.

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

We had a nice time during our visit to Rarotonga. We spent the first week at Muri Beach in this house we rented with our friends Pam & Mary.

It was a nice house with plenty of space and a 30 second walk to the beach.

On our last night there, Saturday the 14th, we did an Island Night. This is the Cook Islands version of a Luau where we had a large buffet meal and a show. There are numerous shows around the island at the various resorts, but we chose to go to the show at the Edgewater Resort on our last night, as we heard they had the best food.

Here are a few photos of our Island Night performers.

This photo of us was taken at the Edgewater Resort.

This photo was taken at the Saturday market. This is a great place to buy local fruit & produce as well as souvenirs.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

We've been having a wonderful week here on Rarotonga. We were a bit concerned about the fact that March is suppose to be the rainiest month, but so far all we've had is maybe a 15 minute shower each day. Other than that the weather has been great.

Here are some shots from our favorite beach. It's about a 15 minute drive up the road, but well worth it. There is also great snorkeling there.

Yesterday Dave spent 1/2 an hour just watching the same Octopus.... it was very interesting.

Here we are with Mary & Pam at sails restaurant last night.

Dave in the crystal clear waters of Aroa Beach

Kelly in the water at Aroa Beach.

Kelly at Aroa Beach with some friendly fish.

Dave & Kelly in the water at Aroa Beach.

Catching some sun at Aroa Beach.

Dave & Kelly at Deli Licous Cafe in Muri Beach, Rarotonga

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Sunday the 8th we flew from Auckland to Rarotonga, the largest island in the Cook Islands. We have rented a house here with our friends Pam & Mary, who we work with in Anarctica.

Dave & Kelly checking out Muri Beach where we are staying

Pam, Dave & Kelly on Muri Beach

A crab we found on the beach one night.

Dave on Black Rock Beach

Black Rock Beach

Pam & Dave on Black Rock Beach

The Lagoon at Muri Beach

The waves breaking over the reef at Muri Beach

Dave on Muri Beach

Kelly at Muri Beach

Kelly, Dave, Mary & Pam at Are Hine, the house we are renting

The beach in front of our place

Dave & Kelly at Muri Beach

The Mountains of Rarotonga

Pam, Mandy, Mary, Dave & Scott in the kitchen at "Are Hine", the house we are renting.

Scott, Kelly, Pam, Mary & Mandy as we were making dinner. Scott and Mandy are staying down the road from us and came over for dinner last night.