Slabs and stones in Rarotonga

Couldn’t find a home for it, published via Medium

Photo by me

Guidebooks promised an unrivalled honeymoon destination — an island ringed by passionate seas and bathed with a love as fierce as the green mountains at its core. The only problem was, the girlfriend and I weren’t even engaged.

The Cook Islands are one of two places on Earth that naturally produce black pearls (the other’s Tahiti) and upon landing in Rarotonga it was clear the trip would be a gentle nudge toward matrimony. The shiny black stones are everywhere — from the athletic finger of the wedded Montanan yoga instructor who’d arrived for a month-long trip seven years ago and never left, to the bountiful jewellery store windows that dot the handful of streets comprising the island’s sleepy capital, Avarua (population approx. 5,000).

Romance aside there was an ulterior motive behind our destination. A speck in the South Pacific, the islands are lashed with swell year-round, and reef passes (not for beginners) fashion swells into dream-like waves. Thankfully the Colgate-blue lagoon inside the reef offers unsurpassed snorkeling — the perfect antidote to a morning of walking balmy streets. Google “Flame angelfish” or “Moorish idol” for examples of guys you’ll bump into on any given dip.

Read the full piece at