Cook Islands Expedition 2006
Rarotonga - The 'down south' island

From the northwest

From the west

From Jim: I will be departing from my home on Mt. Desert Island and traveling to The Island of Rarotonga in The Cook Islands on March 3rd and returning three weeks later on March 25th. I have been invited to join the humanitarian non-profit organization Global Volunteers based in St. Paul MN. I will be a volunteer team member providing support for many ongoing island projects. I hope to be working in the schools on the newly developed English Literacy Program as well as an opportunity to use some of my Paramedic skills within the island's healthcare system.

My adventure will be filled with long days and hard work BUT I also plan to operate my portable ham radio station from there during my time off. I have already been in contact with some of the local ham radio operators who are looking forward to my visit. For more information on this, go directly to this link:

Similar to The Hurricane Katrina Trip in October, I will be posting updates and photos on via my good friend Jean McKillop at DowneastHost.Com — though internet access from The Cooks is not quite as advanced.

This is an exciting opportunity for me to become involved in assisting the peoples of The Cook Islands to develop and grow as they strive to become more self-sufficient and prosperous...and especially in a drop-dead gorgeous part of our world!

Addition information and updates are posted online at our websites: and here at Lab-Rover.Com.

More info, too, at our blog: Cook Islands Adventure,
and photos are here: PHOTOS.

Rarotonga - Emerald Jewel of the Pacific

Information courtesy:

With its jagged peaks and deep valleys, fertile slopes of red earth and sparkling aquamarine lagoon, it is the classic 19th century European ideal of paradise. It was one of the last of the Cook Islands to be visited by European ships and has always been a favorite of sailors and merchants. Many old South Sea hands consider it the most beautiful island in the Pacific.

The island stands 14,750 feet (4500m) above the ocean floor. It is 20 miles (32k) in circumference. At a depth of 13,000 feet (4000m) the volcano is some 31 miles (50k) in diameter. The highest peak is 2140 feet (658m) above sea level and the island is surrounded by a lagoon which extends several hundred yards to the reef which then slopes steeply to deep water.

Around the central mountainous area of this beautiful island is a narrow band of agricultural terraces and flats which, in turn, is encircled by a ring of swamps used largely for growing taro.

The climate is equable. Rarotonga is the second furthest south of the Cooks group and is almost exactly opposite Honolulu in relative latitude -- just inside the Tropic of Capricorn. It enjoys temperatures of between 64F (18C) and 82F (28C) in the southern winter which is May to October, and between 70F (21C) and 84F (29C) in the summer which spans November to April. The wet season is normally January to early May. Severe weather is seldom experienced. However, the El Nino weather pattern in early 2005 and an increase in sea temperatures near the Equator resulted in five cyclones in three weeks in February 2005.

The central mountainous region is unpopulated and its highest parts consist of cloud forest, an ecological wonderland. This area begins at about 1300 feet (400m) and contains many species of plants unique to the Cook Islands. These include the ascarina (kaiatea ko'u), the glossy tongue fern and the Rarotongan freycinetia (kiekie), a plant similar to pandanus (ara).

More info on the Cook Islands in general may be found at the following spots: