A Rarotonga Expedition Begins: Rain Dog

Welcome to the Global Treks Rarotonga Expedition! The majestic mountain-covered island in the South Pacific where insect-eating geckos climb on the walls, crystal clear waters align the island's main road, roosters say hello in the morning, dogs happily accompany you on your way home from the beach, and most importantly, you eat dinner and make friends with your Rarotongan Adventure Family.

Today, those of us researchers who arrived early had the first half of the day to ourselves as we eagerly awaited the rest of the adventure team's arrival. A couple of us went to the gym, some of us relaxed at home, and the rest of us went to the beach.

At the beach researchers Kayalin, Chris, Augie, Jake, Camila, Andrew, and I went snorkeling. We had great conversation, laughed, lost Andrew’s Frisbee, and brought home Rain Dog. Rain Dog is a cute light-brown pup that suddenly appeared on the beach to say hello and hang out. By “cute” I mean she dug a hole in the sand and seemed to enjoy repeatedly rolling around in it. When we left the beach she followed us back home. At first we did not think anything of it, but little did we know that we were not allowed to encourage animals to come onto the property. Which makes sense, because by the time the entire team went to bed she was still laying outside against one of the doors waiting to play.

While waiting the final hour before the rest of the team arrived, we hung out by the pool for a bit. Rain Dog wanted to join us, but she was too dirty to allow in for a swim. Instead, she wagged her tail the whole time at the gate. After some lunch, we played the card game Jess, named after adventurer Jessica M. It is a fun game with no name, and therefore is named after the person who teaches it to you.

Then, the hour arrived and the Research Team was officially complete! Once they settled in, the work began, but I assure you there is still more fun to be had. The adventure guides introduced us to the island giving us pointers for what we should do while we were out exploring, and gave us a brief orientation about the job we are to do while we are here. There are two teams: the field guide team and the cultural guide team. All of us will be working separately on the jobs that we were tasked with, but because of the wealth of knowledge and the growth that comes along with collaboration, we will also be helping each other out along the way any time we can. We are a family after all.

Tomorrow we will trek off to the Cook Islands Marine Park and the Whale and Wildlife Center. There are many adventures to be had on this trip and today is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more updates on this wild ride!

Blog submitted June 26, 2016 by Lauren Murphy (Team Rarotonga)