We sailed into Rarotonga on Monday 2nd June, which is where I've been since. Unfortunately that day was a public holiday, we had planned to arrive the next morning but with consistent 25 knot tail winds all the way from Bora Bora the trip took less time than expected.
Rarotonga is a great place and I'd thoroughly recommend anyone looking for a nice holiday destination to give it a go. Especially from New Zealand, flights are cheap, the local currency is the NZ dollar, and accommodation ranges from cheap on-the-beach bungalows where you take care of everything yourself, to backpacker lodges, to 5 star resorts. The beaches are pleasant and clean, the snorkelling is good, and food and most other amenities are cheap.
The main purpose of the stay here was to fix the leaking stern tube. Repairs were effected in the water, in the end it became apparent that the cause of the leak was that the engine had been installed too low, causing the shaft to rub against the tube. This broke through the bottom of the tube eventually, as well as putting some wear and corrosion on the shaft. So the temporary solution was to move the shaft seal further aft so that the damaged section of the tube was inside the seal rather than behind it, and the leak has now stopped. I will have to replace both the stern tube and the shaft in Vanuatu but since I'm planning on hauling out there for 6 months anyway, there will be plenty of time to do it there and the current repairs will hold until then.
After getting the repairs done the wind kicked around to the north for a bit, delaying our planned departure date, which was to be last Thursday, 12th June. So I treated myself to a couple of days stay in a resort on the other side of the island, because with the wind from the north and the harbour entrance facing north, staying on board the boat was a bit bouncy.
In the end after shopping around for last minute deals on rooms for a bit ("what rooms do you have for 2 nights starting tonight"), we ended up with a half price rate on a room at the Little Polynesian Resort. Can't complain really, outdoor spa bath and king size bed so I didn't particularly care what the weather was doing.
The view from the back deck of the resort was a bit like this (OK you're probably all sick of sun-and-sand photos by now, but here's another one anyway):
Anyway I have much more to report about Rarotonga but I'll leave that to the pages in the cruising wiki.
Planned departure from here now is tomorrow, which for us will be Monday 16th June. Sadly that means I'll spend my birthday at sea rather than on a tropical island as originally planned, but at least I'll have the wind and waves to help me celebrate. Next destination will be Palmerston and then Suwarrow atols, in the northern Cooks, and then on to Samoa.