Andrew Bryant – “A visit to the Cook Islands”

Andrew Bryant – “A visit to the Cook Islands”
by Andrew Bryant, 17 Feb 2022.

Having dated for a few months, I invited my “lady friend” Heather to spend three weeks exploring the Cook Islands back in November of 2000.

This happened because because another well-travelled friend said: “listen, Andrew, just go:  It’s like Tahiti was 30 years ago.  And what Hawaii was like 100 years ago.  You’d love it.  And you look like you need a holiday.”  Having just started the captive breeding program for Vancouver Island marmots (1997), completing my PhD (1998) and unsure of whether any of my conservation work would make any difference at all…this seemed like sage advice.

So off we went.  We left on Halloween of 2000.  We crossed the International Date line…so arrived on 1 Nov.

Twenty-two years later I had much fun digitizing old 35 mm slides and trying to learn this new Zoom technology.  I’m pleased at how the slides turned out.  The Zoom format presented some challenges because my internet connection failed on the flight between Rarotonga and Atiu,..but the audience stayed with with me as we continued to Aitutaki and Motorokau (leper island).

What a trip!  Rarotonga Flycatchers, Chattering Kingfishers, Atiu swiftlets, and so many other “once-in-a lifetime” species.  In the course of looking up Gerald McCormack in order to learn whether he’s still alive…

Well, not only is alive, he’s looking very fit and happy.  And so is the website that he built…which is the only way I could have identified many of the species you just saw.

Oh.  Heather and I married on 11 November 2002.  I figured that was one date  I could remember.