Kia Orana koutou,

Yet another eye-opening day, it’s been jam-packed with knowledge and I’m soaking it all up like a sponge.

The EsperanzaI began the day with a meeting with Sir. Frederick Goodwin, the Queens Representative here in the Cooks. He was clued-up on the effects here and climate change and totally supportive of our campaigning. He told me a great story about the Boxing Day horse races that were held on Muri Beach back in the 1940’s, these races went for years and were great fun. No jockey weight limit, no saddles and lots of sunshine. A very memorable moment for Sir.Frederick was when the horses had to turn a sharp bend and sometimes lost the jockey in the process, not everyone always made it to the finish line. Now, the water is much higher and tides less predictable and unfortunately the Boxing Day races are no more. I enjoyed the company of Sir. Frederick and his wife, Lady Goodwin immensely – I got a bowl of beautiful oranges they grow in their garden when I left too.

Then it was off to 88FM, the local “hip” station in Raro; great fun. G-Dub, the DJ, was really welcoming and talked heaps on air about the Esperanza’s Pacific tour, people are definitely interested, especially the youth. They’re well aware of what’s happening around them and want to know what they can do to get involved. There are strong ties between The Cooks and NZ, it’s hard to find a local who doesn’t have some whanau residing at home or who has been there at some point. They’re grateful and happy about us reaching out and surprised that we care. Of course we care!

I then went to lunch with the Honorable Prime Minister, Jim Marurai. He is a fabulous man and we discussed life in the islands and the effects happening. He is also very welcoming of us here. He is very happy especially about the voyage out to the islands of Pukapuka. I explained to him our Sign On campaign in NZ and presented him with a t-shirt – he liked the whole concept.

I’m currently sitting at my great-aunt Dot’s café and a group of local teens have come to sit with me. They know about climate change, they care about it and want to keep their home beautiful and preserve their culture. They tell me that the lagoons are nowhere near as beautiful as they used to be and they came and saw the Esperanza on the open boat yesterday. They were here during the cyclone season in 2005 and tell me it was very frightening, not knowing what would be left and when it would end.

Off to Aitutaki tonight, 18 hours travel on the ocean, this is going to be a testing time for sea-sickness but I’m ready with my Sea Bands! It’s mostly over-night so fingers crossed I can sleep through it the majority of it. I am really looking forward to doing groundwork in Aitutaki. I met Papatua, the Tourism Minister last night at the onboard function and he has already got an interview set-up with the head of tourism on the island to discuss the links between tourism and climate change.

Thanks again for the great support. Stay tuned and I’ll be in touch when I next hit land!

Keisha x