Sunday, January 18

Stormy weather, muddy waters

We recently had some wet weather. Nothing like the floods in Fiji, eleven dead, thousands evacuated from their homes and many tourists stranded. The Cook Islands are usually much luckier with their weather and I hope that continues.
But when we get heavy rain a lot of soil makes its way into the lagoon. The new stadium site in Nikao is a humungous source of loose dirt at the moment and the muddy water flows via various ditches and culverts into the airport drainage channel and then straight into the lagoon at the sea wall. But it’s not the only one. The Takuvaine stream outflow by Trader Jacks at Avarua harbour is another waterway that looks like liquid mud in rainy weather. The soil probably comes from taro patches and fields further inland but really heavy weather yields a bumper crop of plastic bottles and other rubbish.
Still, that’s better than Muri lagoon where the Titikaveka pig farms are still dumping pig poo into streams which feed straight into the lagoon.
At least Nikao dirt is clean dirt! As you can see from the video, fine weather and a high tide or two soon clear the surface mud away but the lagoon is fairly shallow and not very pretty for the most part. That’s probably an effect of all the run-off over the years. It’s a problem that the environment service is aware of. They used to run adverts warning people that mud in the lagoons kills off coral, but it’s difficult to know what they can do about it.