nikki wynn swimming with a sea turtle in Rarotonga, cook islands south pacific

Swimming With Sea Turtles!!!

There are times we struggle to see more than two feet in front of us and yet, I feel like this is some of the best freediving we’ve ever had.  Maybe it’s the company, maybe it’s the never-ending good vibes that flow through this island and seemingly every person we meet on it.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I know Raro has taken a little piece of my heart that I will never get back.

I have a deep love for every country we have visited but this is the first time I feel like I want to dig my anchor in so deep, it takes us a few months to pull it back up.  We were given 90 days to explore the Cook Islands and we could have used at least 90 more.

In all fairness, we could have requested an extension, but the reality is we need to move on.  The cyclone season will be upon us before we know it and we have a lot of territory to cover.  Next stop is Aitutaki…the Bora Bora of the Cook Islands.

Mowgli (AKA Josh)

Should you make your way to Rarotonga (and you should) you can go out for a romp in the under-water jungle too.  Josh runs a tour company and can take anyone, of any level, out to meet his wild friends.  This isn’t a sponsored plug. Just a recommendation to visit our friend who has a deep love and respect for the ocean.

Find Josh on:

jason and nikki wynn snorkle and freedive rarotonga with josh

jason and nikki wynn snorkle and freedive rarotonga with josh

Killer Mosquitoes

Next to Alaska, that time we were mobbed by no-see-ums in the Bahamas and the Jurassic Park camp, the Papua (Wigmore’s) Waterfall Hike almost killed us.  Another ten seconds and I don’t think there would have been any flesh left on our bones.  Luckily, aside from the itchy welts, we were fine.  But you better believe we were never caught without our bug spray again!

DIY Bug Repellent – lemongrass, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus essential oils in a blend of jojoba or coconut oil is our fave.

jason and nikki wynn attacked by mosquito at waterfall

jason and nikki wynn romantic at waterfall


Serious Café Culture

We gave you a visual taste in the video, but the café culture in Rarotonga is seriously strong.  You can walk down the street and pick up “Austin, Texas Worthy Food” at a dozen places near the quay.  Don’t get me wrong, not every spot was foodie heaven, but overall our coffee, pub and food experiences made Raro a little sweeter in our hearts.

In our two weeks of exploring this small island we must have eaten at 30 different places.  Jason and I joke that “we spent more in 2 weeks on Rarotonga than we did in one year in French Polynesia!”  Surprisingly it’s almost true.  If I had to narrow it down to the perfect trifecta it’d go like this: Beluga for coffee and Breakfast, Lucky Trout for Lunch, Raro-Brewery for a quick beer sample and finish it off with a tasty sunset dinner with a killer view at Antipodes.

If you’re not on a sailboat you can call our new Raro Friends at Casa del Sol…they’re the ones that loaned us the car and introduced us to Beluga and Antipodes (and a crap-load of other awesome Rarotonga Must-Do’s).


scuba diving icon gone with the wynns FREEDIVING & SCUBA


🎶AWESOME tunes:



To see our full map with interactive pins, click here:

  • Anchorage: Avarua Harbour, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
  • Date:  June 2019



Ups, downs and all arounds, we share them all.  We’re able to do so because people like you show up each week, read, watch, comment, share, shop our gear store and put tips in our production jar.  If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.  Thank you for being a part of the journey!

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (52)

  • Sandy Martin

    Wow! wow! wow! this video and the tone of the whales is so so amazing, thank you so much….so beautiful and you capture it! I haven’t seen the one with the sharks yet but cannot wait….Love your blog and your utube videos, you two are so amazing. I’ll be retiring in a few years, my husband is already, and I simply want to go on a long road trip in the US and in Canada. you are both so fortunate to be on the same page as far as your dreams ago, we’ll see how it goes with mine. In the meantime, I travel as often as I can with my girlfriends and/or sisters!

    p.s….what would you recommend for an underwater camera? thanks, Sandy in Maine, US, have you been?

    • Curious Minion

      When in doubt, check the blog post for all the gear used making that vid. Under camera gear, the Sony RX10 has been there go-to for underwater filming for a long time. There’s a link for it here:
      Curious Minion

      • Sandy M Martin

        thank you

  • Bill

    Wow! Your best video yet. You should give up your day jobs and do this for a living 🙂

  • cqthy

    You have improved in your photography and compostion skills over the years. This was a delight!

  • Jeffrey Stenberg

    Jeffrey S cont., Fabulous photo-ography, you guys are getting really good.

  • Jeffrey S

    Living the dream again. One of these days you might wake up and have to go to a different job. Local music, love the dance ( shake what your ma ma have you). Thought you where flashing us at the water fall at first. It was very beautiful. Sea turtles and eals, super nice. I got to do that on Maui years ago. Eals, kind of scary but really shy and beautiful. Nikki you look like your becoming part fish, nice swimming.

  • Alex Cook

    Thank you for sharing your journey. The fun, fantasy and reality are a great mix of engagement. Seeing the waterfall fantasy pic followed by the reality of extreme mosquito infestation was priceless. Thank you.

  • Julie Pollock

    You have outdone yourselves! I am amazed by your free diving and overall swimming skills, all while getting great shots. The vibe of this place came shining through! Thanks!

  • Mary

    Sleepless night so I binged watched this morning. You amaze me! So many broken things on your boat, so many videos to edit and make beautiful for all of us. I’m exhausted watching you I think I can sleep now. Love you both! Love your positive attitudes! ❤️

  • JohnIrish

    Great video…. I enjoyed it very much. Great snorkeling ! I am amazed at how long you can hold your breath!

  • Judy Goodson

    What a magical adventure!

  • Jeanette Brennan

    Excellent video as usual. Those serene Sea Turtles are so calming to watch as they glide effortlessly in the beautiful ocean. It’s always tough when it’s time to move on but we love it when you do!! It’s awesome to be able to travel vicariously through you guys! Thank you. Stay well and happy! 🙏🧜‍♀️🧜‍♂️⛵️🌈

  • Cliff Craig

    Wow one of your best

  • Laura

    Yet another GREAT video. Amazing. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

  • Deb Turner

    Sea Turtles are the ballerinas of the ocean,how could anyone want to harm those beautiful creatures,they are amazing,thank you for sharing . Deb

  • YDion

    Beautiful underwater shots (the images starting at 17:54 when Nikki swims down and there are three swimmers at the surface are incredible). Lovely music too !
    Thanks for sharing…

  • Michael Magill

    What a amazing video, and thankyoufor letting us tag along. Loved seeing all the Turtles as well. Just when I think this can’t get any better it does every week. I won’t be stopping by the Waterfall either, never seen so many mosquito bites on someone so fast, wow they had you two both for lunch and dinner!! The various pictures you had were just amazing, keep this up and we will see u again next week, for another exciting video. Safe Seas and calm weather…….

  • Paul Coleman

    This video is superb, as are all the others I’ve seen, it’s like David Attenborough, except I feel like I’m there as well. I only found your videos a few days ago and they have had me transfixed. Hope you’re heading to Australia at some point.

  • Elizabeth Worrall

    We said Raro was the one place in the world we would definitely revisit and 20 years later we did. Glad you enjoyed it so much too. Wish I could swim like you. I have given up scuba for surface snorkeling. Would never make it as a free diver. Your underwater videos are wonderful. Happy sailing!

  • Mark

    Hi guys!

    As it’s been stated umpteen times in YouTube’s comment section & here on your site….your upload this week is just incredible. Don’t get me wrong, all of your vlogs contain beautiful scenery, incredible sites, and the editing is damn near close to perfection.

    However, this episode contains a powerful element, a perfect pinch of something that isn’t readily available….magic. I’ve watched it multiple times & yet, it’s like watching it for the first time over & over again.

    Great job.

  • Robert

    “Of his bones are coral made.
     Those are pearls that were his eyes.”
    — Wm. Shakespeare, The Tempest

    17:54 Snell’s Window,’s_window

    Thanks y’all

  • Debbie

    I have followed you two on and off through many of your RV and sailing adventures. But I have never commented before now. This was the most relaxing and wonderful video of the ones I have seen. I am sitting in bed and watching the turtles (of which I am a BIG fan) and am truly mesmerized. Like watching a relaxing meditation video. Loved it. Thanks!

  • Pamela


    • Steve Nicholls

      I agree! I love their vids! So much!!!

  • Bonnie

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventures. I look forward to watching them each week. This one was the best!

  • Bonnie

    Thanks for sharing your adventures, I look forward to watching them each week. This was one of the best! Love U guys!

  • Don Lyons

    OK, so, the Eels, don’t do that. I have multiple personalities, and none of us like the Eels. More lunches, hikes, coffee, Great underwater-shots, Friends, but no Eels, please.

  • Norman

    The waterfall scene was priceless (not the mosquitoes!) the food made me hungry and the turtles made me want to hug them!

  • Carol

    Sure would love having the recipe for your “all natural” bug repellent. Mosquitoes smell me coming a mile away, start tying on their bibs and getting out their forks and knives. I think I’ve even heard one or two of them hollering “mangia, mangia!!” Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Roger B

    That’s very interesting undersea geography. What is your estimate of the shell length of those very large sea turtles? They looked enormous. Thank you for showing us your mosquito bites.


    Wow! I LOVED this! The video footage, the music, and the heart. Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of the planet with us. 💕

  • Bill

    You two knocked this video out of the park! My wife and I have not missed any of your videos since the Alaska RV trip, and this one is the best by far! The underwater videography, Nikki’s sensuous aquabatics, and the personal time at the waterfall were all simply wonderful!
    Love it, love it!

  • Jim

    Incredible! Thank you for sharing. Leaves are falling here in the Midwest and we had three inches of snow for Halloween. Relish you time!

  • Barbara Carlson

    The photos are magnificent and I haven’t got to the video yet!
    Thank you so much for letting me see a world I will never see for myself. I have
    a terrible fear of the water so I stay away – safer for those around me! Love
    being near it tho and love watching sea creatures of all kinds. Thanks again!

  • Deborah Kerr

    Amazing video story and drone footage!! Wondering if any of these sea turtles return to nesting sites to lay their eggs on the beaches in the U.S.??? I’ve heard they travel very long distances… Keep up the GREAT work!! ⛵️⚓️🏝💛

  • bill domb

    In some areas we have issues of anchoring. WHY? Cuz turtles are eating up the sea grass.
    And why is that? Cuz the SHARK population’s been decimated. Like your shark fin soup and cartilage ‘for your bone and joint health’?

  • Lynda

    It’s an absolutely ahhhhhhmazing video on this end, it’s hard to imagine what you’re feeling, first hand! Keep up the AWESOME work and play!

  • Ward

    One of your best videos ever! Thanks!

  • Peter Millman

    I went scuba diving off of Cape Cod MA and saw really big sea turtles. I did it at least once a year. After seeing your wonderful video it brought back memories of those big eyed friends I swam with and wondering what they are doing now. I think in my next life I want to be a sea turtle. Lol! Thanks

  • Keith Carlton

    Every time I see you two, I wish I knew you better. You two are the most pleasant people I know, or wish I knew.

    When I first saw the picture above, where you two are holding each other, I imagined that with your cheerful selves, you were holding back a laugh, or at least a giggle.

    Cheers for now.

  • Marshall

    Your snorkeling adventures are amazing. I have very limited snorkeling adventures in the Caribbean, you make it look easy.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Beth

    Great video!! Your paring of snorkeling & the music is amazing. It literarily feels like I am right there with you. Thanks!!!!!

  • Charles Cornett

    Another wonderful video. The music captured me in this one, and I wish you would name the artists as they go if that’s a possibility. I thought I heard the amazing Kate Davis on this one. True?

  • Jan

    Happy you got up close and personal with the amazing sea turtles. Awesome pics! Thanks for sharing.

  • Hunter

    Juliet says – They definitely wouldn’t eat the turtles because they are helping the turtles.

  • Jennie Paul

    Spectacular vlog…beautiful the underwater life..the blue starfish.. I saw them in Figi .. so pretty…as was just everything..Thank you.

  • Doug Carlson

    WOW! Great pics as usual. THank you for sharing.


    Looks like you-all had a GREAT time , love the turtles …..Lots of love ( Land Locked ) James & Robin


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