MARCH 2016 || MICHAEL TUCK PHOTOGRAPHY
Monday March 07 2016
A recent trip to Rarotonga left me spellbound. The Island is a magical place filled with wonder and inspiration. There are times that I feel incredibly lucky and thankful that I am able to experience the heartbeat of places I visit, Rarotonga was no exception.
I have some incredible images to come, but thought I'd share a few images that will hopefully tell the story better than could be written. The images include a dog that rescued me from a mountain jungle, island lagoons, and of course, a beautiful girl...
DOG IN RAROTONGA
Monday March 14 2016
I love exploring, especially to take images. You know what kind of image you are going to get, but the journey can be challenging.
I’d heard about the amazing sunsets from the highest peak in Rarotonga and was determined to capture them. So while the ‘beautiful girl’ tucked herself into a spa bath with wine at the resort, I set off on my adventure.
Driving my scooter into the heart of the island I found what I assumed to be the mountain track entry.
Stepping inside, I was immersed in jungle darkness and began creeping along an almost indistinguishable path guided only by broken twigs, eventually coming upon a steep rock face.
Hearing rustling, I peer around and look into the face of a stray dog with a huge grin and tongue hanging out. With a hello and a pat on the head we were instant friends. Dog started walking ahead of me and looking back as to say “follow me”. He seemed to know the way, and I felt that he was there to show me.
I followed Dog through the jungle, sometimes him leading, sometimes me. The track was steep, jungly and difficult. After about an hour we reached a high ridge. I looked back and Dog was sitting there with a look of finality on his face – here was where he stops. I continued on without him along the ridge and soon came to a vertical wall with climbing ropes. Now I understood why Dog had ceased. I figured I was close to the top, and after one further push, I was there. I stood on top, panting and exhausted but delighted at the view. I had just made it in time to shoot the sunset.
After shooting it began to get dark quickly. I packed up and hurried down the steep precipice. As I returned towards the point at where I left my mountain friend, Dog was there waiting for me. I was happy to see him, but worried about the descent in the near dark. Once into the forest canopy I could barely see. I hurried, losing first Dog and then the track. I came to a 20 meter near vertical cliff with no way back. I called out to Dog but heard nothing so I threw off my gear, hoping to find it at the bottom, and slid down through the mud and sticks, gripping to the sides as much as possible, trying to slow my descent. I found my gear, but I was lost.
I continued down, without knowing where I was going calling out for Dog, hoping that he would pop his head up to show me the way. After much stumbling through darkness I found a stream to follow – through mud pits, thick brush and often doubling back on myself.
Just as I was beginning to fear a night in the jungle Dog materialized. Once again he took up the lead occasionally disappearing into the darkness before reappearing again with that ‘well come on then’ look.
Bruised and bleeding we emerged at the point where I had parked my scooter. The relief!
Jumping on the scooter and whizzing past banana trees, mango and papaya trees ripe with fruit, Dog ran next to me out of the jungle.
At the end of the path out of the jungle, I gave him a hug and a scratch. We parted ways, and I felt lucky to have shared the exhilarating experience with Dog in the mountain, and to be well and alive. And - let’s not forget the images…