Aitutaki's motus also caught the eye of American television.   The CBS network followed in the footsteps of the UK when it used them for series 13 of its version of 'Shipwrecked' called 'Survivor'.  For a behind the scenes story of that programme, click here

Millions more people watched 'Shipwrecked' than have visited Aitutaki in its entire history.  And the Cook Islands tourism department hope the show will encourage some of them to get shipwrecked there for themselves!   But you could well miss the Cook Islands completely if you go by the information on Channel 4's 'Shipwrecked' site.   They're 3,005 kms (1,868 miles) North East of New Zealand, not a thosuand miles as the site says!
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"Shark Island" from the air
Where the 'Shipwrecked' castaways are
This is where the "castaways" in the latest series lived...Moturakau is not actually an island at all but a motu or islet in the vast crystal clear waters of the Aitutaki lagoon.  The arrow in the picture on the right marks the exact location in the south east corner of the lagoon.  Click on the picture for a larger image.  And although it was called Shark Island in the series, there are no sharks within the lagoon
Photos: left,; right, Earth sciences and image analysis laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center
The UK's Channel 4 television has used Aitutaki as the location for four of the eight series of its reality show, 'Shipwrecked', including the latest which ended on 31 January, 2012.   Moturakau islet has featured in all of them, and its near neighbour, Ripota played a part too when the contestants battled (and bitched!) against each other in a version called 'Battle of the islands'. 
A wide shot of the motu
The island closer up...this and the pictures below were taken by Marcus Gleinig of Rarotonga.  He's an extremely talented amateur photographer and you can see more of his picture in his website gallery
From the air
Set in turquoise blue waters of Aitutaki's lagoon
Aitutaki is the second most visited of the Cook Islands, but tourists are still in the low thousands each year.   Its lagoon is triangular with each leg of the triangle stretching more than 11 kms (7 miles).   Around 30 little islets dot the turquoise blue waters.   And day trips from Rarotonga include an unforgettable cruise which calls in at some of motus and also allows plenty of time for exploring above and below the water.
Unspoiled beauty
Another of the motus in Aitutaki lagoon
Cruising Aitutaki's lagoon
Paradise found in Aitutaki
Survivor logo
Captain William Bligh
  •    Aitutaki was first settled in 900AD
  •    The name means God (aitu) led (taki)
  •    The European discoverer was Captain William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame (left)
  •    The great naturalist, Charles Darwin visited the island in the "Beagle" on 3 December, 1835 
  •    The total land area is 18.5 square kms   (7.1 square miles)
  •    Three quarters of the lagoon is 4.5 metres (14.76 feet) deep 
  •    The maximum depth is 10.5 metres (34.45 feet)
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