Photo: Alisha Street
The UK's Channel 4 television has used Aitutaki in the Southern Cook Islands as the location for five of the eight series of its reality show, 'Shipwrecked', including the latest which ran for 3 weeks on UK channel E4 in January and February, 2019. Moturakau islet has featured in all of them, and was called Shark Island in the most recent series. Its near neighbour, Ripota was called Tiger Island
Moturakau is where the "castaways" in the most recent series lived. It's not actually an island at all but a motu or islet in the vast crystal clear waters of the Aitutaki lagoon. The arrows mark the locations in the south east corner of the lagoon as featured in the most recent series. Although Moturakau was called Shark Island in the series, there are no sharks within the lagoon
Photos: Channel4.com, from the opening titles; Earth sciences and image analysis laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center
More views of Moterakau and it neighbour taken by Marcus Gleinig from Rarotonga. He's an extremely talented amateur photographer and you can see more of his pictures in his website gallery
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're in for a long trip. The location is 3,005 kms (1,868 miles) North East of New Zealand
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.
Aitutaki's also caught the eye of American television. The CBS network got there ahead of the UK when it used the island's motus in 2006 for season 13 of its version of 'Shipwrecked' called 'Survivor'