Stonefish can be a dangerous and I always wear reef shoes anyway because the coral can be sharp! the locals will tell you where the stonefish are if any. Last time i was on Aitutaki there were a few between the main island and Akitua (where Aitutaki Lagoon Resort is located) Not sure about Raro
The advice given to us at the Rarotongan was to wear beach shoes. Not only do they protect you from stone fish but also from coral cuts that can turn nasty. Cheap insurance in my book. The Rarotongan had them for loan as part of their beach equipment.
As well as wearing Aqua Shoes, it's a good idea to always shuffle your feet when walking in the shallows. This will scare away any suspecting Stonefish in your path.
Is an 'Aqua' or 'Beach" shoe a special type of shoe?
Will flip-flops do?
If by flip flops you mean jandals(NZ) or thongs(AUS) no they are not sufficient.
You need an Aqua or Reef shoe that is enclosed.
They're sometimes called diving shoes - have a rubber sole and the top is elasticated and covers the whole top of the foot. As others have said, a necessity everywhere there is coral, let alone stonefish.
Certainly readily and cheaply available down this neck of the woods.
I believe that the stone fish are predominantly found on the coral and not in the shallow sandy areas ( others may correct me on that). On asking the locals in Raro they seemed to indicate the main danger would be out on the fringing reef near where the surf breaks.
I also believe that most of the reef shoes discussed are made of rubber and are relatively soft and would not protect from the long and relatively stout spines of the stone fish. Conclusion - avoid walking in the areas where they are likely to be.
Here are several brand names of water shoes that we use in kayaking. Very sturdy soles, some are made as land/water shoes, they have velcro or the newer ones have elastic ties.
Most of them you could just wear as either sandals or walking shoes, replacing another pair that you may take w/you. They are not necessarily pretty, but will definitely do the job. They are comfortable for wearing all day. These are not your $3.99 flip flops, they are serious water shoes...
Keen (these have wonderful toe protection)
If you are not familiar w/outdoor clothing, look at:
www.campmor.com (usually best prices)
You can also find some through www.llbean.com
Reef shoes, shuffle feet - good advice! I would also add, don't walk on the coral. Ever. Besides the danger of stepping on a stone fish, you are also destroying delicate coral.
I've been wallowing around this lagoon for six months, almost every day, with no problem. I've actually only seen two stone fish while snorkeling, both were tucked in the coral and practically impossible to notice (note: don't touch coral with your hands either). Wild critters, neat to look at if you get the chance. I'd say your chances of hitting one , if you stay off the coral, are pretty darn low. And there are some local remedies that work really well, apparently, so even if you hit one death would be highly, highly unlikely.
Don't worry, have fun!
an article I'd seen on a stone fish injury from 2004 that was posted on various message boards.
I tried wearing real water shoes in the Aitutaki lagoon and I found it pretty uncomfortable because the sand would get in the shoe and was so gritty, mixed with ground up coral ... ended up using my cheap Walmart reef shoes for comfort.
I don't think they would have sufficed if I'd stepped on a stonefish. We were on Akaiami, and were told by Queen Tutai that the stonefish hang around the old pier only.