Suwarrow – the perfect desert island

We are now in Samoa and this is the first time we have had any WiFi for sometime. From what we have gleaned so far, Samoa is going to be laid back and colourful. Our rugby knowledge certainly needs to improve!

We spent 3 months in French Polynesia after the long crossing from Galapagos and it was time to move on if we are to reach New Zealand before the cyclone season in the Pacific. The next reasonable land mass is Tonga but this is 1000nm west, so we opted to break the journey at Suwarrow, Cook Islands, then travel a little more west to Samoa before going south to Tonga. It took 5 days to sail to Suwarrow in good winds, and 4 days to Samoa in stronger winds and a very rolly sea. We have done the most enormous amount of long distance sailing this year.

The Cook Islands consist of 15 tiny islands in 2million sq km of wild Pacific Ocean. It would take a season to explore this country. The population is just under 20,000. We thought parts of French Polynesia were remote but Suwarrow is in another league.

Suwarrow is the last place the sun sets each day so now as we sail to Samoa we lose a day as we cross the date line. This island is a national park, manned by 2 delightful rangers – John and Roger (who also act as custom/immigration officers) for 6 months of the year and it is accessible only by sailing yacht. It was made famous by Tom Neale who lived there between 1952 to 1977 and wrote a classic book “An Island to Oneself.” It is a stunning spot.

The view for lunch
The view for breakfast
An evening stroll

There really is nothing there but palm trees, huge numbers of hermit crabs, colonies of sea birds and rich marine life. The chatter of the birds never stopped which was a real treat, and we had the most amazing time snorkelling with manta rays, and sharks (not so great, but apparently they are harmless!). The rays are huge about 2 to 3 metres across and simply glide about completely undisturbed by us.

There were 7 very sociable boats in the anchorage – s/y Krabat, Wilderness, Bruno’s Girl all old friends, Canadian flagged Amibiton, American flagged Trabasa Cross, and French boat’s Ambryn and Liberte. The Rangers very kindly organised a fish BBQ, we provided the rest of the food and drink, and we had a great party in the most magical spot. We spent 3 days in Suwarrow and it really is a very, very special place, but a seriously long way from anywhere. Happy days.

Charles and Fung from S/y Wilderness, and Claudia from s/y Bruno’s Girl
Partying. The rangers and Danny from s/y Trabasa Cross playing music for us.
A very long way from anywhere

5 thoughts on “Suwarrow – the perfect desert island”

  1. Amazing!!!!!!!!
    How lovely. Think you are in love with Suwarrow – do you think you’ll ever see it again????
    You both look so slim and so well….. you must be very healthy these days – probably a diet of fish & fruit.
    Lots of love to you both.


  2. I feel Julian should do some DIY and do a sign saying Fromes Hill 8295 Nm. Looks fabulous but in the middle of nowhere. Abersoch in the rain next week. Oliver and Julie


  3. Julian and Patricia… just catching up on your travel diary as Susannah, Harry and I try to catch a salmon in Scotland with Stuart and others.. all sounds and looks amazing. Have fun on your way to NZ. David


  4. Your experiences really are awesome  – an island only accessible by sailing yacht !  Presumably John and Roger are replaced by another pair but it must be awesomely lonely at times if no boats are around.

    Thank you so much for birthday greetings  –  I was absolutely amazed !  Much  appreciated.    M


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