Day 5 - Landfall Suwarrow Atoll
22 July 2016 | 13 14.85'S:163 6.53'W, Anchorage Island, Suwarrow Atoll
Date & Time: July 22, 2016 Days at sea completed: 5
Distance sailed total (nm): 687
We have arrived in Paradise. They say that when cruisers die they go to Suwarrow Atoll. So far, I must agree.
We arrived offshore Suwarrow last evening at about 8pm. About 15 miles from the island, a safe distance, we literally stopped the boat, heaved-to, and waited for daylight to make it safe to enter the pass. By 930 am this morning, we were anchored in the calm lagoon in the lee of Anchorage Island. Three other boats, Silver Lynx, Moonshadow, and Wave Dancer, the latter two which are friends of ours, are already here. We are the 17th boat to visit this year. There are two rangers who live here on the island for 6 months a year and serve as protectors of the park, and customs agents. They fend for themselves, mostly living off the land and trading fish with the cruisers for other things that they need. We'll definitely take advantage of this system.
Both rangers came out to the boat and cleared us into the Cook Islands. It was a quick & simple process, but one with many forms to fill out. After a quick inspection & fumigation, they headed back to shore.
As we have mentioned in previous posts, Suwarrow is where the New Zealand hermit, Tom Neale, lived on and off on his own for 25 years. He is quite famous among cruisers and with a little hunting his book "An Island to Oneself" can be found online and downloaded at no cost. It is worth reading if you have ever wanted to get away from it all. His original hut is still here and his book collection has grown to become a cruisers' book exchange on the island.
Suwarrow is as much an idyllic place now as it was back then. The two rangers, a father and son team, keep it incredibly clean and neat. Each cruiser is encouraged, as well, to assist cleaning the beach for at least one hour during their stay. There are numerous benches, chairs, and hammocks on the shady lee side of the island for anyone to enjoy. Of course, the only ones here are the rangers and a few cruisers. There is no other way to get here!
After a short shore excursion, we can both feel the eyes getting a little heavier. It's time to have a beer, take a nap, and recover from the fatigue of the passage. Nighty night!