We motored into Suwarrow in the Cook Islands. No wind. We arrived about noon with small black-tipped sharks following us in like puppies. Our first anchor attempt was a coral wrap which took a half hour plus to undo. Every time we started a motor or engine, like the dinghy, they’d be right there checking on us.
Suwarrow is a real surprise and quite a paradise. It’s a NZ nat’l park with 2 rangers, John and James, who oversee the whole lagoon (and it’s 23 islets). They’re so generous and helpful, and they make it feel like one big family despite the rigid rules they have to enforce (like specific anchor spots, no food anywhere except the patio, or no wandering off w/o one of them). We got a cooking lesson – how to husk, crack open and make coconut pancakes. We watched James feed the sharks at the tideline, and hiked to the other side of the island to see where the birds nest. The water was unbelievably clear and warm.
We snorkeled by a large reef where 2-3 sharks were swimming (they didn’t bother us – they were just curious). It was still anxiety producing, even if they were only about 3 ft long. Suwarrow is like summer camp for cruisers with daily activities following the morning radio check-in. There was plenty of socializing, even a movie night with a computer hooked up to the generator and a big sheet hung up for the screen.
There’s a book about this place, “An Island to Oneself” by Tom Neale. His description of living alone in such an isolated place is really interesting. The name is interesting as well. in 1814 it was named Suvarov but was changed to Suwarrow when the Cook Islands took it over and it’s closer to their language.
So far Suwarrow is our favorite place to hang out.
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