Suwarrow - Pearl in a Lonely Ocean

Wed 21 May 2014 20:53
May 21st 2014


My wife and keeper of the blog has abandoned me!  Tiring of my company she flew to Sydney for a few days to meet up with her old friend (and drinking companion) Ora.   My globe trotting wife is now in an even heavier alcoholic haze in Perth with Alice and Mary-Louise.  Alice and Janie will rejoin Hebe in Vava'u which is our first stop in Tonga on June 2nd.  (Alice was on Hebe in the Med and her husband Adam is with me in Suwarrow).

This is a special place.  We were due to spend 3 days here but have extended it to a week.  I don't want to leave!

Are there good restaurants and cafes? - Not one!
What about shops? - Fresh out, I'm afraid.
Banks? - Nein.
Gendarmes? - Non.
Any people at all? - No. Not a single native but just a handful of ARC boats!

Suwarrow in the Cook Islands was once the home of Tom Neale, a New Zealander, who wanted to escape the frantic pace of the other South Pacific islands and live here on his own, which he did for some years until he died in 1977.  He wrote a book "An Island to Oneself"  which would be a best seller here if there was a shop!

Suwarrow is an atoll - a central lagoon with a few small islands all protected by a reef.  Tom made his home (a small hut) among the coconut palms on Anchorage Island which is the biggest - about 500m x 50m (that's metres not miles! - Ed).

The diving and snorkelling in the lagoon is brilliant - yesterday Adam and I took the dingy over to Bird Island which is well named.  It was deafening!  The sky was dark with birds, mainly Terns, Frigates and Boobies.   On the way back we jumped into the water near a reef and almost landed on top of a Manta Ray (min 10ft wingspan) which we followed for 10 - 15 mins.  Such a graceful creature.  Spectacular!!

Black Tip sharks continually circle Hebe hoping for some tit bits but they are harmless (or so they say!) and we swim around ignoring them.

Harry and Imo have slept in hammocks on the beach a couple of times with a few friends from other boats leaving Adam and I to fend for ourselves on board.

Next stop Nuie - a self governing island with about 1500 inhabitants.  It's going to feel crowded after Suwarrow.  

(Apologies for lack of photos!  Janie has fine tuned this techy side of the blog and I hang my head in shame.  Andrew)