Thinking through the Cook Islands

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Steve Butz

May 18, 2017, 8:56:33 AM5/18/17
Dear fellow St. Francis Owners,

I posted this on Cruisers Forum, but thought I would also ask this group if anyone has experience:

My family and I leave soon for a year long sabbatical where we will join our catamaran in French Polynesia and work our way westward to Fiji- eventually down to New Zealand in November to miss cyclone season.

I doing some advance planning, we are looking at two potential routes through the Cook Islands- the southern route, with stops at Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Palmerston and Nuie (to Pago Pago) OR the northern route, with stops at Penrhyn, Manihiki, Pukapuka (to Pago Pago).

Would love to hear anyone's opinion on the "better route." For context, we have twin 13 year olds and and 11 year old and swimming, snorkeling, etc... is pretty important in our planning…

Any help/direction would be appreciated, thanks.


Randy Abernethy

May 18, 2017, 11:24:43 AM5/18/17
Of the places you mention I've only been to Palmerston and Nuie. Both were very interesting places to say the least. Notes from 2008

If you go to Palmerston the anchorage is pretty exposed and while they have moorings I would carefully inspect any mooring there and leave someone aboard who can manage the boat if it breaks. You may be the only boat there or one of a small group. Folks will come to greet you and invite you ashore. They have a unique history as I'm sure you have read. No resupply here. They will not care about customs/etc. A beautiful isolated atoll.

Nuie is a big limestone plateau sticking straight out of the ocean. Lots of boats stop here and there is a pretty good anchorage with several moorings. The only way to get ashore is to drive your dinghy to the landing area and then use the hand crane to lift it onto the plateau. Anything tied to shore will get bashed to pieces over time, there's no beach to speak of near the anchorage (or most anywhere else). You can bike around the island in a day and there are lots of neat places to explore. All marine activities are by boat because there's basically no shore, just cliffs. They do have an airport and get regular visitors and supplies by air so you can get most things here (even fly spare parts in from New Zealand when required). They are their own country so you will need to clear in/out though it is easy.

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