Fishing with the arrow in Suwarrow Atoll, Cook Islands

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Suwarrow Atoll. I read about Tom Neale's life, the hermit of Suwarrow so was looking forward to seeing the atoll that he lived on alone for so many years..

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Can you see it just below the 35 knot squall cloud? It was a 6 day, 700 mile sail from Bora Bora, with the last couple of days pretty rough as a front went through.

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Glenda chuffed as we make it through the pass into the lagoon. I was worried about getting through the pass in 25 knots of breeze with 12-15 ft swells but it ended up being a breeze. Although we did have a 4 knot ebb tide against us, which meant we only made 1 knot of headway.. talk about a slow entry!

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Cheated death again, thank god we didn’t end up like this boat.. Suwarrow has over 30 shipwrecks on it’s reef..

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Finally anchored in the lee of anchorage island.. pretty nice view from the boat..

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Aerial view of Anchorage island from S/V Savannah’s mast..

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The pier that Tom Neale initially built..

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I guess we are in the right place then.. phew.

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Tom Neale’s house on the left and the “Suwarrow Yacht Club” club house on the right..

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James and John, the park rangers the only two people living on Suwarrow. They live here for 6 months at a time and then go back to Rarotonga when the cyclone season arrives

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The club house was a great place to hangout with James, John and the other cruisers.

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The pot lucks with other cruisers were great fun. Made many new friends..

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The young girls on S/V Gromit even put on a Polynesian dance show for us!

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And then Glenda and the ladies got to learn the Polynesian boggie from them.. Glenda is a pro now, she is almost Polynesian!

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The snorkeling was pretty good..

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Especially when you see giant manta rays! It was amazing to swim with this beast. It was like a B2 stealth bomber, luckily I was not one of the targets

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Also saw a spotted eagle ray for the first time ever!

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Looking at all the fish made me hungry, so the boys and I decided to go spearfishing. Fred on S/V Songline and Randy on S/V Mystic were my accomplices

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The boys with their fish and guns.. I actually speared 4 fish, but lost one big grouper to 5 sharks who tore it up and chomped the spear clean as I was slow swimming back to the dinghy with the fish .. It pretty awesome sight to watch so I didn’t mind losing the fish that much..

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After filleting our fish, James offered the remains to the sharks.. another awesome sight. Thank god they don’t like me!

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While I was out spearfishing Glenda had Art day on the island.. She drew a portrait of John. Pretty amazing likeness!

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Glenda leaving a point on the club house..

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She is creating the world’s biggest piece of art, leaving points at the key places she visits on the trip. She will then join the points together in a conceptual sculpture.. I am sure you will be reading about it in the papers soon!

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John also gave Glenda a tour of their vegetable garden. They have to be completely self sufficient since there is no supply ship.

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After 9 days, it was time to go.. We said our goodbyes to James & John, signed the log book and left them a few supplies.

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Glenda used her artistic skills to spruce up my old beer flag which we nailed to the club house beam with other flags.. Hopefully it will still be here when I come back in 10 years time..

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I tried to camouflage myself by trying to blend in with the palm trees colours so that we could stay past our 2 week limit but it didn’t work 🙁

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Our final sunset in Suwarrow.. Sudden Stops is the boat rightmost but one..

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Leaving in ideal sailing conditions with Suwarrow in the background.. It was a magical place, the rangers and cruisers formed such a tight knit community,  we almost felt like we were leaving our family behind..

Next stop, the Vava’u Group, Kingdom to Tonga, 700 miles WSW!