And so happy to be here!
The trip was only 36 hours (208 miles), but we were pooped and ready to drop our anchor. Since we had to have an "unscheduled" departure from Manihiki, we weren't rested and Moondance wasn't prepped. It sure makes a difference.
Our weather the first day was good. No squalls, good wind, and the usual lumpy seas. We spent most of the day trying to catch up on sleep.
Second day, was stormy, rainy, and too much wind. The pass into the Suwarrow lagoon is a challenge anyway, but add in the weather conditions - whew! We used the waypoints in Soggy Paws Compendium to navigate the pass and kept a sharp watch on the reefs that surrounded us. Anchoring was another challenge - the anchorage has lots of coral heads/bommies that you have to weave through. It has been 2 years since we have had to navigate through an atoll - you got to be on your toes.
But, we are here and it is beautiful! The lagoon is all different shades of blue surrounded by islands/motus topped with coconut palms. Yup, it is a postcard picture for sure. Plus, a whale (humpy we think) came by for a visit, plus several small reef sharks - yikes!
Evergreen made it safely too. Nice to have them close by again.
Suwarrow is a special place for cruisers. It is a Nature Reserve and has 2 Rangers that reside here from April to October. From what we have heard, the Rangers spend time with the cruisers teaching them about the island - fishing, snorkeling, catching and eating coconut crabs, and lots more fun stuff. Plus, inviting everyone to shore for potlucks. Sounds like our kind of place.
Suwarrow is also known for a man who lived here for long time and befriended cruisers passing through - Tom Neale. He wrote a book about his experience "An Island to Oneself". I can't even imagine what that would be like - being a hermit - I would drive myself crazy!
The Rangers, Harry and Charlie, came by this morning and processed all of our paperwork - very nice guys. So, we are officially checked into the Cook Islands - total fees $50.
We unpacked the dinghy and went to shore this afternoon with Evergreen. Charlie showed us around Anchorage Island - what a wonderful place. The Rangers take excellent care of the island - raked pathways, landscaping, and beautiful places to rest and enjoy the views. Charlie showed us how he calls in the sharks every day and feeds them - now that is unusual. Also, told us some history of the island and also where some of the bodies are buried - interesting. One of the buildings was built in 2011 and is decorated with shirts, flags, etc. of all of the cruisers that have passed through. We recognized so many of them: Totem, Dilligaf, Aeolus, Lardo, Rutea, and so many more. So fun to think about our friends...
Then Charlie started Happy Hour by cutting the top off of green coconuts and made rum drinks for all - very tasty and very potent. Then the other 2 boats in the anchorage came in to join us. One boat came all the way from Luxemburg; one from St. Martin in the Caribbean. And we thought we had covered some ground!
Tomorrow, we are going to go snorkeling - there is supposed to be lots of great places to snorkel - one with the manta rays. Monday - sounds like we are having a potluck on shore.
Should be fun!
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