If you haven’t been to Palmerston, don’t plan on flying here. The nearest airport is 2 days away on a fast moving motor boat. The normal way to get here is on a supply ship that shows up every 3 – 6 months, the only other contact with the outside World is with sailboats that stop by. Last year 90 sailboats stopped here and from the looks of it, this year will be about the same. An interesting side note is that the islanders had a little quarrel with the captain of the supply boat, so he had decided not to show up for 7 months (and counting) when we were there. I can just imagine how something like that would affect us at home, but here they just shrugged and said that they would miss some imports, like coffee. Everything they truly needed, the island and ocean provided them with.
We arrived at daybreak after a relatively challenging sail from Bora Bora. In 5 days the wind did a complete 360 and went up and down in strength from 2 – 30 knots. We also had messy waves from all directions varying in height from about .5 – 3 meters. With a relatively new crew onboard it was a bit of a challenge, but it went really well. We caught a nice Mahi Mahi while we were sailing. Here’s a video and a picture of the proud captain.
When we arrived at Palmerston, we picked up one of the buoys just off the reef and waited. Palmerston is protected on all sides by a beautiful coral reef, but if you try to navigate through it on your own, you are bound to end up a permanent member of the reef, because the surf breaks on the reef, making it a very dangerous (and effective) barrier.
Luckily we got a guide, when Bob and his daughter came out to meet us in their aluminum launch. They helped us clear through immigration and with that settled, they took us ashore and took it upon themselves to be our hosts, picking us up, taking us ashore, showing us the island and making us delicious food.
When we were ashore we got a call on the VHF from a German boat on the buoy next to us telling us that African Innovation was sailing on without us. I knew there were zero chances of thieves here, so it could only mean that the mooring had slipped … and it had. Lucky for us, the wind was blowing her away from the island, instead of onto the reef. That would have made us more permanent guests on Palmerston. Bob brought us out to AI in a hurry and we went in and tied up to another buoy and proceeded ashore to enjoy the rest of our lunch. No real drama 🙂
Palmerston because of its unspoiled state is a true jewel. The waters are teeming with fish and the coral is alive and vibrant. I’m honestly happy they don’t get more visitors, because the island is so beautiful and the locals so friendly that I want it to stay this way.
2 months ago they were connected to the World with Internet for the first time, so that’s how I’m able to update the blog. It is amazing here and I’ll be sad when we sail onwards to Niue.