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 Palmerston - Profile

Location

This remote atoll is one of the friendliest place cruising sailors will encounter during their voyage. The descendants of William Marsters, who settled this atoll in 1860 with his 3 wives, then 17 kids and 54 grand-kids, have traditionally welcomed seafearers.

Once a rarely visited place, Palmerston Atoll attracted an unprecedented influx of 108 boats in 2010 (as reported in Jimmy Cornell's Global Survey).

The Palmerston Island Yacht Club (Bill Marsters) offers a variety of services to yachties including laundry etc. In general, just make your needs known and the islanders will find means to accommodate you.

Bringing Supplies

The island is very isolated and a supply boat only comes once every 3-5 months. The islanders therefore appreciate it if yachties are able to carry packages (food) if coming from Aitutaki or Rarotonga. Anyone willing should contact William (Bill) Marsters giving as much notice of the expected departure date as possible (see details below).

Bill will contact family members who will bring supplies for you to take to Palmerson (such as eggs, fruit and vegetables).

Gifts of fishing hooks and lures, school supplies or staples are very much appreciated.

Palmerston Island Website

Position 18° 02'31"S, 163° 11'39"W

Clearance

See Cook Islands Formalities for complete clearance information.

Arrival

On approach (maximum 15nm) call Palmerston Administration on VHF Ch. 16. Do this even if you have cleared into the Cook Islands at Aitutaki or Rarotonga.

Locals monitor VHF Ch. 16, 24h/day so they can assist with mooring/anchoring.

Someone will come out to hook you up to a mooring, or assist with anchoring, and will arrange for the officials to check you in, which takes place on the boat.

Clearance

Palmerston Island is not an official port of entry for the Cook Islands, however they do have some dispensation to clear yachts under certain conditions (for example; yachts unable to enter into Aitutaki or because of weather conditions they are unable to make landfall in Aitutaki/Rarotonga and have continued on to Palmerston; or have called in to seek shelter and rest).

On occasions entry may be denied by official intervention from Rarotonga (without explanation). This has happened once in the past, but thankfully is rare. Generally, the Administration is accommodating in clearing visiting yachts.

The fees for clearing in here are: Immigration/Customs NZ$25 or $20 US and Health clearance is $20.

Yachts visiting Palmerston who have already cleared into the Cook Islands, are welcome to stay for as long as their permit allows them, but still have to pay the local government fee.

Crews must remain on board until check in is complete. Note that officials do not work on Sundays, in which case you will have to wait until Monday to clear in.

On departure, the Island Administration will issue a departure certificate.

Last updated November 2016.

Bill Marsters
Telecom Cook Islands Ltd , Palmerston Office
Tel:+682 37 637, Mobile: (682) 76 106 Fax:+682 37683 ,VHF Channel 16 - Call sign: ECHO 5 LIMA - Palmerston Radio
Palmerston Island Administration
The Executive Officer , Palmerston Island
Tel:(682)376 20 ,VHF Channel 16

Docking

The anchorage is on the lee (W) side of the atoll, and has a depth of 30-50ft, coral bottom extending away from the fringing reef. By choosing your spot carefully, you could swing 360 degrees without problems.

There are 8 moorings available, all are private and normally cost 10 NZD per day - but this is negotiable. Whilst these do make anchoring in Palmerston less stressful, particularly if a West wind blows, the moorings should be treated with caution and checked for strength.

This useful report on mooring in Palmerston gives some good tips.

At peak periods there may be no moorings available, or you may be requested to move off them and anchor.

Always call as instructed above on approach, and you will be guided as to which buoy to pick up, or where to anchor.

Last updated November 2016.

Yacht Clubs

Palmerston Island Yacht Club
c/o Bill Tuakana Marsters , Palmerston
Tel:+68237636 or +68276106 Fax:(also on Skype)
Many services offered to cruisers like laundry, hot showers, pot-luck area, book exchange, anything - just ask! Do not forget to fill our gold logbook. Please, come and enjoy our hospitality!
Froxi
Froxi says:
Nov 07, 2016 04:10 PM

DO visit Palmerston! We did so this year and the welcome was just wonderful.
We contacted Bill Marsters in advance, and brought much needed supplies from RaroTonga. Our reward was to be adopted, fed, and brought into their daily life, with No Charge for the use of their (newly laid) mooring. Bill's wife Metua makes delightful necklaces and wristbands and various other beautiful mementos and gifts for very reasonable prices. I bought a shell necklace for my 96y/o mother and mailed it to her - she wears it everyday! I and my 3 crew had a wonderful time, and we cannot praise Bill, Metua and their lovely family, enough.
I cannot say how the other families treat you, but I can wholeheartedly recommend getting in touch with Bill and stopping with him if you can.
Only one caveat......the mooring is on the reef, which will be a lee shore if the wind becomes N round to W. We only left because a trough was coming, which would have - and did, I am told - make the anchorage untenable.

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