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Cook Islands: Palmerston Atoll - Planning and Arrival Tips

By Anthony Swanston — last modified Oct 02, 2013 02:38 PM
Useful advice if planning to visit Palmerston Atoll in the southern group of the Cook Islands.

Published: 2013-09-09 23:00:00
Countries: Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Palmerston Atoll - Planning and Arrival Tips

Ship wreck at Palmeston Atoll: © Anthony Swanston

Before you leave Rarotonga or Aitutaki check with the harbour master if there is any cargo for Palmerston. Your consideration will be very much appreciated.

On arrival call Palmerston on CH16 and they will send a boat to guide you to a mooring. You will need two warps port and starboard to put through the mooring eye. The boat that meets you is your host for the duration of your stay. When your boat settles on its mooring follow this procedure.

1. Check the depth - it could be 15 metres or 35 metres. The mooring is on the edge of the reef which has a vertical drop off.

2. Whatever the shallow depth is drop enough chain so your anchor is 1 metre above the bottom.

3. Take care if you swing into shallower water - your anchor can get caught and on the swell put a heavy strain on it - so a stretchy snubbing line is essential. If you hear it grinding pull in some chain quickly.

4. This is a safety precaution in case the wind goes west and the mooring breaks. Please see the attached photograph!

5. Please note ; one day and into the night the wind blew at 14 to 18 knots.  By morning it had moderated to 12 knots and at 0800 even in these quite light winds my mooring broke.  By the time I got the broken line out of the water and could safely use the engine I was less than 15 yards from the reef.  These moorings are made of polypropelene and have many knots in them, so be warned.

This is a facinating island with simply wonderful people. You would be mad to miss it. Equally you might be considered mad to try and anchor if the moorings are all taken.

Anthony Swanston

sv Wild Fox

From The Executive Officer: Palmerston Island Administration  
25 September, 2013 
Clearance into Palmerston Island

A clarification needs to be made.

Immigration and customs clearance authorisation is only made by the Executive Officer of the Palmerston Island Administration. All visiting yachts are encouraged to call the Palmerston Island Administration on channel 16. All yachts visiting are also required to have a Health Clearance and a Agriculture/Quarantine Clearance. All fees collected are used for development/services purposes on the island.

Note if you have not been cleared through Aitutaki or Rarotonga you can be cleared in Palmerston and the fee charges are as follows; Immigration/customs NZ$25 or $20 US, Euro,Aust per person (Ait & Raro charges $50 /person,our charges are less then normally charged at a port of call); Health clearance is $20.

On departure all yachts are encouraged to obtain a departure clearance even if you have received one from Aitutaki or Rarotonga. Palmerston Island Administration will only be too happy to provide a certificate to indicate that you have been cleared from Palmerston Island.

Note the individuals indicated in your clearance section are not local officials authorised to give clearances. They assist yachts with picking up a mooring or to make contact with visiting yachts to host them.

Palmerston Island Administration contact: The Executive Officer, email: palmerstonoffice@gmail.com ph:(682)376 20.

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