Tokelau - Profile
- Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand lying some 400 miles north west of Samoa. It is rarely visited by yachts. The islanders are New Zealand citizens
- Tokelau consists of three small low-lying coral atolls: Atafu, Nukunono, and Fakaofo. The low lying coral atolls make them one of those nations most susceptible to sea level rise due to rising ocean temperatures.
- One of the least visited countries in the South Pacific, only a few yachts make their way to this isolated group of atolls, which lack natural harbours and for most of the year are completely cut off from the outside world. Some formalities have to be complied with before sailing for the islands, but any difficulties are justified, as they give an opportunity to visit one of the most isolated communities in the Pacific.
- There are no harbour facilities whatsoever, only passes for small boats through the reefs, but these are too shallow for most yachts. Normally a yacht must anchor on a shelf outside the reef, in the lee of the atoll. Fairly often conditions are not suitable for yachts to anchor.
- At Fakaofo, there is an anchorage due west of Fakaofo islet, but it is exposed to the SE tradewinds. An alternative anchorage, recommended by the islanders, is NW of the island, off Fenua Fala islet. The dinghy can be landed on the nearby beach, although a strong outboard engine may be needed to get through the surfline. The island of Fakaofo is reported as being incorrectly charted.
- Facilities are extremely limited. There are radio stations on each of the atolls. There are no airports on the islands. There is one cooperative store on each island selling some staple foodstuffs, mostly imported. It is possible to buy some locally grown produce. Water is scarce everywhere. There are hospitals on all three islands.
© Tokelau Liaison Office, Samoa
From May to September the islands are under the influence of the SE trade winds. The weather is cooler than the rest of the year when it is hot, particularly from December to March, which is the cyclone season. Tokelau is on the edge of the cyclone belt, and in both 2004 and 2005 was hit by cyclones.
A useful guide to South Pacific weather resources complied by a Noonsite contributor, Rory Garland.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.