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Visiting Penrhyn (Tongareva)

By doina — last modified Nov 30, 2006 01:13 PM

Published: 2006-11-30 13:13:22
Countries: Cook Islands

This is the best place I have visited on our travels. Yes, you need to anchor off Omoka to check in, and to get there from the NW pass, you need to have good light. The pass itself is not difficult, keep to the middle, but from there on there are numerous coral patches, easily seen with the sun high, and most of them marked by a triangular mark pointing AT the shoal. Don't attempt this in poor visibility.

Because Omoka suffers from the 7.5 mile fetch across the lagoon in normal trade winds, its best to move across to Tetautua village on the far side. Again there are coral patches en-route, but very easily seen in good light. The anchorage off Tetautua has large areas of sand in 10-20' so cruise around to find an area away from coral patches. This is a beautiful anchorage protected except from rare Westerlies.

The 58 (at last count) people of Tetautua are exceptionally friendly, and will show you a thousand ways to spend your time. Listen to their singing! They always appreciate DVDs if you can spare (up to date please) and tins of corned beef, and a beer or two of course. Make sure you look at the boat book kept by one family, and make your entry. Only 14 boats visited in 2006, and that was believed to be a record.

The whole atoll is stunning, rivalling Suwarrov, but has the benefit of its lovely community of Cook Islanders. You will learn almost everything there is to know about coconuts, Other Polynesians call the Cook islanders "Coconuts".

From Penrhyn it is convenient to travel to Samoa, and if the weather suits, a stop at one or two of the other remote N. Cook islands can be made. We transited the NE pass in a dinghy several times, and it would be a safe exit from the lagoon unless the trade winds were strong. There is a reef 2.5 miles to the NE of this pass.

Arni Highfield

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