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A Visit to Penrhyn Atoll

By Sue Richards last modified Feb 08, 2009 08:54 PM

Published: 2009-02-08 20:54:17
Countries: Cook Islands

Visit to the Penrhyn Atoll in January 2009, by Bob and Dawn on the Catamaran "Kudana"

The folks on Penrhyn are really friendly. Take things like clothing, beers, batteries, fishing line, hooks and all sorts of other things for bartering, with you. The daily (unofficial) anchoring fee is now NZ$3.00 per day. You must have NZ dollars, they don't want other money.

Their main source of income used to be black pearls, but that has collapsed and now they derive income from exquisitely woven hats and bags made from coconut tree leaves.

Entry to the atoll is difficult due to coral reefs. We managed to get in with less than 3 feet under our keels at times. I took a GPS reading at the center of the official entrance...08deg 57.631'S, 158deg 03.015'W. Please use this GPS reading at your own risk. When through turn right to Omoka and watch out for coral heads.

Channel 16 is the official frequency, but there is no listening watch. They will call you when you are seen. You will be asked to go ashore in your dinghy to pick up the officials for clearing in. The anchorage is good (20 to 40 feet) but can be rough if there is a strong wind blowing from the east. Anchoring at Te Tautau on the other side is good.

We found the water cloudy and snorkeling poor.

If you are sociable you will enjoy your stay.

Have fun.

Bob
bheasman@gmail.com

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lhalverson
lhalverson says:
Aug 29, 2013 09:34 PM

Yes, a wonderful place to visit----I was single handing and spent 18 days there 9/22/88 to 10/10/88 and was the only cruiser there. I spent a lot of time with Cerina and her family----going to church, pearl diving, replacing watch batteries, sharpening saws and in general just hanging out---and you are right about NO work on the Sabbath---we just ate food that was prepared Saturday and layed around--- I didn't have any trouble with the coral heads crossing the lagoon (maybe they have grown now)? But I just now checked it out on Google Earth and WOW---has it ever changed!!! A lot more buildings----also there were no requirements for getting permission to go in----Nor were there requirements for going to Suvarov which was my next stop, having heard on the radio that another cruiser had piled up on the reef there. I stayed on Suvarov from 10/14/88 to 2/19/89, a little over 4 months, repairing the cracked up ARION----that was probably the most satisfying 4 months of my 15 year circumnavigation. Luckily I had a camera and took slides of the "miracle" as the owner, Ian McNair calls it----and I get to relive the experience each time I show the slides---boat shows, church groups, and other interested groups---but all good things must come to an end---I sold BATWING a couple years ago and now at 88 any time I want a "sea fix" I go out on my sons tuna boat---keep going Bob and have fun----