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Cook Islands: Palmerston Atoll - Feedback from Cruisers

By Val Ellis last modified Sep 17, 2018 11:18 AM
Palmerston Atoll is in the southern group of the Cook Islands and should not be missed if the weather is favourable for a stopover.

Published: 2018-05-25 23:00:00
Countries: Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Palmerston Atoll - Feedback from Cruisers

Photo by Hugh Pilsworth

Hugh Pilsworth - Brief report after a quick visit

May 2018

Palmerston Island is beautiful with extraordinarily kind people.

When you arrive, calling EA on 16, you are met by one of the families and helped onto your mooring, there are about 8 available. The same boat is your transport through the reef to the island. Don’t even think about doing the passage yourself. Position of the moorings is on the NW of the island, 18 02 810S,163 11 552W.

We had to stay on board till the Bio Security and Customs checked us over, $20 fee in cash. Customs officer is the island administrator and the Bio Security is also the Mayor. We were met by Edward, the policeman. He will accept any sort of surplus boat bits you may have. Contact him on phone at Cook Islands 87265, 37616 or 37617, or email [email protected] before you leave for the island. You will be asked to bring goods for the island.

Mooring is $10 per night and includes the transport each day, and lunch on shore in the family house.

Nothing is too much trouble, and if you’re there on Sunday then go to the 10 o’clock church service. It’s in Cook Island Maori and English. Women to wear a dress and hat, men long pants and shirt.

Three days is long enough for a visit. Edward accepts cash payment and will also put laundry through his machine for you. There is phone and internet, and you can buy access cards from BlueSky Monday to Friday until 2pm. Internet is slow and not reliable.

This is a really beautiful small island, current population is 40 plus, normally 60 plus. There is a nurse and clinic there, but no doctor.
If you’re going near, stop and visit, you will not be disappointed.

-ends-

Palmerston Atoll is in the southern group of the Cook Islands and should not be missed if the weather is favourable for a stopover.

See this interesting report by Bill Bourlet of his visit to the island in Feb 2018, published by http://currents.bluewatercruising.org.

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.

 

Cook Islands: Palmerston Atoll - Planning and Arrival Tips
By Anthony Swanston: October 2013

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: [email protected] ph:(682)376 20.

Related content
Palmerston
April Cunningham
April Cunningham says:
Aug 03, 2018 05:19 PM

From Will Rowe via email:

My wife and I have the only AIS station on Palmerston to assist approach. We also provide internet and weather update facilities free of charge to all cruisers no matter whom they are hosted by on Palmerston.

We check the AIS traffic and our email every four to six hours.

Vessels intending on making Palmerston their next port of call can contact us at [email protected] and expect a prompt reply with answers to any questions they may have.

Meitaki korereka,

Will Rowe

Emilie Stuber
Emilie Stuber says:
Jul 24, 2018 06:29 PM

We've been visiting Palmerston Island in 2016. We had an engine problem (we burn our starter) and we stayed 3 weeks at Edward's Family to fix the problem. That's was OUR BEST STOP and experience with so kindly and friendly people. It's part of our family now !

Just note that the only person on Palmerston who checks their email twice a day is Will Rowe. [email protected]

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