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Cook Islands, Rarotonga: Avatiu Harbour Closed to Yachts

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 08, 2012 07:39 PM

Published: 2012-07-08 19:39:52
Countries: Cook Islands

Since the beginning of last year, a huge harbour realignment and dredging project has been underway in Avatiu Harbour to straighten the east quay, and dredge the basin to 10m. Last season space was very restricted for visiting yachts and conditions in the harbour were "challenging", mainly due to crowding, traffic and noise coming from the harbor reconstruction.

Reports just coming in are that Rarotonga's Avatiu Harbour is effectively closed to visiting yachts until the current dredging and harbour construction is completed.

Robbie Collins of SY Mersoleil reports, "Close friends of ours were allowed in very briefly for fuel and water, but had to anchor offshore in the open ocean roadstead off town. They report the Trade Winds have returned and it is rougher at anchorage than at sea. The holding is terrible; flat hard coral with a couple of inches of sand over it. Two harbourmasters have been hired and have resigned. The next one is coming from PNG in a few months".

If you do have to stop in Avatiu, it is important to call PORT CONTROL on Ch 12 upon arrival. Note this is not monitored, nor is it possible to clear into the country on weekends. Ashore there is a waterfront restaurant-bar with TRADER JACKS painted on the roof, and Customs, Bio-Security and Health officials will eventually meet yachties at the landing ashore next to Trader Jacks.

Currently Avatiu Harbour is filled with one large dredger, two ocean-going tugs, a construction barge as well as normal fishing and shipping boats. When overseas freighters arrive, several of these vessels must leave the harbour to make dock space.

It is anticipated the redevelopment should be complete by August or December 2012, depending on who one asks.

Our thanks to the SSCA for passing on this information and to John Neal for the extra information.