Palmerston Island

After a few days of good sailing I ended up on a course towards Palmerston. Since that is quite a special place, I decided to pay it a visit. It is an atoll where only one of the outlying islands is inhabitaed: by a total of 42 people. I got there on Sunday afternoon, and while looking for the moorings, or a sign of the town, neither of which I was able to locate, a aluminium boat came towards me. Turned out that this was Bob, the mayor (!) of Palmerston, he helped me find the moorings (the swell took them out of my sight most the time) and helped me with the mooring lines. Monday morning, Bob came back with two local officials for the clearing in, not that much work, since I had already cleared in in Rarotonga, and Palmerston is also part of the Cook Islands. Once the paperwork was done I got a ride to shore. And got invited for lunch at the mayors house. This was really a nice treat, a tiny little island, no stores, a church and a school. Got shown around in the school, where they follow a kind of home schooling program, with two teachers. More than half of the population of Palmerston is going to that school. After lunch the two youngest kids of the mayor showed me around the island. There is a main street, with a fairly new church building, than about two streets across. Some houses are empty (vacant for anyone looking for a quiet spot, maybe for some onthaasting [recent Dutch term, translation is something like: to unhurry]. At the center of the island, to my suprise there were actually a number of non palm trees as well. The rest of the vegetation looks mostly like a combination of tropical plants popular to be kept in homes in Holland.

When I arrived in Palmerston, the wind had disappeared, but on Monday it came back strong and favorable. So I decided to keep my stay short and take advantage of good wind. For a while it looked like I was going to make Beveredge Reef during daylight. That would have been nice, this is a coral reef without any dry land, in the middle of the Pacific, but giving enough protection to make a quiet anchorage. The wind died when I was less than a day away, and after a day of waiting, the wind returned from an angle making Beveridge Reef no longer an easy destination. So, I decided to change course to Niue. This is another interesting place, it is a single island nation (in free association with New Zealand, as it is officially called, meaning that Niue citizens are free to move to New Zealand, and New Zealand help fund some of the Niue governments). It is of coral origin, just one large rock coming out the ocean, but never any higher than about 100 meters.

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