Rupert Brooke 1914

Written by David Townsend

12, August 2007

Sail360, David TownsendPosition 13°39’399S 157°26’050W

At anchor off Entrance Island, Suwarrow Atoll, Cook Islands, South Pacific Ocean.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following my journey. Here is this week’s update.

Kia orna from the Cook Islands for here I have found the hidden gem amongst the beauty, which is the South Pacific Islands.

“Imagine an island with the most perfect climate in the world, tropical yet almost always cooled be a breeze from the sea. No malaria or fevers. No dangerous snakes or insects. Fish for catching, and fruits for the plucking. And an earth and sky and sea of immortal loveliness. What more could civilisation give?”

Rupert Brooke 1914

Life Onboard:

Firstly I have to apologise for the lack of emails since we arrived here, literally here in paradise time seems irrelevant, and as a consequence I always miss the H.F. propagation window to New Zealand.

Buy any Polynesian guidebook and the odds are you will find no information about Suwarrow, look on a map with a very large magnify glass and you might, yes might just see it. Visits here and you might, yes might just be able to tear yourself away and leave, that is when you have run out of food, water, diesel, and just before your sails fall to bits. It will be very hard to leave this place, a true gem amongst the islands of the South Pacific.

From the cockpit I see the sun rising over the island, palm tress a golden glow, the sea glistening with reds, yellows and all colours in-between. A few moments later the sea returns to a shear beauty from white where the sea touches the sand, a white soft powder sands that compress under foot, through turquoise and every colour to dark blue.

Pinta arrived just before sunset; under sail we made our way through the maze of reefs surround the island. Minutes later, just as the anchor was taking hold, a dinghy came alongside. Friends of Pinta from previous ports, a party was being held ashore. No time to put the dinghy in the water, a lift arranged we set foot in paradise.

John and his family the national park warden here, skilled in the guitar and with a rather good singling voice sang Polynesian songs as just took time to soak up the atmosphere. Many, many hours later after being fed and, well, rather well lubricated we returned back onboard. A wonderful night with friends new and old. The party seems never to stop here, we had eight people onboard the following night, I cooked barracuda in a jerk marinade (my trademark these days) and Pinta fry. The following night onboard SV Adelia ( for BBQ fish, this following night another sunset party ashore, and the following night etc..

On Thursday at 11:45hrs (local) I gave sextant class ashore to John, his family, and to the many sailors here. John was interest on how the ships clocks were calibrated in Cooks time, I showed them how to find midday and from there the clocks could be calibrated every day.

Later I presented the park warden with a ‘Trafalgar 200’ celebration flag, writing on it a little message from the crew of Pinta.

You can swim with the sharks here for they no, no fear of man. You can spear fish anywhere. As the sun rises towards midday you can lay ashore in the shade on one of the many hammocks strung up from palm tress around the island. In the evening, if not entertaining onboard we party ashore, cooking the fish of the day and watch the sunset upon the Ocean.

As the sunsets over Suwarrow for the last time before we depart, John, as usual at this time of day blows though an old shell to announce sunset, it’s sound echoing around the island as his ancestors have done so for hundreds of years before him. His family surrounding him, the Cook Islands flag is slowly lowered from the mast on the beach.

We intend to leave today, Sunday (local) however John asked us to stay another week or so. I very kindly explained that we had to move on, if not I could easily stay here like the island last famous inhabitant, the notable Tom Neal.

The Boat:

The only problem this week was a failed aft gimbal on the cooker. This is the third time in as many years (for we are into year three of this voyage now) I have had to replace these. I feel this is through the shear amount of use the gimbals go through being on the sea 24/7.

Fair winds, calm seas.