Suwarrow (Suvarov)  - Cook Islands

Double click thumbnails to maximize.


Anchored Just In Time

Shortly after dropping our hook in Suvarov after a seven day passage from Bora Bora, this squall blew by. We were glad we were could view the storm from a safe vantage point.

Anchorage Island

Nearby the pass into Suvarov is Anchorage Island which provides protection from the prevailing tradewinds. Remnants of the old coral and concrete pier still serves the park managers.

Tom Neale

A New Zealand resident who dreamed of living alone on a Pacific island, Tom Neale came to Suvarov in 1952 and left in late 1977, a few months before he succumbed to cancer. Many cruisers remember Tom and many more have been inspired by his book, An Island of One's Own.

Suwarrow Park Headquarters

The Cook Islands government administers the Suwarrow National Park and employs park caretakers who live in spartan accommodations on the island for 6-8 months per year. Caretakers check in boats, providing arrival and departure papers for the Cook Islands, and collect a park fee.

Park Caretakers

When we arrived, John and Veronica and their four sons were finishing their fifth year as caretakers of the Suwarrow National Park. They are evidently serious about the protection of the environment here and were firm but friendly about the park's regulations.

Red Beaked, Red Tailed -Tropicbird

Being a nearly uninhabited atoll, Suvarov is home to many birds, including this curious, nearly unafraid, tropicbird who circled our small group looking to land where he might not get his feet wet. This is a distinctly different species than those we'd previously seen.

Tinny Play

John and Veronica's boys are quiet and serious except when at play. The park launch, called a "tinny" by John, is a common type of workboat in the Pacific islands and served as a perfect platform for the rambunctious boys.


At Suwarrow there are basically two types of sharks, the docile black tipped reef sharks and the more aggressive grey reef sharks. While fishing from small boats many fish are lost to these sharks who are active particularly at the pass.

Cruiser Expedition

The entire anchorage cleared out one day for an expedition to the outer motus. We parked dinghies at the edge of the reef and waded across the shallow water to "land".

"Bird" Island

On Sept. 26, John and Veronica organized an expedition for the seven boats anchored at Suwarrow to visit the outer motus, including Gull Island, which is home to sooties, boobies, frigates and tropicbirds.

Frigate Nesting

Frigates are thieves amongst birds but they are superb parents to their young.

Gull Island

Suwarrow's reef does an amazing job of keeping back the sea, though many cyclones have stripped bare its few motus.

The Elusive Coco

Here one of John and Veronica's twin boys contemplates the distance up this tree at Seven Islands to the coconuts. He decided it was a wee bit too far...

Coconut Crab

These elusive beasts are considered a delicacy by many and are a focus of John and Veronica's protection efforts.

Boobie Baby

This unidentified and magnificent boobie (different from the brown boobies we have seen in Mexico) was spotted on the largest motu of Seven Islands.