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Suvorov, Suvarou, Suvarov or Suwarrow

16 May 2010

Suvorov, Suvarou, Suvarov or Suwarrow
May 16th, 2010

Let's just call it Suwarrow! Although through the ages its names has been very much discussed and disputed. The origins of the nomenclature are in the Russian ship, the Suvarov, whose captain discovered the islands in the early 1800s. However, since becoming part of the larger Cook Island group, the anglicise version of its name has been adopted.

Most of Suwarrow’s reef is submerged at high tide - leaving only a line of writhing white foam to warn the navigator of its perils. Yachtsmen will have to take care but the larger islands generally give a good signal on radar to avoid any mishaps. Suwarrow is not the name of a particular island, but of the atoll. It stretches nearly 50 miles in circumference, and the small islets inside the lagoon each have their own names. The islets vary in size from Anchorage, the largest, which is half a mile long, to One Tree Island, the smallest, which is merely a mushroom of coral. The atoll lies almost in the centre of the Pacific, five hundred miles north of Rarotonga, and the nearest inhabited island is Manihiki, two hundred miles to the north.

Tom Neale (1902-1977) was a Kiwi who spent much of his life in the Cook Islands and 16 years living alone on the island of Anchorage in the Suwarrow atoll. His stay was the basis of his popular book "An Island to Oneself " and inspired hundreds of yachties to come to Suwarrow and live there for a while.

Due to more and more yachties that stop here, it has become necessary to have a ranger living on the atoll to stop it from being exploited by those that are fortunate enough to get there.

The Marine Park Ranger lives on Suwarrow with his family during the non-cyclone season ( from April to October). It is a marine park and there are rules to protect it. Spear fishing is not allowed and it is generally only possible to anchor off Anchorage Island. This paradise is now being given a chance to restore itself and maybe more of us can share this idyllic place for longer!


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