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World ARC 2019-20 Reach Paradise Island

The sound of coral sands crunching under flip flops and ripples of soft laughter could be heard across the turquoise waters as dingies arrived onto the shores of the paradise island of Suwarrow. Participants welcomed each other with great enthusiasm as they gathered together on the beach to enjoy a feast of freshly caught tuna.

After visiting so many beautiful islands in the French Polynesia it was hard for participants to imagine there could be any more locations which provide the ‘wow’ factor, but they were wrong!

Located in the Cook Islands some 800 miles North West of Tahiti the island of Suwarrow has to be one of the most remote and idyllic destinations the fleet of World ARC 2019-20 have visited to date.

Now deep in the Pacific, the sail to the island was not without its challenges. With high pressure to the north of the rum line and a low pressure further to the south this created light winds and bigish swells which meant a slower than predicted sail. However, with experienced crew and well equipped boats the fleet easily reached the shores of this magical island.

Boats were greeted by the clearest of waters (up to 20 meters) where the brightly coloured corals could easily be seen by simply looking over the guard rails. The wildlife above and below sea was in abundance. Sharks are plenty and very curious to see what they might be able gain from the incoming boats. There is also a huge bird colony on the atoll which is highly protected. Quite rightly there are many rules in place to protect the wildlife, which allows any visitors to enjoy the raw nature of the atoll and view exceptional scenery across the lagoon and reef beyond.

With such warm and clear waters snorkelling was the main activity. With numerous playful reef tipped sharks and countless new species of coral and fish to view this was a spectacular and memorable event for everyone.

As always a few fun activities were created to include a dingy drift where all the participants load up their tenders with drinks and snack and tie up together and literally drift together creating a really fun way to enjoy a sundowner or two.

Thanks to Tintin and crew members Pim and Richard’s gallant efforts to land a 50kg tuna on route to the island they shared out steaks to every boat who in turn created their own dish and brought it to shore to be celebrated and enjoyed by everyone.

Despite its remoteness, there are two caretakers on the island who not only protect the atoll but also conduct the official entry and exit to the Cook Islands. Our huge thanks go to both Harry and John who welcomed us to their island and for helping to preserve such a unique and precious place on this planet.

In return the fleet conducted several litter picks, helped Harry fix his generator (thanks to Rob on Tintin) and Mary on Danica I kindly re-organised the library where it is possible to swap novels, magazines and even old videos.

One way to sum up the experience of visiting Suwarrow is through the eyes of Gemma Simmonds on Aurora B, who upon walking the shores of the beach early one morning watched a group of hermit crabs come together to hold court before swapping shells. 

This really is the stuff of true desert island living and one all the World ARC fleet feel extremely honoured to have seen.

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