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WorldPacific OceanSouth PacificCook IslandsSuwarrow
13°16.150'S, 163°06.683'W Chart icon.png
lat=-13.269167 | lon=-163.111389 | zoom=11 | y
Suwarrow map.jpg
Suwarrow Atoll, Cook Islands

Suwarrow (also called Suvorov, Suvarou or Suvarov) is a low coral atoll in the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is about 1,300 km south of the equator and 825 km northwest of Rarotonga, from which it is administered.

A caretaker resides on Anchorage Island. The only way to visit the island is with a private yacht or by chartered expedition from Rarotonga.

Most of the small islets have only herbs and shrubs, with Pemphis acidula and beach heliotrope (Tournefortia argentea) growing in abundance. The larger islands have a dense interior vegetation of Cordia subcordata (tou); indeed, the westernmost island, Motu Tou is named after this woodland, its name literally means "high island".

Suwarrow Beach, Cook Islands


Land Information NZ
NZ93 - Cook Islands (1:1500000)
NZ945 - Suwarrow

Also see Cook Islands.


A daily weather forecast for the Cook Islands is issued by the Fiji meteorological service and is available for retrieval via saildocs.

Also see Cook Islands.


See Cook Islands.


See Cook Islands.


There are no radio nets specific to Suwarrow

Also see Cruiser's Nets


Suwarrow can only be visited between 1st June and 1st November each year. Earlier or later visits are not permitted. Prior permission is not required to visit Suwarrow. If you are departing Rarotonga for Suwarrow during the cruising season, call at the environment office in Avarua before departing Rarotonga to ask if the ranger needs anything brought to the atoll for him.

There is only one passage into the 60-mile long lagoon and this passage into the lagoon is fairly narrow - approach during daylight hours only. The approach is a dog-leg to the right with coral heads on either side. The approach is further complicated by a 2-3 knot cross-current, port to starboard, depending on tide, so it may also be best to time an entrance close to high or low water. After you are through the pass, charts will show "south reef" ahead and slightly to starboard -- it's best to turn slightly to port and pass outside of south reef as the current can be quite swift between south reef and anchorage island, with some overfalls. It's possible to round south reef quite closely -- a distance of 30 metres or so off the reef will put you in deep water. Navionics and C-Map charts both appeared to be accurate for the entrance.

Once you are past south reef, turn to starboard and you have entered one of the most magnificent blue water lagoons in the world.

On arrival in Suwarrow, the crew must dinghy into the beach and report to the local ranger. Frequently the ranger will visit boats in the anchorage that have arrived displaying the Q flag. You might try contacting the ranger on VHF 16 but as of recently the ranger's radio was only a handheld and not working particularly well (unable to be heard by most of the yachts in the lagoon).

As this is a National Park, it is required that the local ranger accompany any visitor to any of the "islands" around the lagoon. Note that the ranger doesn't take visitors to the other islands every year, only some years. When visits to the other islands are available it is done in the ranger's dinghy, and visitors are requested to provide sufficient fuel for the outboard.





Anchorage Island

Anchorage Island/wiki/Suwarrow#Anchorage_Island
Anchorage icon Anchorage Island [[Suwarrow#Anchorage Island|Anchorage Island]] 13°15.050'S, 163°06.515'W

Anchor in between about 12 to 20 m of water off Anchorage Island. The anchorage is well protected from the prevailing winds, being easterly through south easterly throughout the cruising season (May to November). Occasional swings to the northeast are generally OK but if the wind blows strongly from the west then it's best to leave the anchorage.

There are no other anchorages around the atoll -- yachts are not permitted to anchor or to travel elsewhere in the lagoon except the main anchorage.

There is a fee of US$50 or NZ$70 payable to anchor in the lagoon for up to 14 days.

The bottom is sandy but with coral patches. It's worth snorkeling over your anchor on arrival as well as before departure to ensure that it is not fouled around a coral head. Visibility in the anchorage is excellent.

When arriving at the dinghy landing, be careful of your outboard as there are many shallow obstructions on approach, and the dinghy landing wharf is entirely inside the reef. Especially at low tide, it may be worth lifting your outboard to row the final approach. Also be aware that as the tide departs, the current flow is onto the reef, meaning that a dinghy that is floating at mid to high tide may be left high and dry an hour or two later. It is probably best to take a small dinghy anchor and drop that as a stern anchor away from the dinghy landing.

Alternatively, dinghies can be rowed to the beach and pulled up onto the sand.


Water imited, especially in July and August
Electricity N/A (Not Available)
Toilets ?
Showers ?
Laundry N/A
Garbage It is important to take all garbage with you when you leave.

Garbage including organic/compostable garbage cannot be disposed of in the lagoon or within 12 miles of the atoll. It may be preferable to store any compostable waste in a bag in the freezer for disposal overboard outside the 12 mile range.

Fuel N/A
Bottled gas ?
Chandlers None
Repairs N/A
Internet ?
Mobile connectivity ?
Vehicle rentals N/A


N/A (Not Available), bring your own.

Eating out

N/A (Not Available), bring your own.


Your own boat.



Give a short history of the island.

Places to Visit

It's not permissible for yachts to tour the lagoon, but given a suitable dinghy and outboard (and sufficient fuel), it's possible to navigate around the lagoon by dinghy. Landing on the other islands is not permitted but it's possible to cruise close enough to photograph the bird life and perhaps turtles nesting.

There is a popular snorkeling spot about 1km southwest of the anchorage, on a reef, marked by a white floating buoy. It's a manta ray cleaning station and one or more manta rays can usually be seen there early in the day.

The ranger and his wife host a potluck dinner ashore occasionally when there are sufficient yachts in the lagoon. It's a chance to meet other cruisers, meet the ranger and his wife. The ranger cooked a couple of coconut crabs during our visit, and his wife explained how to make the utu pancakes that she served. Everyone brings a dish to share.

The reefs nearby the channel as well as the inner lagoon reefs provide good snorkeling opportunities.

There are abundant fish in the lagoon entry channel as well as outside the main reef, including yellowfin tuna outside the reef (a suitable dinghy or yacht can be used to catch these). Ciguatera is reported not to be a problem in the lagoon. Catching fish in the lagoon can be complicated by the presence of many black-tipped reef sharks, which are protected and may not be caught. Crabs including coconut crabs are also present but cannot be taken (except by the ranger who will collect an adult male coconut crab or two for the potluck dinner).

Collecting coconuts ashore is certainly possible including nu (young drinking coconuts), mature coconuts from which coconut milk and cream can be obtained, and utu (coconuts that have begun to sprout, which contain no water but the flesh is good eating when cooked in some recipes).


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



See also Cook Islands.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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Names: Delatbabel

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