Our first planned stop after leaving Rarotonga was Palmerston atoll. This is a sparsely inhabited atoll about 260 miles north west of Rarotonga, housing about 25 people (the population fluctuates a bit from year to year as some leave and some return), all of whom are from the same family -- the descendants of an Englishman who settled there in the 19th Century with his 3 Polynesian wives.
Unfortunately about 40 miles south east of Palmerston we were hit by strong north westerly winds, quite unusual for that time of year and not what was on the forecast at all. So we hove to overnight and waited to see what the wind would do the next day. In the morning I discovered that the wind had moved to the south west but was still quite strong, too strong to enable us to sail to Palmerston and also too strong (and from the wrong direction) to allow us to anchor at Palmerston. This is because the only anchorage at Palmerston is outside of the reef, and it's a lee shore in anything coming from the west.
So we decided instead to make sail for Suwarrow. Because the wind was strong and over one quarter we had a run of something like 168 miles over the next 24 hours, and in fairly quick time we had arrived at Suwarrow.
Suwarrow is an atoll in the northern Cook Islands that is usually uninhabited, however the park ranger Harry and his wife Vaine are stationed there from June until the end of October.
The anchorage is inside the lagoon, tucked away behind one of the main islands known as "anchorage island". It's quite pretty.
All good things come to an end though, and after a last visit to Harry and Vahine, who taught me how to husk a coconut and gave us the recipe for coconut pancakes, we packed up our dinghy and left for Samoa.