suwarrow

Answer
Suwarrow
Suwarrow
Island in the northern Cook Islands
Location
Central-Southern Pacific Ocean
Coordinates
13°16'9"S 163°6'41"W
Archipelago
Cook Islands
Suwarrow is a remote coral atoll in the northern group of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Here are the key details about this fascinating island:

Overview

  • Suwarrow is an uninhabited atoll about 930 km (580 miles) north-northwest of Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands.
  • It is roughly quadrilateral in shape, with a circumference of 80 km (50 miles) and over 20 small islets surrounding a central lagoon.
  • The total land area is only 9.8 sq km (3.8 sq miles), with the largest islet being Anchorage Island at 0.139 sq km.
  • Suwarrow was designated a national park in 1978 to protect its rich biodiversity and seabird breeding grounds.

History

  • Suwarrow was likely inhabited by Polynesians in prehistoric times but uninhabited when discovered by the Russian-American ship Suvorov in 1814, after which it is named.
  • In the mid-19th century, a box containing NZ$15,000 worth of coins was reportedly found on the atoll, leading to speculation of buried treasure from shipwrecks.
  • The atoll gained fame from New Zealander Tom Neale, who lived as a hermit on Suwarrow for a total of 15 years between 1952-1977 and wrote the book "An Island to Oneself" about his experience.

Wildlife

  • Suwarrow is one of the most important seabird breeding grounds in the Pacific, home to 10 species including 80,000 sooty terns, masked boobies, red-tailed tropicbirds, and lesser frigatebirds.
  • The lagoon is a vital breeding spot for green turtles and coconut crabs, with abundant marine life including batfish, moorish idols, sharks, and manta rays.

Visiting

  • Suwarrow reopened to visiting yachts in June 2023 after being closed for several years, but is not an official port of entry.
  • Pre-approval is required from customs to visit, and yachts must comply with national park rules overseen by on-site caretakers during the May-November season.
In summary, Suwarrow is a remote and pristine atoll renowned for its natural beauty, rich wildlife, and intriguing history as the former home of a famous hermit.
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