September 2006
Miss Phoebe and Drake upon their arrival to Palmerston Island.  Our intended destination was Raratonga which is further south, but the wind was not in Blue Sky's favor so we turned her more west and Palmerston Island was within range.   Upon arrival we saw a small boat in the water and thought it was a fishing boat, it was Bob Marsters waiting to greet us.  He directed us to the perfect spot to drop  anchor and told us he would be back at 1:00 pm with the officials to check us in and then we would go to his house for lunch.
The photograph on the right is Bob Marster's two youngest children.  Andrew on the left and Mahue on the right.  They are in Bob's skiff preparing to give us a ride to the island.  Phoebe made instant friends with Mahue when she gave her a Barbie doll.
Blue Sky is anchored just off the barrier reef.  If the wind decided to change from its normal easterly trade wind pattern and came from the west that would mean we would need to pull anchor and get out of there.  Otherwise you would end up on the reef.  Just in front of our boat is a wreck of a Korean steel fishing boat.  The men were working on the engine and had it disassembles when a west wind blew them onto the reef.  They ended up loosing the boat and spent three months on the island awaiting the next supply freighter to take them off.
Lunch time at the Marster's.  There were three other cruising boats at his house for lunch.  Emma did not cook once, the entire time we were on Palmerston.  We dined on Parrot fish, local chicken, home baked coconut bread, and Bosun bird.  Bosun birds are local and only the locals can hunt them.  Phoebe loved it, a dark meat and gamey.   After lunch Bob's two eldest daughters, Taia and Goldeen,  provided Cook Island style dance while Bob and the rest of the family played musical instraments  Taia is 15 and will be going to Australia for College in a year and Goldeen is 13. 
Phoebe gets to pose after the dancing.  Drake in a rare pose.  He usually is not thrilled to have his picture taken.  Emma must have bribed him with something.
The Marster's family.  The view from their front door looking east.  The photograph above right is the view directly out their front door.  The photo of Phoebe on the left is with  a brand new pigglet.  Pigs are a very important food source and there were more pigs than people on the island.  We also notice that there were not any dogs.  This was interesting because this was the first island or country that we have traveled to that was not over-run by half starved third world dogs.  Palmerston Island also did not have bitting insects.  There were not any mosquitos..  It was really an island paradise.
The boys taught Drake how to play marbles and had a ball.   It was a game that they could play as longas there was enough light.  Drake played almost continually.  It was nice to see him give the gameboy a rest.
William Marsters, an englishman, settled in Palmerston in 1863 to manage a coconut plantation.  He brought with him his polynesian wife and her two cousins, whom he also married.  Through the years he had begotten 21 children, hundreds of his decendants are scattered throughout the Cook Islands and beyond.  Currently eleven families live on Palmerston.  To the left is his original home and the white sand and blue ocean.  He is buried at the church grave yard below. 
The islanders are very religious and everyone goes to church on Sunday, Phoebe enjoyed the singing.  The children are not allowed to play and are only allowed to sit quietly and talk.  This was a difficult concept for our children to grasp, however, they did very well.
There are approximately 23 children in the one room school house from age 6 to 15..  Miss Yvonne is the teacher and she is from New Zealand.  We brought some colored paper and colored pencils to contribute to the class.  They have a large map of the world on the wall with photos of other cruisers and when they are from, we gave then a picture of us as well.  Miss Yvonne is very organized and seems to be very well supplied. 
After church they prepare a huge meal.  Jim stayed on the boat to fix the water maker and Bob took him a plate of food out to the boat.  The food was very good, above is Taia checking the food in the oven.  I am sitting with Tapua asking her what she may need, as they will not accept any money from cruisers.  Before we left I went through my stores and gave her foil, cooking oil, butter and anything else I could think of that we had spares.  The supply ship comes from Raratonga approximately 4 times a year.  Jim gave Bob some extra chain, which Phoebe and Goldeen and bringing up in the wheel barrow.  This was for Bob to make another mooring ball with, as the anchoring kills the coral and having the moorings helps reduce this.   The whole family came out to the boat and the kids loved playing with Phoebe's Polly's and Drake's Legos.  
Their main source of revenue is fishing and coconuts.  The women make handicrafts that they sell in the Raratonga market.  They gave Phoebe and Emma a hand made flower and shell necklace.  Below is the family waving goodbye.  We spent two lovely days in Palmerston, for being an unplanned stop it was one of our favorites.  Blue Sky pulled up anchor and headed for Nuie, just in time, as three days later the wind blew from the West.