More hidden treasures

Photo: Daniel Paul

East Island - features include pink sand and a natural hot pool

Home Island 

Anchor​age Island

Just three of the islets in the beautiful lagoon

False Killer Whale


The treasures of Suwarrow are not only on land.....Dr Graham Wragg ran a company operating regular tourist trips to the island from Rarotonga and shared his memories

"The highlight for me was videoing pods of false killer whales - they are very big animals (about the size of a good sized bull) and very, very inquisitive.

We discovered another dive site on the same trip that I have named "predator point". It has 30 grey reef sharks in residence, 200 golden trevally, 10 chevron barracudas, plus white-tip and black-tip reef sharks, black coral and at the time I was there, five very incredulous scuba divers (actually that is four divers from my boat, plus me).

Now a little advice for novice is not a good idea to open your mouth in amazement when underwater!

Did I also mention discovering the only site in the Cook Islands with Manta rays - gentle giants that you can touch as they fly by?" 

Manta Ray

The lagoon is teeming with colourful life including batfishes, groupers and moorish idol starfish

All but the whale and island pictures above are from a stunning collection on the web site of amateur photographer, Marcus Gleinig. I am grateful for his permission to use his pictures on this site. He took them on a trip with Graham Wragg. The whale picture is courtesy of Pacific Expeditions Ltd and the three island views are by Graham Wragg


The Island takes its name from possibly the most famous - some also say the greatest - Russian General of all time, Alexander Vasilievich Suvorov. But he had been dead for 13 years by the time it was was discovered.  A vessel bearing his name, under the command of Mikhail Lazerev (or Lazareff) landed on 17th September, 1814. It's one of only two islands in the South Pacific to bear a Russian name (the other is Vostok which is north of Tahiti). Although Suwarrow is part of the Cook Islands and administered as such, it is deemed to be Crown Land which means the British monarch is the official land owner


A completely bizaare story emerged in 2011 about a Russian politician, businessman and human rights activist who claimed he bought Suwarrow from the Cook Islands Prime Minister (he definitely didn't and anyway, as this is British Crown Land, only the British Monarch could sell it). Anton Alekseevich Bakov told the popular Moscow newspaper, 'Isvestia' that he paid millions of dollars for it and it was now the capital of a revived Russian empire.

In early October, the self-declared Prime Minister set off to visit his claimed territory, but the trip came to an ignominious end. The vessel he chartered to take him to the island turned back at his request because he was too seasick to continue the voyage!   


Janna Cawrse fell in love with Suwarrow while sailing around the Pacific with her newlywed husband, Graeme Esarey. "Not your typical honeymoon cruise!", she told me...but it was a visit which has inspired her to start work on her own book about the island. Graeme took the stunnning pictures  which give an insight into why Janna loved it so much

In his book "An Island to Oneself", Tom Neale tells the remarkable story of how he decided in 1952 to reconstruct this ancient pier which was originally built from coral blocks in the days when copra production was at its height. All but the foundations had been destroyed in a hurricane in 1942 - a story related in Robert Dean Frisbie's book "Island of Desire".

Tom single-handedly, painstakingly and without any tools, pushed massive blocks out of the sea, along the beach and into position....only to see his work destroyed within days of completion by a a great storm. The pier was rebuilt again some years ago with the help of visiting yachtsmen, but is again in need of repair.

Despite its idyllic beauty, Suwarrow still has only two permanent residents - caretakers chosen every 5 years by the government. And they're only on the island from April to October because it's not safe after that becuase of the threat from hurricanes. The 2004 caretaker, Ioane “Papa John" Kaitara says grace for visiting yachstmen before a "potluck" dinner

Janna and Graeme's boat, the S/V Dragonfly at anchor off Suwarrow