The South Pacific‘s Cook Islands are spread over 2.2 million square kilometers and are named after Captain James Cook. Rarotonga‘s razor-backed rodges and saw-tooth peaks that swoop down into the sea and was home to travel writer Robert Dean Frisbie. In 1995 the band Split Enz visited Rarotonga and wrote the song ‘Kiss The Road of Rarotonga‘ after a motorcylce accident while there.
500 kilometers north-west of Rarotonga lies the atoll of Palmerston, only two square kilometers in size where it sits like a delicate necklace in the blue body of the Pacific. Though Captain Cook arrived on Palmerston in 1777, it was William Marsters – a ship’s carpenter and barrel maker – who arrived in 1863, complete with two Polynesian wives who has made this island a story tellers’ and a historian’s gem.
William Marsters introduced a hosting system back in the 1800’s whereby one of the three families on the island must host visiting ships and yachts. Their hospitality towards the visiting cruisers, while we were there, would have made William Marsters proud. Marsters sired twenty three children and from them were one hundred and thirty four grandchildren. The Marsters families still make Palmerston their home, sing ballads of William Marsters‘ arrival on Palmerston and welcome visitors to their South Pacific Island paradise. It is an experience that is unforgettable.