jason and nikki wynn with their host family in palmerston cook islands

We’re Adopted by Natives!!! Palmerston Island, Population: 35

It’s day two of our passage to Palmerston in the Cook Islands.  It will be the most isolated island we have sailed to.

The tiny speck of palm fringed sand has no airport, no harbor and a dwindling population of 35 inhabitants.  All descendants of one man and three wives.  The only way to visit the island is to arrive by boat and be adopted by one of the families.

But, there is another high-pressure system nipping at our heels promising a solid week or more of 30-40 knots of sustained wind and building seas.  So, we’re in for some turbulence.

Can you imagine being sooo secluded with 35 of your extended family members?  Hundreds of miles of ocean between you, civilization, supplies, medical care and any other human.

sunset over the atoll at palmerston island in the cook islands

Even for us as sailors, living on a floating home, sometimes at sea for days on end, find this life hard to imagine.  Our house moves, we can pick up and weather permitting, set off for civilization when we’re ready.

For Bob and his family, their only way on and off the island is on one of the supply ships.  They have to plan months in advance to get off the island and it could take them months to get back.  The words hurry, emergency, fast…they don’t mean much here.

But, in exchange for the inconveniences, they have a drastically different way of life. One they have chosen to maintain over the centuries, governed by them, for better or worse.

Its a fascinating case study and one I wouldn’t necessarily call utopia.  But, with the right mindset perhaps it could be.

Being here is like crossing over into a parallel universe and one we feel overwhelmingly lucky to experience and share with you.  Stay tuned, because next week we dive a lot deeper into the community and way of life here.  It’s like stepping back in time…



Ups, downs and all arounds, we share them all.  We’re able to do so because people like you show up each week, read, watch, comment, share, shop our gear store and put tips in our production jar.  If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.  Thank you for being a part of the journey!





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  • Nautical Miles Sailed: 240
  • Date:  June/July 2019

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (22)

  • Simon Waddington

    So sea sickness – seems like you guys generally have iron stomachs but does bad weather at night when you don’t have a clear horizon make it much worse? Or is not really a factor? I know from my limited experience things like food you’ve eaten, hydration, stress, caffeine, can make things much worse. Do you plan your meals and beverage consumption accordingly when bad weather is ahead?

  • Pru Krause

    Hi Nikki and Jason,
    Just in the middle of binge watching all your videos to catch up! But just wanted to say how much our family are loving sharing your adventures and especially these last few videos where you are really getting to know or ‘getting adopted’ by the locals. It’s just amazing how they open their doors and hearts to you. Love how the children take you under their wings, such special times.
    Once again thank-you! Now back to watching…..
    👍😁 Hanna, Thorsten and Pru

  • Geoffrey Strange

    Now you have been out for awhile, what are your thoughts on the composing head vs just pumping it over as most cruisers do?

    • Curious Minion

      They’ve answered this question several times, and the answer is always “composting head wins by a mile.” I think Jason really really hates the marine toilet. They originally considered making all 3 heads on Curiosity composting heads, but decided to leave one marine toilet in case they had trouble finding compost medium in their travels. But that hasn’t been a problem and I think Jason wishes they’d switched all 3. Maybe they’ll see this & elaborate more.
      Curious Minion

  • Wags & Paula, SV Gadabout

    That’s a sexy boat you guys keep showing in every shot toward shore! 🙂

  • Deborah Kerr

    Poor Jason, I was getting seasick just watching the waves!! However, I loved feeling like I was right there on your cat and seeing how big and strong the sea can be. Loved the little boy’s Ninja Turtle t-shirt. They seem to be up to date – like the girl, Mae, had her ponytail on top of her head and had leggings on. I would expect old-fashioned clothes from the 50’s I guess. Do they read magazines, newspapers, any recorded shows – what is their portal to the outside world? All that plastic – sad!!! And that beautiful blue turquoise sea 🏝
    My headache dissolved away as I was watching this video – very relaxing and enjoyable! They are trusting people – they let their kids walk around with a bunch of strangers!! When you 2 were first buying and preparing Curiosity for sailing, all those maintenance videos in Florida, this was the stuff I was looking forward to⛵️!! Just amazing – I love it – what an adventure! Sorry for such a long-winded comment!

  • Alan Solomon

    Never heard of Palmerston. Amazing story from 1863 though. It looks like a rough place to live. Sometimes powerless from Mother Nature.


  • Susan

    Wow ! Quite a cozy population. Beautiful water and sand ! How was the food ??

  • John

    I love all your adventures, excellent video editing. Your the Best.. Thank you Wynns.

  • Tony

    Love this series. If my fifth wheel would float, I’d be on the way.
    How is it you named your “cat” curiosity?

  • Roger B

    Maybe their simple lifestyle is an existence of a happy freedom of complexities that consume way too much precious time on Earth that the rest of us may experience.

  • Frank Field

    Darned auto-correct spell checkers. Auto-correct lead you say “decedents.” I’m sure you meant “descendents.” You are, after all, talking about the people currently living on the island rather than their dead ancestors.

    • Curious Minion

      Oops! Thanks, will fix that right now.
      Curious Minion

  • Sandra & the 2 Spaniels

    Looks very pristine and beautiful. The plastic waste was a shocker!! I am doing everything that I can to get rid of my use of plastics. The gift guide was just bonus. I am so diving into those reuseable silicon bags! Storage stuff is a “when you need it, you need it-but when you don’t, it’s a damned nuisance”. Most of all, thanks for your reccommendation on that folding electric bike! I am going to try one after the first of the year. To have a great electric that folds up to carry in the car or on a plane, so you have transportation when you land is terrific! You guys are the bomb!

  • Christine

    I enjoy your posts so much. I have been following your adventures for some time including your RVing travels and I am envious of all your adventures. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ember Baker

    Thanks so much for sharing your adventures. I would never be able to see these places on my own as I am disabled, in a wheelchair, but I have an adventurous spirit and am curious about other people’s way of life. I only discovered you a few weeks ago, but I am so glad I did. Your generosity has enriched my life. You seem like wonderful people! May blessings great you wherever you travel!

    • John

      I agree, well said. Thank you

  • Marjorie Nehlsen

    So interesting to see this island.

  • Hunter

    Double rainbows?! OMG!


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