Real Life On A Remote Island

Real Life On A Remote Island

Palmerston Island is one of those places we’ll remember forever. It’s the most remote place we’ve ever sailed, but that isn’t what makes it so memorable. The islanders have completely immersed us into their world from the moment we set our feet in the sand.

When we decided to buy a boat and set off into the deep blue, I dreamed of all the possibilities and experiences we would have. But I never expected it to play out so vividly in reality.

Yet, here we are, far away from civilization, living off coconuts and fish, playing with free spirited island kids and seeing firsthand what life is like when you live isolated with 34 of your relatives.

So, could you do it? Could you live on a tiny remote island?

This was an eye-opening experience in so many ways. My idyllic dream of living on a deserted island has been forever changed. The realities of such a remote life are far more complicated than I ever imagined.

main street on remote island, palmerston island, cook islands
palmerston island delivery from container ship
remote island school in palmerston island, cook islands
kids playing soccer in palmerston island, cook islands
playing with island kids on remote island atoll of palmerson island, cook islands
Henry, local native boy climbing tree on remote palmerston island, cook islands
jason wynn relaxing in hammock on palmerston island, cook islands

Its not just the limited access to everything or the socialization aspect, it’s the bureaucracy of it all. Here there are no political parties, just head of house representatives.

But, even with a tiny population of 35, the island council struggles to align on many ideals. One wants to put fishing restrictions in place, the other doesn’t. One wants to export coconuts, the other doesn’t. One wants to put in a tiny airport, the other doesn’t.

Like most places in the world, creating change is hard. And, in the process toes are stepped on, feelings are hurt and dividing lines between houses grow more prominent.

bob cleaning fish on palmerston island, cook islands
jason wynn capturing natives cleaning fish on palmerston island, cook islands

The population on Palmerston is dwindling but I can’t help but believe that in another 150 years, decedents of the Marsters family will still be here. Drinking coconuts, fishing and welcoming sailors from around the world. That is assuming the rising seas don’t swallow the island first.


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  • Nautical Miles Sailed: 240
  • Date: July 2019