North Cook Islands
Depart: Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Arrive: Kiritimati, Kiribati
Length: 18 days
Focus: Remote Island Communities
During this expedition the team will reach the far out remote islands of Suwarrow, Manihiki, Penrhyn and Starbuck to survey the less inhabited or uninhabited islands. There will be 1-3 day stretches of adventurous sailing between each island. We will stop for much diving, snorkelling, island exploration, filming, interviewing etc.
Suwarrow Island, Northern Cooks – uninhabited atoll, ring of reef surrounds a lagoon. Great example of a healthy ecosystem, abundant marine life with plenty of high end predators – sharks, red snapper, parrot fish, manta ray as well as groupers and trevallies. Sea cucumbers, sea urchins, lobsters, giant clams and black-lip pearl oysters. And certain months of the year humpback whales, whale sharks and turtles.
Manihiki Island, Northern Cooks – 90% of the black pearl oysters are farmed here. The lagoon is depleted of most fish and plant life. An example of how farming filter feeders upsets the balance of nutrients in the water and destroys the ecosystem.
Penrhyn Island, Northern Cooks – nesting site for green turtle and hawsbill turtle.
Starbuck Island, Kiribati – one of the few places left in the world that has an inverted pyramid of biomass, that meaning the biomass of predators is more than that of the fish they eat, indicating an incredibly prolific ecosystem.