It’s fun to say isn’t it? Pukapuka. One bored night I was on Google Earth perusing the Pacific Ocean for remote paradise islands when I came across a little atoll called Pukapuka. It was absolutely gorgeous, small enough that nearly the entire island was beach. At the center was a beautiful clear water coral lagoon while three corners of Pukapuka had small grassy outcroppings that contained a micro civilization of plants, animals and people. I later found out that Pukapuka is the most remote island of the Cook Islands, sitting nearly 1200 kilometers from the most populous of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga.
Local story has it that 14 men, 2 women and several children landed on the remote island after being caught in a massive pacific storm or tsunami. They had no idea where their home island was so they decided to settle on the island. According to the natives, this happened in the 1600′s and once geologists studied the island they found these claims to be accurate… as there is evidence of a severe storm in the late 1600′s.
Due to the remoteness of Pukapuka, they have developed one of the most unknown languages in the world and the only people capable of speaking Pukapukan are the decedents of the castaways. They call their island, Te Ulu-o-Te-Watu (‘the head of the stone’). There are currently only 500 inhabitants on this island. The last “westerner” to settle there was Robert Dean Frisbie in the 1920′s. He was an American writer and is quoted saying “[Pukapuka] is the faintest echo from the noisy clamour of the civilized world”.
One of my goals in life is to venture to Pukapuka. I would prefer to sail there as that would be far more adventurous. But the only other way to get there is by sea-plane. It truly would be an adventure, not just of a lifetime, but of many.