Nassau (Cook Islands)

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia Cook Islands Nassau

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Introduction

Nassau is an island in the Cook Islands. Families live in thatched cottages called kikau. Elliot Smith, in the Cook Islands Companion (Pacific Publishing Company, Albany, California) describes Nassau as "a small garden of Eden".

The island was severely damaged in February, 2005 by Cyclone Percy. Recovery work to the island's infrastructure (Health Clinic, School, Powerhouse, Telecommunications Network and Meeting House) was completed with the help of NZAID and the Government of the Cook Islands in October of that same year, a major feat due to the island's remoteness and infrequent shipping services. The Island now has a completely new school thanks to the NZAID Schools Refurbishment Programme, which is administered by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation.

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Geography

Located 90 kilometres south of Pukapuka, the small island (1.3 km²) of Nassau is just 9 metres above sea level, with an oval sandy cay on a coral reef foundation and is surrounded by a narrow reef flat. It is covered with palms, and is the only island of the Northern Group without a lagoon. The surrounding reef is 90 to 130 metres wide on all but the north side where it's narrower. The village is located in the northwest. Inland there are rich taro swamps and fruit groves, and offshore there is good fishing. It has a population of 71, according to the 2006 census, and a harbour was planned to be built in 2007, but construction had not started by then. In 2010 a small boat passage and mooring wharf had been dynamited out of the reef top, and a second phase was underway in December 2010. The environmental impact was small after the initial blasting.

Nassau is governed by the Pukapuka Island Council. The Nassau Island Committee advises the Pukapuka Island Council on matters of Nassau Island.

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Weather

The Cook Islands have a tropical climate, meaning warm and humid weather year round but with constant sea breezes bringing some relief on the hotter summer days. November to April are summer months when it is around 28 °C during the day on Rarotonga and a bit warmer on Aitutaki which is more to the north. Temperatures at night are usually just 5 °C cooler or so. These months also have the most rain, with some tropical downpours during the afternoon, followed by sunshine again. Sometimes, several rainy days are possible. This is also the time that hurricanes are a possibility, although these don't strike every year of course. Wintermonths are cooler, especially on the most southern islands (around 25 °C during the day) but also drier and sunnier. Aitutaki has smaller differences between summer and winter regarding temperatures and the northern islands even less so.

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Getting There

Because there is no airport, access is limited to inter-island ship from Rarotonga, a voyage of three days or more, or from Pukapuka. The service is infrequent. The only permanent link with the outside world is a satellite earth station built in just four days by engineers from Telecom Cook Islands and in 2004 it received its first telephone system.

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Eat/Drink

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This is version 2. Last edited at 10:14 on Aug 22, 18 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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