Palmyra Arrival


We arrived at Palmyra Atoll six nights after leaving Honolulu. Conditions on the run there were by far the best we’ve seen. We had the wind and current behind much of the way, and boat motion was minimal until the last night. Jennifer normally needs to wear a scopolamine patch for offshore runs, but didn’t need to on this one and didn’t feel the slightest bit queasy. We shot some video off the stern showing the relatively light conditions.  

On the final night, the wave period decreased to six-seven seconds with seven-eight-foot seas on the beam. We were rolling ten degrees consistently and occasionally twenty degrees.

On the last day, the main fuel tanks had enough space that we could transfer the fuel from the bladders. So the main tanks are now full again.

When we were about thirty minutes off the main channel, we radioed Palmyra to let us know we were arriving. Amanda Pollock, the Wildlife Refuge Manager for Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef National Wildlife Refuges, answered and would come up to guide us through the channel. Below is footage of our entry into the atoll. When Jennifer first appears on deck, she’s removing the line that secures the anchor. The second time, she is attaching the snubber between the anchor chain and the boat. Snubbers take strain off the windlass, give the rode some elasticity, and isolate the boat somewhat from the noise of chain scraping across rock on the bottom.

Palmyra Atoll is absolutely beautiful. Palm trees crowd the shore above lush vegatation. Around the atoll, the sea color varies from deep aquamarine to pale turquoise inside a white frothy edge of breaking surf. But you can hardly hear the surf above the calls of the thousands of seabirds that wheel in the sky above us.


Amanda guided us to the designated anchorage. We’d corresponded with her while in Hawaii to obtain our visitor’s permit–it was nice to finally meet in person. On board with her was Eric Pohlman of the Nature Conservancy. Once we were secure, Amanda and Eric came onboard to brief us on the island and rules for visitors. Spitfire, as usual, was the star of the show. One of Eric’s first questions was “Where’s Spitfire?” But Spitfire still has to follow the rules. Amanda jokingly gave him a stern warning to “stay away from my birds”. We explained that Spitfire is more of a kibbler than a hunter.


An extensive research camp is on Cooper Island, the only island open to the public. The Nature Conservancy manages Cooper Island, while the Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for the rest of the reserve.


So now we are within six degrees of the equator–by far the farthest south we’ve ever been in Dirona. Oh–and we have WiFi.


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10 comments on “Palmyra Arrival
  1. I am John and Lucy Worl’s sister-in-law. We are in the San Juan’s and Canada this week and John was talking about you and gave me your website. What a wonderful adventure you are having. I will continue to follow you in your travels. Be safe and sale long.

    • Nice to hear from you Ernylee and glad you are enjoying our posts. The San Juans and Gulf Islands are a great place to be this time of year–lucky you. Please say a warm hello to John and Lucy for us–we do miss seeing them at the Bellevue Power and Sail Squadron events.

  2. I held out for 8% on my latest startup, but then again I am a seasoned entrepreneur, not just a regular first hire. I actually met with the Founder and investors beforehand and the investor had the nerve to say that if I wanted equity I should pony up money. This blew my mind, how is a massive salary cut (about $80k) not ponying up money? Yes, there is the fact that I have the option to bow out at any time, but I get exactly nothing if no shares have vested. Luckily the Founder saw my value and agreed to my terms. The problem with giving away equity is that too many people aren’t motivated by it. I am very motivated by equity, and the Founder knew this from my past ventures. The truth is that most developers just aren’t that motivated by equity. When I founded a company 7 years ago and raised $500k I gave my first developer 2% and a salary maybe 25% less than what he might command otherwise. But he was right out of school, and this was an incredibly opportunity for him to learn about startups and get some excellent experience on a variety of technologies. The equity didn’t motivate him though, and he eventually left to make more money. That is very often the case (I have several more examples), so I don’t think you can’t be too hard on founders that are stingy with options. If you want the options then you need to command them. If you don’t get what you are worth then it isn’t the right choice.

  3. Thanks for the comment Hasini. I totally know what you mean about having trouble with easting. We had the wind on our port bow coming from due east at 15 to 30 knts and usually in the 15 to 20 kt range. The currents were always counter and ran between 1.0 and 2.3 with 1.5 kts being the most common. We have never done a crossing with the conditions working against us so strongly so it took a bit longer.

    We originally were not going to do the Marquesas but have heard so many positive comments that we decided to buck the currents and enjoy the area. So far, no regrets.


  4. Hasini says:

    We certainly eeonyjd the 3 months we were there. I was sailing with my wife and infant daughter which made it a special time in my life. Had supplies not been running low and the seasonal weather (cyclone) window closing to the South Pacific, we would have stayed longer.As you correctly have noted, Raratonga in the Cooks is further east of Palmyra. We were headed to the Cooks from Palmyra, but were not able to make sufficient easting against the SE trades after crossing the ICZ and fell off for Samoa.

  5. Yes, we will be crossing the equator although that’s still a couple of weeks out in our plan. We are still really enjoying Palmyra and then we will cross over to Fanning Island, another central Pacific atoll. After Fanning we will get under way on the next leg of the trip to Nuka Hiva. It’s on this leg we will cross the equator.

    Neither of us have crossed the equator before. Not even by aircraft. We celebrated the 1/2 point to Hilo where we were 1,000nm from shore in any direction with a mock Mai Tai. We’ll do something similar for the equator and offer a toast to Neptune.


  6. Thanks for sharing your trip. I’m particularly enjoying Palmyra and the crossings. Are you going to make it to the equator? And if you do, what will you do to celebrate becoming shellbacks? Or are you already shellbacks? Thanks, again.

  7. Jacques Vuye says:

    Ok Thank you for the explanations, makes perfect sense!
    Have another great day in Paradise!

  8. Thanks for the hi from Moka Jacques. You were asking what Jennifer is doing with the Snubber. It the video it looks like the snubber is being tied before deploying the anchor and this is what she normally does. The way it is deployed is the snubber is tied off sometimes between before the anchor is dropped and when it is fully deployed. Then the chain claw is hooked into the chain link and more rode is deployed until the snubber takes the load and then a few yards of slack is further dropped to ensure the snubber can stretch out under load without chain taking the load.


  9. Jacques Vuye says:

    Great report.
    I continue to love the way you share the various aspects of your adventure!
    That place must be special…and now I would want to go there too one day? (-:
    Question: I know about a snubber line, but I am not sure I understand what’s happening on the video.
    When Jennifer ties it to the cleat, is the anchor dropped already, set and has the required chain length been paid off?
    From the video it appears that the anchor is still on board when the snubber is being tied.
    I am sure I missed something…
    Thanks for the news from Palmyra and for giving us the opportunity to come along for the ride!!
    Looking forward for the next installment.
    Regards from Moka (my own black cat…) to Spitfire!

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