I sailed to Palmyra the 1st time in 1985 and stayed there for 3 months (after meeting the owners of the island and getting permission). In 1994, I sailed to Palmyra again and stayed for 5 weeks.
A lot has changed since those days. The Fullard Leo family
sold the Islands to "The Nature Conservancy" in 2000. Since then, the air-strip and docks have been restored. Proper infrastructure for a research
center has been built and there are rules for visiting yachts. Check this out in advance.
Contrary to a previous post about Palmyra....... I have been to all of the Line Islands and Palmyra is BY FAR the most fascinating. Fanning was great but not the adventure and history
of Palmyra. You couldn't PAY me to go back to Christmas
Island. Flat, boring, desert like and the villagers don't want you there. Anchorage is iffy (open road-stead).
Just for the record
........ the US Navy
occupied Palmyra until 1956. The Fullard-Leo family
almost went broke trying to get the Navy to leave Palmyra after the war was over in 1945. The island was conscripted for the war effort and was used as a submarine re-fueling station. The Fullard-Leo family had to spend a lot of money
on legal fees
to get them to leave. A short time before a final court decision was to be handed down, the navy abandoned everything on the island, loaded the 3,000 troops on ships and left. The Fullard-Leo family sued for the navy to clean up the island and that was never done.
The US Gvm't offered the family $3M (if I remember correctly) for the island with the intent of making it a nuclear waste dump. The family turned the offer down. There were other offers also. I believe that Japan
wanted to buy it to build a space-craft launching center because it was so close to the equator.
Over the years, many tragedies transpired on Palmyra and the family was sued for ridiculous things like...... a guy flew a twin engine
Beach Bobanza from Hawaii
to Palmyra (without asking the owners of the island) and tried to land on the overgrown runway (DUH!!!). They crashed the plane and ended up stranded on the island. The airplane was still there when I was there in 1985. They sued the family for "Not maintaining the runway"....... as ridiculous as that sounds, they had to spend lots of $ defending themselves against this suite. There were also a few yachties that were injured on the island and ended up suing.
The Fullard-Leo family then hired a care-taker (Roger, on yacht "CousCous") to try to keep some order on the island. Roger lived on the island for 3+years (longer than anyone, I believe). He was then relieved of duty when the island was finally sold.
There were several buildings on the main island with a fully stocked machine shop. I even used the hydraulic ram in a HD grader to straighten my bent rudder
shaft. There is a fully stocked hospital on one of the islets. It was built out of 6' thick, steel
reinforced concrete (Quonset hut style) and it was quite large (approx 6,000 sq ft interior) but yet so over-grown it was almost impossible to find. There were large gun emplacements along all of the beaches.
Palmyra is truly a magical place and well worth the stop, if you can get permission.