Mystery Shipwreck in Rarotonga Identified

Letter R on stern of shipwreck

The mystery of the new found shipwreck in Rarotonga has been revealed.

In February 2018, Carina and Patrick discovered a small shipwreck in Rarotonga. The vessel was a sailing yacht that lay in 70 metres of water depth outside Avatiu. After talking to many locals and multiple dives on the wreck, the identity of the shipwreck remained a mistery. The only clue to the identity of the vessel was a big letter “R” in the centre of the stern of the vessel.

Bow of Cook Islands shipwreck in Rarotonga

The breakthrough came recently, after Patrick talked to the Director of Maritime, Ngatokorua Ngatokorua (Junior). After hearing the story and seeing images of the wreck, he also confirmed that Maritime Cook Islands have no records about the existence of such wreck. However, he assured Patrick to try to find out more information on his end.

After talking to the older generations and showing pictures of the wreck, Junior managed to identify the mystery yacht.

Vessel name is INTREPID

The vessels’ name is “INTREPID”, a cargo sailing yacht that sunk in 1991.
Here is the information Junior came up with:

“A small cargo vessel owned by Dr Robert Wonton and Papa Charlie Brothers as a stop gap after Silk & Boyd stopped operating. The vessel was destined for Mangaiia with an over loaded heavy stacked top heavy. We were told it never did go out too far and rolled in the seas.”


“A Cessna just happened to flyby and saw the incident, it
all happened very fast. There were four crew onboard, one of them were Tom Napa (Deceased). Papa Waisale Ravuso (Papa Wesi), former employee and chief engineer for Taio Shipping (Deceased) to name a few were spotted by Cessna in the water with vessel sinking not far where this location is.”

“It was understood this had taken place back in 1991 about 6 months prior to Taio Shipping commencing business. No one knew off this incident.”

A big meitaki maata to Junior and everyone else who contributed in identifying the shipwreck.

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