Saturday 1st September - En Route for Palmerston Island

Jon & Carol Dutton
Sat 1 Sep 2012 14:48

17:08.72S 156:01.80W

Saturday 1st September - En Route for Palmerston Island

The much awaited trough came and went to be followed by a little queue of them all proceeding eastwards .  Enough already – we decided to go anyway and to do so on Thursday 30th August. 

Jon’s return to the gendarmerie on Thursday morning to re-book out of French Polynesia didn’t go quite as expected.  As previously reported, we’d been assured on Sunday that our failure to depart on Saturday, as we waited for the weather to improve, was not an issue.  “Pop back in just before you go”, they’d said, and they’d just change the dates on our exit form and in the passports. That sounded a bit odd (one copy of the exit form had already been despatched by snail mail by Jon to Tahiti) but fine as far as we were concerned. On Thursday morning the woman gendarme, who outranks the guy we saw on Sunday and had booked us out originally the previous Friday, was there.  Whilst she understood that we’d been given the advice we received by her staff she was adamant that it was wrong.  Looking a bit stern (but that was about the extent of it) she explained that having booked out on Friday to depart on Saturday we should have gone, no matter what.  “Irregardless”, as a battery sergeant-major of Jon’s close acquaintance many years ago, would have said.  That view appeared to us to be Dagenham, as they say in north London.  So; several stops beyond Barking.  But, it wasn’t worth pointing out – particularly in Franglais - that the obvious solution would have been to make us fill in the entry form to re-enter French Polynesia in Bora Bora on Sunday to keep all the paperwork straight.  A Gallic shrug fitted the bill more economically.  Since she couldn’t just alter the dates on the paperwork she suggested that we leg it tout de suite if not sooner.  And, if anyone in the Cook Islands wondered why it had taken us quite so long to do 650 NM or so . . . We exchanged Gallic shrugs.                  

We eventually left Bora Bora at 1400 that day.  There is a deep low pressure system well to our south which is generating some very grown-up winds extending to about 500NM south of us.  That’s only an issue insofar as it produces a small trough line to its north through which we will have to sail.  We are entering that area now, so the wind has begun to become fickle in both strength and direction and the sky is completely clouded over.  However, we are still making reasonable progress – speed has dropped from our customary 7 knots to more like 6 and it will probably get even slower before things improve as we get out of the other side of the trough.  Not a lot of rain so far and few squalls worth mentioning - yet.  We expect to get to Palmerston Island on Monday but if we do get delayed by many hours we’ll have to stand off overnight and approach after dawn on Tuesday. 

Incidentally, the ex BSM’s “irregardless” is nowhere near as good as James Raley’s story about the guards sergeant-major (I think) who, in addressing his company said “Allegations have been made and I would like to see the alligator in my office”