Bora Bora to Tonga

Fri 25 Jul 2014 13:00
18:41.9720S 174:01.8732W
Lisa unfortunately had to fly back to the sunny UK as her mother had had a fall so we agreed Lisa would fly back out to Tonga, all being well, and rejoin the boat there.  So I did this 1300 mile leg on my own.
After a week of North Westerlies which I spent doing jobs on the boat, the forecast was for a few days of South Easterlies and then Westerlies so decided to get off quick on Monday 14th July (Bastille Day!) direct to Tonga without a stop in the Cook Islands (which did not sound very exciting!).  Up early, motored to fuel dock but didn't get any, the silly bugger wanted photocopies of everything but didn't have a photo copier - so I told him to f**k off!!!!  Headed out through the reef at 10.30am, spinnaker up by 11.30am, wind was from the SSE and gloriously sunny, sea luminescent blue, I watched the fish swimming round about 20 feet beneath me. 
I think this is one of the slowest passages I have ever done, my normal daily runs were in the region of 100-120 miles for over a week and I tried every sail combination I could and in the end decided the poled out genoas and mainsail worked the best as long as I zig-zagged my course to keep the wind at the right angle.  Wind strengths were in the region 3-8 knots the whole week but lovely, warm and sunny.  A couple of nights when we had slowed down to 1 and a half knots I put the engine on for 3 hours, to charge the batteries and get a few more miles under the keel.  Day 8 the weather started changing.  Whilst I was doing breakfast I suddenly saw whitecaps bearing down on me, I got 2-3 metres of Genoa and a reef in before it hit, I roared off at over 8 knots, which felt frightening as I hadn't topped 5 knots until that moment, then the wind dropped back to 15-20 knots and the clouds started coming in and it was getting colder.  Late afternoon on Day 9 I could see a very black line of clouds coming in from the South that looked exceedingly threatening - I was right, by 10pm it was gusting up to 35 knots from the North, half an hour later it had shifted to the West, half an hour after that to the South still blowing 30-35 knots and the sea was a maelstrom with all the wind change directions.  Me very very cold, very very wet on the cabin floor, fully clad including life jacket, trying to grab some sleep and warm up!  Wind steadied for the next couple of days from the SSE at around 20 knots and I was going like a train at 8-9 knots nearly close-hauled.  Dawn Day 11 i.e. Thursday I could see Tonga, by 2.00pm in the afternoon I tacked into Port Maurel (a bay with no buildings!)and dropped the anchor, but now it is Friday????  I have just crossed the date-line, wey hey!!!!!  2 days later talking to an Aussie couple sailing a Hunter 45 (the American equivalent of a Jeanneau) they had left Bora Bora on Sunday (1 day before I did) and arrived in Port Maurel 4 hours after me!!!!!  They are convinced Gaviota is a fast boat!!!