19 Days at sea….

Bill and Caroline
Thu 18 Apr 2013 01:22
09:48.15S 139:01.87W

Preparation for contact with land based people began in ernest with a much needed hair cut for the wild man of Juffa. A technically challenging activity at times as the boat (on auto pilot) surfed down waves (risk management may have identified one or two issues here, however, nothing was cut off that shouldn't be). 19 days of using laundry minimisation techniques had taken its toll and clothes were selected which wouldn't offend. A last minute fish catch restored hope in the Pacific's great abundance.

Approaching the Marquesas turned out to be more frustrating than anticipated. The wind speed and direction changed significantly and frequently, having the knock on effect of changing our best landfall destination. Decisions were made and revised with each wind change and time zig zagging towards the islands went slowly. As we began to approach land our estimates of arrival time became more crucial. While the first night at anchor was eagerly anticipated (the skipper eagerly anticipating first rum and coke with ice already in the 'freezer'), an approach to an unknown anchorage in the dark was not the best plan so many moments of maths and wind watching until it was clear we couldn't make the anchorage in daylight. Sails were reduced and a course set for Hiva Oa, a port of entry.

The first lights on land were significantly less than those seen on cargo ships crossing our path over the last 19 days. The Milky Way continued to be a misty rainbow across the sky for another moonless night watch while we enjoyed the last light show of phosphorescent bow waves and the eerie glowing amorphous masses of squid. The squid light show however can be remembered for a while, as we have yet to scrub and clean the sticky tarry mess they leave behind on the hulls.

Slowly sailing into Hiva Oa at dawn, we dropped anchor and had a cup of tea.