And back again...

Wed 14 Oct 2015 00:45
15:08.47S 167:07.27E

We had got as far as Santa Maria, one island below Vanua Lava where Sola is. Then we listened to the weather report from Gulf Harbour Radio. That Tropical Disturbance was now a Tropical Depression and had a “Moderate to High” chance of becoming a cyclone, and a possible path had it coming straight over The Banks Islands. There’s no good sheltered anchorages for an Easterly storm in The Banks and David’s advice was that anyone in The Banks just now should get out, back to a safe harbour.

So we turned around, straight into the wind and started tacking our way back South again. It would take us much longer to get back than it had taken to get there, as we would be trying to sail not the ind and waves and also couldn’t go in a straight line to windward but would have to zig-zag our way in tacks to get there. We’d been sailing for 15 hours North and it was 8am. We’d not get back by nightfall so we headed for Hog Harbour at the North of Santa Maria, to get a night’s sleep and break the journey back.

It was quite a ride South, with much water over the decks and impressive spray coming up over the dinghy tied down on the foredeck to hit the staysail. We were glad to get into the lee and lie ahull to drop the sails. It turned out to be a beautiful anchorage, off Champagne Beach, perfect fine white sand through which one can supposedly see little bubbles come sprinkling up in the shallows. But it was raining and nearly dark and we were shattered so we just drank our well earned anchor beer, ate some heated up stew, and settled down for the night.