Tue 22 Aug 2023 23:09
After 5 days at sea we finally arrived in Suwarrow on Sunday morning. The weather was variable along the way with a big swell, rain squalls and up to 30kts of wind. We had to slow right down towards the end in order to arrive at first light.
The passage in was wide and straight forward with a transit line consisting of a stick on a piece of coral lined up with an atoll in the distance. A strong westerly current set across the pass required a ferry glide in.
Once in, it’s a hard right between two coral heads to the anchorage off anchorage island. This is the only permitted anchorage and a warden who protects the national park and collects fees/processes immigration lives on here.
It was still blowing 25kts from the south which made the anchorage quite bumpy.
It’s a lovely spot with crystal clear water and an idyllic beach. The only down side is how strict the rules are here, basically you’re not allowed to do anything fun. No bbq’s, no water sports, no fishing etc.
We checked the weather and half considered heading straight off the Tonga the next day with a favourable forecast but we were both feeling pretty tired so opted to stay.
We’d made friends with a Danish couple in Bora Bora who had restored their 49ft 1976 Sparkman and Stevens ex race boat. It had been washed ashore in a big storm and they painstakingly restored it over 5 years to its former glory. They were setting off 2 days after us and felt it would be nice to wait for them before leaving.
It didn’t specifically state no wing foiling (the sign was very old and so it probably wasn’t invented then). With no sign of the warden, we tried our luck. This morning, Ben was out foiling and the warden went charging out to him to order him to stop and that we had to leave immediately! He was very angry and said if we didn’t leave he’d ram our boat! We both thought that if it did come to that, Moonshiner would probably win that fight but nonetheless we were a bit shaken up.
Ben went over to apologise and to diffuse the situation but he was still demanding we leave at once.
Leaving today isn’t really an option with the weather so we’re packing the boat up ready to leave at first light tomorrow, or indeed earlier if he does try and ‘ram the boat’!
Our friends on Aries have just arrived so we hope we can stay long enough for a drink with them.
The next leg to Tonga is the same distance as the last (700nm) but in a SW direction. The wind isn’t looking ideal with a strong SE wind arriving on Saturday which will likely be forward of the beam, but if we don’t leave tomorrow, we might be here some time, which isn’t an option now we’ve upset the only resident here.