Manihi, so still! 14.27S 146.03 W

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Fri 5 Jul 2013 23:45

Good Morning, and yes it is a very good morning. Not because the weather is nice, it is in fact raining. Not because we had a great breakfast, because we haven't had one yet. Not because everybody is cheerful, because 2 are sleeping, 1 is listening to her Ipod and one is writing the blogg.

This morning is so peaceful I cannot rememeber, well I actually can, it was on the Gatun Lake, last time the boat was sitting totally still. No movement at all.

BUT, and I say BUT there is something else here you have to look for hard nowadays, it is QUIET! It is so quiet that you feel like you are in a room.

No traffic sounds, no human activity. Today you can hear the ocean from the distans, but yesterday even that was absent.

IN fact the boat is so still in the water I had to turn on the depth meter to check that we are not aground.

Suddenly we realize that we have always been moving, always! Especially in the Marquesas not one place was protected on all sides. Always swell, always:

Rock the boat, rock the boat.... dadadadada! That's amazing, you get so used to it that we did not even notice it anymore.

On top of that the trip to Tuamutos was tought. The waves where very steep the first two days. The third day they where still hight but we recognised the movement from previous passages, the waves where longer then and that is easier to live with.

So lets go back to the day before yesterday, wednesday. As you might know a GPS can tell you exactly when you will arrive to your destination, as long as you have an even speed.For a motorboat that is great of course. On a sailboat one moment it might tell you 4days11 hours and then the next moment 6days 2hours.
Well that's when you wind is very gusty. Normally this figure is not interesting but going through a pass in an atoll, the timing is everything.

You have you slack water when the tide is changing and that´s normally it. If you don't make it, you are sitting outside the atoll with a mighty long nose.

So wednesday we look at the timing knowing we would like to make it to  Ahe at slack water around 8.30 in the morning.

The weather was nice, some clouds in the distans and life was good. The wind was moving us along at 6-7 knots, the waves much kinder than any other day.

According to our weather forecast we would get a lot of rain at night, with some risk of thunders. And did we get that! Actually we where so beaten down by rain and wind that we had to reduce sail to almost nothing. It was absolutely pitch dark, like a coal sack, wich is unusual. Suddenly light up by a flash, and so it went.

Life was not miserable, I was happy that we had gone the way we did, because even close to the atolls we still had searoom, and searoom is everything when it blows 41 knots. With searoom you can just drift with the wind and things are very undramatic. The ocean tryes to throw buckets of water at you and the the rain was more like a waterfall. But a Hallberg Rassy is built for that. The cockpit is magnificent in these cases. You are so protected. Some say a HR does not look like a sailboat and I might agree. With a window and a center cockpit, well in a weather like this you don't care what she looks like.

As I have written before you can see the squalls , these cells of nasty weather on the radar. And it was like a joke, they where standing in line to beat us!

I have never seen anything like that before. Intense red cells on the radar screen just waiting to pass you, and when they do, the wind is screeeming, the rain pouring. Then comes a small pause as it has passed, but then the next squall says, - Now it's my turn... BANG! a new giant steps up and does everything to stomp you down.

After a whlie it gets boring, the sailing is almost down to nothing, we move 2-3 knots with a hankerchief out, you just sit there waching the radar and wait, and almost fall asleep. The GPS is showing we have 4 days to go to the passage... And we have 30 distans to go. Suddenly the line of squalls is empty, the last one has had it's fun and we can roll out the sails and the boat picks up speed at once. The feeling was very close to what you can experience in a traffic jam in Stockholm. You sit there bored moving slowly, and suddenly you are past the problem and you can press the pedal to the medal....

But where to? Now we are so behind the schedule that if we go to Ahe we will arrive far to late for the passage, so we aim at the syster atholl Manihi.
And we make it, JUSTINTIME! With five minutes to go we enter the lagoon and can see how the current is just picking up.

Inside the entrance there is a mess with fishcages, musselbeds (they grow black coral here) and all kinds of buoys. The village is on our right and we decide to go west along the atholl.

We go a couple of miles and decide to drop anchor and five minutes later a squall hits us with full force and it starts to rain so hard that we cannot see land 25 meters away.We are happy, take a swim and get inside. Ellinor and I fall asleep within 3 minutes.

The kids play.

And the weather keeps being as Andrew on Sirius said on the radionet this morning, -The weather has been like a British Bank holiday, drissling all the time...

We had a great evening with popcorn and we looked at 101 Dalmatiners, a family film. It was dark outside and it kept raining. But the oat was just standing still.
This morning we woke up, the sun was shining and it was all quiet. Not a movemet in the water.

Since the weather forecast sais it will be another nasty weather coming in tomorrow we decided to move for shelter on the other side of the atholl.
Now we have dropped the anchor in a very nice spot. Started out snorkeling along the coral reeefs, and then moved up ashore to walk along the beach.

It is wild and messy, lots of mangrove, palmtrees, coral heads, crabs, flies, but we will probably move on further up when the front has passed.