Departed Ua Pou

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 14 Mar 2011 03:01
Position: approx 25 miles SSW of Ua Poku
Course South west Speed 6 knots
Wind: South east, F3 Gentle breeze
Weather: Mostly sunny, warm

Dawn came with showers and a bit of bluster.  As I was in no hurry to get underway I made a leisurely start taking my time over breakfast and preparing Sylph for sea. Conditions improved during the morning and at 11.30, dinghy inboard and secured, we weighed anchor with two reefs in the mainsail to allow for the gusts and sailed from anchor. As I was weighing my neighbours paid me a quick visit on their way to shore and said they had stopped by last evening to invite me over to their place but I did not respond. I must not have heard them while watching a movie. What a pity. I do not like to miss an opportunity to socialise and mention this to acknowledge my neighbours courtesy and sense of humour.

Once away we soon sailed into the extensive wind shadow of the island and it took several hours of much frustrating sail trimming, including poling out the jib, gybing and even going backwards a couple of times. The confused swell wrapping around either side of the island setting up interesting interference patterns with Sylph as sort of ball demonstraitng their curious effects did not help things much either. But we eventually broke through, I could see the white caps marking the wind line and sure enough at 14.30 the wind steadied from the south east and we have settled down on a nice beam reach.

Once again I intend to hone my celestial navigation skills, so have streamed the log and shut down the GPS. Our destination is Apataki, in the the Tuomotu Archipelago. The Tuomotus are all low lying coral atolls so an accurate landfall is critical. I hope to do it just with celestial but will not hesitate to switch the GPS back on if in any doubt. This is meant to be fun after all and running up onto a coral reef is definitely not my idea of fun.

All is well.