Position: 15 33.49S 146 14.50 W
Moored Apataki Carenage
Wind: East nor' east, F3 Gentle breeze
Weather: Partly cloudy, warm
Day's Run: 16 nm
Today's objective was to sail across the lagoon to the motu where the carenage is located. First up I tried to get in some last minute supplies from the local shop but as usual it was closed. In the few days that I have been here the opening hours for this establishment have totally eluded me, and as for the bakery, I was obviously very lucky to have found it open on my arrival here because it hasn't opened since. Still, I have all the essentials though onions are getting on the low side.
At 11 I thought the tidal stream looked sufficiently tame to make departure feasible and, after securing for sea, at 11.15 I slipped the moorng and motored out of the harbour and into Passe Pataki, wincing painfully as as we unintentionally bumped over a shallow rock right at the middle of the entrance. I reckon I was lucky not to have discovered it on the way in but consoled myself with the thought that at least we would have scraped off any last tenacious limpets that might have been hanging onto the keel. The pass narrows on the lagoon side and the tidal stream strengthens so old Sylph slowed to a crawl as we pushed the current to make the last few hundred meters into the lagoon proper. Once clear and into untrammelled waters I set sail close hauled on the port tack, the carenage being a 10 mile near beat to windward across the lagoon. Of course being in a lagoon there was no swell and the seas were slight so it was a very pleasant sail, though I had to keep a good lookout all the way across for any coral heads that might have been lying in ambush for us, but these stood out clearly as most of the lagoon in is in excess of 30 meters deep and is coloured a nice dark blue, whereas the coral heads come almost to the surface and are coloured a light blue fading into a light yellow with the odd breaking wave on some. So our sail across, apart from the bumpy departure was uneventful and we picked up a mooring after dodging a few final rocks in the approach just before 3 pm.
I have since been ashore and introduced myself to Alfred who runs the place, and his wife and son. The set up is very basic, a patch of the coral island has been levelled and a road graded to the waters edge. The facilities are likewise minimal, water and electricity supplied on request as they have to start up the generator to supply either, a toilet, no shower, just the hose which is fine for this climate, I figure I will probably go for a swim at the end of each day to get the worst of the grime off. There is an internet facility but it is a slow dial up connection on their home computer so I will probably not avail myself of this for my time here. There are six boats on the hard in storage and one that was hauled out today, owner Claude, who reckons he will be up for about 10 days while he paints both topsides and bottom. Claude speaks reasonable English so at least I should have a little company while I am here.
All is well.