Amongst the Caroline Islands

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 26 Dec 2013 03:55
Noon Position: 07 13.8 N 152 25.9 E
Course: North nor' west Speed: 6 knots
Wind: North east, F5 fresh breeze
Sea: moderate Swell: North east 2 meters
Weather: cloudy, warm, and humid
Day’s run: 130 nm

I am pleased to say that Christmas Day on board Sylph VI was relatively uneventful and that we have enjoyed a good day's run, if a little on the boisterous side. The only incident of note, and barely that, was that a tie for one of the mainsail slides had chafed through. Towards sunset I looked at it, and the luff flapping slightly without the tie in place. It was not a problem but good seamanship dictated that one attends to potential problems in good time, before something else goes wrong and all of a sudden what was minor becomes major. With the wind forecast to strengthen over the next several days, and seeing as the slide was just above the third reef point, it seemed a good time to rig the third reef-line. So by sunset I had the tie repaired and Sylph careening along at a brisk spray strewn six knots under the number three jib and a triple reefed main. As it was coming on dark and there were likely to be more squalls during the night, and as we were making very satisfactory progress under the reduced rig, I decided to leave the third reef in for the night.
Just before dark we raised Namoluk Island off the starboard bow, our first sighting of land for ten days. Contrary to my expectations the wind actually eased a little over night and, while we were still making good over five knots, Sylph felt a little under powered in the large swell. So at three I shook out the third reef and we increased speed back up to six knots and Sylph's motion felt much more in control.
This morning, come dawn, we raised Losap Atoll off the starboard bow. We sailed close by its lee to take advantage of the calmer water there. It was only a short relief from bouncing around but a welcome one nonetheless. Three hours later we were sailing to a couple of miles to windward of Nama Island, looking very small, isolated, and lonely out here in the broad wind swept expanses of the Pacific. As we passed by I scanned its shoreline for any sign of life but all I could see was an empty beach with dense foliage immediately behind. I suspect Nama island is a bit small to support even a small village, especially as it has no surrounding reef to provide it with any protection or an abundant source of food.
Now Nama Island has dropped below the horizon astern and Sylph is once again a lone speck in the vast Pacific ocean.
All is well.