16:06.47S 147:58.46W The Enhanced Trades

Mon 8 Aug 2016 18:36

16:06.47S 147:58.46W The Enhanced Trades

Today, the 8th August is day 6 and for the last three days we have been experiencing what are known as the enhanced trades which typify August.

Last night the wind rose howling and screaming to 32 knots, Force 7 a near gale. We pulled in and let out the genoa a few inches at a time, more times than I can remember and we are still due to arrive off Papeete, Tahiti first thing tomorrow. The seas have not risen with the wind. Probably because of the protective and submerged Tuamotu mountains, so life below goes on as normal, like Moly and Ratty in their burrows.

Rob has just crawled to the foredeck to tighten the anchor chain on the windlass because it was clanking. The anchor is firmly secured with a stainless rod through it so no risk of losing it.

I had another go at bread-making but the dough did not rise like the wind so I divided it into 8 balls and! dry fried them to make pitta bread. Undeterred I wanted to know if the sachets of yeast were at fault so I made a starter solution with warm water and sugar and as it frothed so well I quickly sieved the rest of the old flour into a bowl and made a small loaf. That did rise and made a reasonable little loaf, not the usual house brick.

I sliced some and we had it with brie and home-made plum jam for lunch.

We researched Bora Bora where one anchors off the Yacht club within the coral lagoon, Niue where we pick up a buoy in the open roadstead and have to winch the dinghy onto the concrete quay each time we land because of the swell, and Tonga, our final stop before we plan our gauntlet run to New Zealand to meet an expected low half way, where there is still plenty of sea room.

Niue was the first island in the world to have wireless Wifi and we gather we can receive it on board on the mooring provided our antenna is up to it. We shall see.

On leaving the Marquesas we had almost the same distance to go to NZ as we had from Bahia across to Nuku Hiva, 3535 miles, but Zoonie has already eaten well into it as if it were the perfect sponge cake.

Yesterday we sat in the cockpit for sundowners during a timely lull and it was really pleasant. Blue everywhere, white fluffy clouds and foaming wave crests and there was nothing in the sky like a broadening band of ominous cloud to suggest another blow, but it came anyway!

We reached our waypoint at the start of the passage between Ahe atoll and Rangiroa atoll as planned, just as the sun rose yesterday, having controlled Zoonie’s speed with reefing on the way. We could see Ahe, just, a feint grey shadow interspersed with palm trees as we sped by in 24 knots of wind. We hoped there was no one on the inside waiting to negotiate the narrow passage out. Some of the atolls have marked anchorages, in others you take your chance with eyeball nav and Mr Google if possible.

The lighter the water the shallower it is. It’s best to approach around midday when the current out is slackening. But to have the sun behind one is only possible if the entrance is at the right angle to it. Many of the coral stacks are uncharted and touching one can easily hole a boat.

Next year when we are back up amongst the islands we will have plenty of practice coral hopping around Fiji. In the meantime we are twenty four hours from Tahiti and still waters, bars, restaurants, a swimming pool and internet.

Take care kind readers.