18.53S 171.22W

Mojo 2
Andrew Partington
Fri 23 Sep 2011 04:51
I think it is fair to say that our passage in light winds ended today. We are 150NM from Tonga and have been battling strong wind for most of the afternoon and now at 5pm we still have a 22 knot south-westerly to make things interesting for us.
All last night we motored across a glassy flat sea. Nothing much had changed by morning but by 8.30am there was the hint of a breeze. By 10am we were sailing close to the wind in a 15 knot north-westerly but still able to sail due west towards Tonga. After lunch the winds started to pick up and we were seeing dozens of squalls developing on the northern horizon. The first few missed us but at around 2pm we were run over by a whopper. Torrential rain but only 24 knots of wind. Two hours later another one caught us but this time it brought with it a wind shift to the west. It forced us to keep turning to port until we were sailing south. We tacked but then ran into another big squall with 30 knots of wind. It reminded me of the squall that hit us off Aruba but at least this one was during the day and our mainsail and genoa were already reefed down. Still pretty wild though!! The wind has finally [at 5pm] swung towards the south. We are sailing with just the genoa and the seas are very rough. Given the southerly swell that has picked up and all the changes in wind direction the seas are back to being a washing machine.
Had a fantastic time in Niue. Met some great people and explored this incredible island. I can't believe we considered just sailing past. Very tough place for Aussies to get to though as there is no direct flight and you have overnight stops in Auckland both ways.
Very hard for me today to follow up Robert's epic blog yesterday. He had a fantastic time in Niue and, like me, was blown away by the incredible sights and experiences we had yesterday. By the time he leaves the boat he will have visited 6 countries with me. Not a bad gap year!
We will not arrive at Tonga tomorrow and will time our approach so that we arrive in the early morning, even if that means slowing the boat down tomorrow.
I think the seas are starting to ease just a little...here's hoping, otherwise it could be a long night.
Later tonight we will close to within 2000NM of Australia. I am very happy to be getting so close to home. The trip has kept me away from home far longer than I had expected and although it has been an amazing trip I am really missing my family. I can't wait to see Kate and Sally and be able to give them a huge hug. I have not seen them now in nearly 6 months. Not long to go now!!