After five of our worst days at sea ever we’re having some of our best days at sea ever. We finally escaped the two troughs and the squash zone that had us slammed by huge waves and pounded by driving rain and now we’re in lovely steady tradewinds, still strong enough to move Escape Velocity at a good clip. We raised more of our mainsail to take advantage of the lighter wind and aside from that, we’ve barely had to touch the sails or the autopilot at all. It’s been like sailing on rails.
The Pacific swell is still a force to be reckoned with, and there are no gourmet meals being cooked or eaten aboard but I had stocked the fridge and freezer with ready-mades so no one is starving. We sure are looking forward to an arrival pizza, though!
During the rainy days we had our water collection rig hooked up and the needle on the tank gauge never deviated from “full” the whole time. Two days ago we ran the watermaker, not because we needed water but because it’s happier when it runs. We still have three quarters of a tank of water with two days to go.
We’ve been talking lately about our Pacific journey so far, our achievements, unexpected joys, our disappointments. We meet cruisers who spend years in the Pacific exploring every little nook and cranny. We knew we couldn’t do everything and made our priority list, most of which we stuck to.
We spent a longer time in the Marquesas than most one-season boats do, visiting all six inhabited islands. Because of a run of bad weather on our way into the Tuamotus we ended up only visiting one atoll, Fakarava, but what a great time we had there! Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Taha’a and Bora Bora all lived up to their reputations.
Our disappointment comes from having to make the tough choice to leave French Polynesia and sail directly to Tonga, missing some of the most legendary islands in this part of the Pacific, places we will probably never see now, Maupiti, Suwarrow, Palmerston, Beveridge Reef, Niue. The two month delay caused by my back injury, and the impending cyclone season meant that if we wanted to see those islands we’d have to sail back to the Marquesas for safety until next Spring, then make our way back across all of French Polynesia before the first new island landfall. And New Zealand would have to wait another year.
If we were twenty years younger we might have made a different decision, and we’re at peace with the choice we made. All of that is to explain why we’re making this unexpectedly long ocean passage. If we had been able to leave Bora Bora in early September we’d’ve had time to hopscotch our way from island to island, making shorter passages and enjoying those magical landfalls.
It is what it is. The sun is shining. We’re sailing to the Kingdom of Tonga. We’ve said goodbye to French pastries and baguettes and we’re looking forward to another country.