Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thursday 26th July


17 32.422 S
149 34.279 W

Many happy returns Matthew Baker, hope you have a great birthday.

Neither of us managed a great deal of sleep, again the boat was heeling over far too much and far too often meaning we were either rolling from side to side or were sliding up and down the bed; we think the only solution is to hook up a hammock somewhere and sleep in that – of course it needs to be someplace where the rain can’t get us either which limits where it could go. By the time the sun was due to rise the skies had clouded over completely and we were doubtful that we would see the sun at all. The sky turned an ominous red behind the clouds – a sign of things to come for the day! Gerry spoke with Y Not and Timella on the radio schedule, telling of our overnight trip and asking if there is any sort of qualification needed to be a weather man, Gerry is sure he could do as well as some of the predictions we have had recently! Anyway we spent the entire day trying to hold ourselves into the boat, the wind speed picked up during the late morning and we had a steady 21 knots of wind which was moving us along at a good 6.5 – 7.5 knots with a full main up and a reefed jib. Once the winds established a constant speed of more than 18 knots we put a reef in the main to try and steady the motion, in retrospect we should have put both reefs in at this point but you know about that hind sight stuff! Mid afternoon Gerry went for his nap and after about 40 minutes reappeared as he was unable to sleep due to being almost on his head with the heeling over. As he reappeared our wind speed hit 23knots and he decided that it was way past time to put the second reef in the main. So as we roared along, heeled over so far that the gunwales were in the water, Gerry donned a harness and went out on deck to put the second reef in, a foolhardy action which luckily had no negative results. As soon as the reef was in we steadied up a little and our speed dropped to 8 knots from the 8.8 that we had been doing. It was still a very uncomfortable ride but fast! The skies remained cloudy all day but at least it didn’t rain on us. Gerry spotted a rainbow some way off from us in the early part of the afternoon which was the excitement for the day until at 16.28hrs the cry went up – Land Ho! There in the distance were the peaks of Tahiti poking up through the clouds, still about 36 miles off but at last we were getting close. As we got closer to land we thought the wind must be due to drop a little but this was not to be, instead it increased even further and reached 32 knots a few times. Gerry even took over from George and hand steered for the last 2 hours before we got into the lee of the island as he didn’t want to wear George out! It was 21.35hrs by the time we reached the lee of the land and at long last the wind dropped, in fact it died away to just 3 knots – a huge difference from 31 and suddenly we were wallowing along with 6 miles left to go before we could turn into the harbour entrance. The good thing was that we were now sitting level in the water and Gerry thought that we would be able to run the engine without sucking air in along with the fuel. We took the chance and furled away the jib and dropped the main then started up the engine, it miss fired a couple of times but then burst into life and we managed to motor into the harbour. We called the port captain (as per instructions) and were surprised to get a reply this late in the day (it was now just after 22.00hrs). We were told to proceed in and tie up or anchor inside the harbour in one of the designated areas. We followed the lights in and found that there is a large new tying up place inside the harbour and we picked a spot alongside and tied up for the night expecting to have to move in the morning. By the time we were in, tied up and shut down it was 23.55hrs – we had just made it before midnight and it was time for a decent night sleep without the boat moving. We were very relieved to have finished this particular part of the trip, it was far worse than the 21 day and 12 hour crossing from the Galapagos to the Marquesas; and we are in good time to meet our daughter when she arrives on the 28th!



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