I think I’ve said earlier that passage making is made up of a series of highs and lows….
The first two photos are of porpoises welcoming us to Nanumea island. We think they must have been porpoises not dolphins because of their size. These not so little guys were playing in the bow wake of the boat and looking up at us through the water. An incredible experience. It is times like this, when the serenity of being out on the water is the clearest. Having these majestic mammals swimming around the boat can only be described as a spiritual experience – where you feel completely connected to everything around you and totally in the moment. After 10 minutes watching I have to admit I folded and had to go inside and get the camera. BUT I’m glad I did so now we can relive the experience.
The other picture is Robin in the middle of the night in full wet weather gear – the first time since we sailed NZ to Tonga. After two days of beautiful sailing conditions, flat seas, and picture perfect skies along came one of our hardest nights with variable winds between 0 and 30 knots. If you know sailing you know that both sets of conditions are nothing special, but if they come in quick succession of each other it becomes a little trickier. At the end of my watch, which was filled with heavy rain showers, a local system came in and the wind jumped up quickly. We had the motor going to make sure we were making headway in light wind, and the main sail was up to help out. Anyway the wind came up so quickly that we didn’t have time to reef the main so I called Robin up on deck and we decided to turn the boat into a “hoave to” position so we weren’t healing so much under the 30 knots of wind and full sail. After a while we managed to reef (reduce) the main sail. In between figuring out the sails we managed to get a rope wrapped around the propeller and the engine stopped working. Of course at the time we didn’t know there was a rope around the propeller and thought it might have been a more serious problem with the engine. Once everything settled down we figured out that the spinnaker sheet (rope) was the culprit, but we would have to deal with it in the morning. So for the rest of the night we battled through 0-30 knot winds that were changing direction every 10 minutes. Fun times. Not much sleep. Of course everything fades into the background when you are happily anchored and looking back on it the experience was almost enjoyable? We were all up most of the night but Confederate handled everything really well and you only grow from such experiences. I feel happy in my sailing as a similar situation in New Zealand before we left would have made me very uncomfortable but this felt easily manageable. Oh yeah and at sunrise Robin managed to get the spinnaker sheet untangled without having to go in the water – bonus. We had an engine again! – which we definitely needed to get through the 20m wide passage, with 3 knots of current, and into Nanumea!
Nanumea is a spectacular lagoon and we are anchored in 6m of completely flat calm water. Now out to explore. Ye ha grandma. Life is gooood. Confederate clear.