Monday, September 10, 2018

Passage to Niue

[Kyle]The sail from Beveridge to Niue was exactly the way we would like every passage to be. We had medium-ish tailwinds and following seas. We flew our spinnaker the whole way, only dousing it and switching to the jib at the very end. I wanted more control over our speed, since it’s possible to roll it up to reduce its size. This allowed us to ghost our way into the mooring field at Alofi Harbor and pick up a mooring without using the engines. We coasted to a stop about half a meter too far from our first one so we fell off, picked up speed, tacked, and came back for a successful second try. We called Niue Radio and reported our arrival and were told to report ashore the next morning for clearance. We were back in one of our favorite places.


Another South Pacific Passage - this time to Niue

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Chilling in Beveridge Reef

[Kyle]Once we were safely anchored at Beveridge Reef, and settled in, we called Ganesh for a longer chat. We invited Fatty and Carolyn to dinner the next evening. Even though we ended up anchored just over a mile away from them, they offered to make the trip in their dinghy so that we would not have to go through the trouble of de-lifeboatifying ours.


Life at Beveridge Reef
Visitors, Chores, and Snorkeling

As I said before, we have been admirers of Fatty’s writing for a long time. Over the years, I’ve secretly been hoping we would find ourselves in the same place one day. They were in Greece the same time we were, but by the time we found out, we were in Italy and they had rushed ahead all of the way to Spain. Years later, I was in Chicago stuck in some horrible weather waiting for Air Traffic Control to let me take off and fly to some other equally bleak place when Maryanne texted me a photo of Fatty with his arm around her at the boat show in Oakland. Damn! By then, our boats were pretty much at opposite longitudes from one another, so our chances of ever meeting them became very slim. Once we took a whole year to make the big South Pacific loop, they were able to catch up to us. We saw them on the AIS in Huahine just as we left, but we were leaving, so maybe some other time.

The time had finally come. They arrived all dressed up and wearing broad smiles. We invited them aboard and within no time at all, we were laughing and swapping sea stories. Not only have they got a million of them, but they were also good listeners who seemed genuinely interested in hearing about the long, meandering path that had brought us into the same lagoon with them.

I told Fatty I had a bone to pick with him. He put on his patient and understanding face and braced for it. He gets a lot of angry letters to the editor from people who don’t get him.

”Back when we used to get your magazine,” I said, “I’d read your column and you almost always made me cry, you jerk!” I’m sentimental.

His face opened into a wide grin. “Finally! That’s what I was trying for!”

So there I was, sitting at lunch on our boat with a beaming Cap’n Fatty. I couldn’t have been more pleased if Bill Bryson sat next to me on a train and asked if I’d help him with the crossword.

The day went by much too quickly and we were soon parting so that they would have time to return to Ganesh in daylight.

The next two days were too windy for any of us to even consider leaving our own boats. Maryanne and I used the time to sleep in, watch movies and get a few jobs done on Begonia. My first priority, of course, was to figure out what had gone wrong with our windlass when we left Suwarrow. The relay box clicked when the buttons were pressed, but the motor wouldn’t turn at all. The event seemed too quick to have burned out the motor and it was way too new for the brushes inside to be worn out already. It was acting like either a fuse had blown or the gearbox was jammed. I had a vague memory of some sort of cutoff labeled “Windlass”, but couldn’t find anything. The vexing thing was the click. If power was getting to the relay box, there was probably not a blown fuse. We have several layers of fusing in our electrical system and most would have caused other things to fail, all of which were working.

That left the gearbox. In order to test that, I had to remove the whole windlass so I could get the cover off of the electric motor and disconnect that. Once that was done, I was able to determine there was nothing wrong with the gear box. Okay. Next, I disassembled the electric motor, found that it still looks brand new and put it back together. When I tested it, it still wouldn’t work so I did it all again for good measure with the same result. Weird. I then wired both it and the spare motor from our old windlass directly to the batteries and discovered they both work fine.

That left me with no other alternative than work my way through the entire electrical system all of the way between the batteries and the windlass motor. This meant we had to tear apart the boat and empty lockers so I could wriggle my way into the deep, dark innards of the boat with our multimeter to trace the problem. I swear, every time I do this, I think I will be too old for it in another week’s time.

At great length, I learned a couple of interesting things. First was that the power to the windlass control uses a completely independent circuit than the power that goes to the motor. That’s why the relay clicks even when there’s no power to go through it to the motor. Second was that our port motor does NOT actually have to be running for the windlass controls to be activated as I have thought for years, the switch just has to be on. That saved a lot of fuel doing the diagnoses.

Eventually, I figured out it couldn’t be anything except the power over the big wires from the battery to the windlass motor. I was hunched over the batteries, diligently tracing every wire attached to each and looking for a fuse I may have missed when I saw it: the windlass circuit breaker. It was off.

I look at that thing every time we use the engines, but since it has never tripped, I guess I stopped seeing it and started thinking it as part of the wallpaper, so to speak. I flipped it back on and, sure enough, everything worked just fine. At least I learned a lot and now our electrical system has had a good inspection. Groan.


We took a few breaks to go snorkelling
That last picture is an octopus (another highlight for Kyle)

Fatty called and said he was having the same symptoms with his windlass. I tried to save him the same trouble I had by going through what I learned over the radio. After a while, he called back and said his motor was bad. Our spare motor is a little less powerful, but it was from the same manufacturer and looked like it would fit their windlass, so we offered it to them, at least until they could get a proper replacement. With ours up and working again, we upped anchor and moved closer to them to shorten the transit distance. By the time we were settled in, Fatty said theirs was fixed. Their motor was old and dirty and had been overdue for a good refurbishing. Once it was polished up, it was like new again.

The howling winds of the previous few days started to abate and they called to invite us to dinner aboard Ganesh the next day. Wow, she is really lovely and well appointed for this type of cruising. Even though they probably have about as much interior space as we do, Ganesh seemed much less cluttered. They are on their fourth circumnavigation and their boat is also their only home, but you couldn’t tell by the clutter. They even have room for bulkhead art and little knick-knacks as souvenirs of their travels.

We had another rousing evening that passed too quickly. At the end Fatty and Carolyn both signed our dog-eared copy of “Chasing the Horizon” and gifted us a copy of his book “Red Sea Run” about their trip through Pirate Alley to the Med. We learned why we had missed them in Greece and why they had gone that way in the first place instead of going around South Africa as usual; they were rushing to Spain to attend the birth of their granddaughter. Their stories of both routes sound harrowing, but I think we are still very much favoring the southern route.

In the morning, they called us early and surprised us to say they were leaving. I popped my head out into the cockpit and could see them heading toward the pass, already with sail up. We wished them farewell and watched as they slowly receded over the western horizon. They were heading for Tonga.

That left Begonia as the Royal Palace for both North and South Beveridge. We stayed for another week. Apart from one other boat that arrived to swim the pass and then left again the same day as Ganesh without saying a word, we neither saw nor heard anyone else.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Passage to Beveridge Reef

[Kyle]The day before we left Suwarrow, I swam on our chain and got it all untangled and lying in a nice channel of sand between Begonia and our anchor. The wind was supposed to be from a constant direction overnight and we were hoping to avoid the necessity of getting one or more of our poor neighbors out of bed early to help us as we departed. Only about one in four boats gets away with this, but we figured a little advance planning might help our chances.


Sail to Beveridge Reef
Views from the passage

It did not. Everything was going great. I got Begonia carefully lined up on the bearing I had pre-scouted between our anchor trip line float and a certain palm tree on the beach (the medium one, with the fronds). Maryanne pulled up the chain without incident and laboriously stripped and stowed all of the intermediate floats. Just as we were nearing our anchor, I left the boat in forward gear just a second or two too long. The chain slackened and sagged and the bight of the loop tucked itself right into a slot between the sand and the underside of a big bommie. That took all of the slack out of the chain. As we rose on the next little wavelet, it pulled really tight. That put way too much strain on our windlass. Maryanne tried to let out more chain to reduce the tension, but all it would do is click, but not turn in either direction. Why does it always have to be more than one thing at a time?

I put out a call for help on the radio. There were plenty of people standing by for such an event, but Nick from Urchin was first in the water almost as soon as I had unkeyed the mic. Maryanne and I swapped places. Nick directed her from the water to get some slack in the chain (which we could do manually) and keep it away from other bommies. Once she had done all of that, he dove down and manhandled it out from under the coral head and surfaced to tell me to hoist. Since the windlass was out of commission and since operating it with the manual backup handle is really slow, I opted to retrieve it hand over hand. I didn’t want to give the anchor time to snag anything else on the way up. Damn, that thing is heavy! 10m of chain and our anchor weighs about 50 kilos (110lbs). That’s a lot of weight to pull up by pulling one hand at a time on a wet chain. When it was up and stowed, I tried the windlass controls again. Up – click! Down – click! No movement.

Maryanne and I switched again. I steered us out of the lagoon while she stood on the bow looking for hazards. Just as we were getting to the narrowest, shallowest part of the pass, Catherine from La Cigale called Maryanne to wish us Bon Voyage. She’s six years old and had decided Maryanne was her new best friend the evening before. She wanted to give us a long farewell, complete with stories that meander in the aimless way of those narrated by six year olds. I think she may have included a little song as well. We were in a bit of a high workload environment at that exact moment, so we couldn’t devote as much of our attention to our end of the conversation as she was, but we were touched nonetheless.

Harlequin departed shortly thereafter and soon we were both outside the reef, ticking off motus and enjoying a fast sail in the calm waters in the lee of the atoll. When we got to its western extreme, we carried on hugging the reef while they continued straight on toward Samoa.

At the southern tip, we met the big ocean swell head on as it wrapped around the other side of the atoll. We bore off and sailed fast across beam seas that rolled us just enough to make it really uncomfortable. We had another day and a half of that until the wind finally let up and we slowly coasted to a stop on a sea with only a hint of a swell from a distant storm tearing up the Roaring Forties almost two thousand miles away.

With the wind and the waves gone, all of the other little noises of the boat floated to the surface. I spent an hour and a half on one watch crawling all over the boat, trying to track down the annoying sound of something that had broken loose. It turned out to be a little container of spices that had fallen over and was rolling around in the space in the cupboard below the rack.

We had a Noon to Noon run of just 27 nautical miles. That’s way below walking speed. 26.5 of those were sailed before 8am. Then it was 0.49, 0.01 (60 feet!), 0.00 and 0.00 each hour thereafter. At least the current was going in the right direction.

A wall of gray clouds approached from the south. There was a blast of wind from that direction, followed shortly by pelting rain. The rain finished a couple of hours later, but left behind the wind for us so we could get moving again. Within a few more hours, we were sailing a little close to a little too much wind. We were back to rolling around in beam seas again and wishing our new wind would taper off just a bit so it was easier for the off watch to sleep.

Two fast days later, we spotted some suspicious looking waves on the horizon. I turned on the radar and played with the gain until it showed just the crests of the breakers as they formed the familiar outline of Beveridge Reef. We hadn’t seen or heard any sign of anybody since Suwarrow and I was starting to hope we might actually get away with having it to ourselves. There’s something nice about having a little patch of international waters to rule over without the burden of keeping watches. Without having to democratically include the inputs of others, we can make a little society using only the rules and traditions we want.

Some examples:

  1. In the Republic of Begonia, no alarm shall be used to wake a sleeping citizen.
  2. No work is to be undertaken prior to the finishing of morning coffee.
  3. Cocktail Hour may be commenced any time following the completion of the work from Rule 2.
  4. On clear nights, stargazing is mandatory.
  5. Certain days may be arbitrarily declared Clothing Optional.

Then an AIS target popped up. It was not moving and it was positioned inside the reef. Aw, Man! So much for Naked Thursday. A little closer in, the rest of the data tag arrived. The boat was Ganesh, home to Cap’n Fatty and Carolyn Goodlander. For those of you that don’t know of him, Cap’n Fatty is the Editor at Large of Cruising World magazine. Maryanne and I have been reading his writing since he was a freelancer who managed to occasionally get a column printed on the third to last page. What I liked about him especially was that he seemed to be the token Cruiser in the magazine. The other columnists were all sellouts who gushed about the expensive yachts advertized in their pages as the perfect boats for whichever niche they were marketed, or they would write segments about cruising in some nice area of the world, which would seem great until you realized little actual sailing was involved and that it was just thinly disguised ad copy for some charter company.

Fatty was different. He was always broke because he cares more about sailing than money, so he has had very little, but he’s been everywhere. Instead of the perfect new winch handle, he writes about sailing into the sunset, tropical landfalls and how free he feels wandering the world as a sea gypsy. Reading one of his columns, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll get a little choked up. If there was going to be another boat in the anchorage, Ganesh was the least likely to offend my imperial ambitions. We’ll take North Beveridge, they can have the South.

Carolyn spotted us and got on the radio to say they were monitoring the frequency. We called to introduce ourselves and they were surprisingly sociable. I expected they had come to get some time to themselves, but they were quite welcoming and promised to get together with us as soon as we had had some rest and the wind died down a bit.

Since our windlass was not working, we did not need to run the port engine running to deploy the anchor. We (I) decided to drop it manually under sail for a little variety. We made a couple of tacks down the western side of the reef to the pass and then sailed in. Once inside, we tightened the sheets and sailed close hauled right at Ganesh. I could imagine they must have been cursing themselves for being so friendly. We had a whole reef to choose from, but we had every appearance of intending to anchor right on top of them.

Just kidding! It’s all part of our anchoring plan. When we got near, we bore off so the wind was now behind us. We then rolled up the jib and headed for a spot near the old wreck of a steel fishing boat. We pulled up on the sand shelf behind the reef, rounded up into the wind to stop the boat, dropped the anchor and drifted back. Once we were done, we “shut down the engines” by meandering back and lowering the mainsail neatly onto its bag on the boom. That’s my kind of arrival!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Suwarrow

[Kyle]There were eleven boats in the anchorage at Suwarrow, making us number twelve. Right behind us was number thirteen. Last year, I think we got up to nine. It took us over an hour of milling around to find a spot to anchor that wasn’t terrible. There’s really only about three good places to drop the hook here. We ended up on a small patch of sand in lots of bommies, requiring all of our chain floats and frequent swims to untangle the knots made by the last wind shift.


First day back in Suwarrow - we're in paradise again!

In the anchorage were Chris and Elayne from Nemo, John from Hecla of Uist and Toby and Sam from Sweet Chariot. None of them had originally planned to stop at Suwarrow, but then when they got close, they decided it was too good to pass up. We spent the next couple of days mostly with them, getting caught up.

When the weather shifted to the east a few of days later, seven boats left, mostly for American Samoa. Probably two thirds of them needed swimmers in the water to help them get their anchors unwrapped.

With the group size down to a more manageable level, Maryanne the Activities Director arranged with Ranger John for palm frond weaving lessons on the beach. He taught us how to make plates and baskets, either of which can be used as emergency hats in the event of sudden downpours. He also demonstrated how to weave watertight roofing too - he was VERY patient with us.


The next evening, Maryanne organized our first pot luck. We got really lucky because that morning, a new boat arrived with a young singlehander, Nick. He had caught a 50 kilo tuna just before arriving and showed up with a salad bowl full of Poisson Cru and more than enough big tuna steaks for the rest us. We all left feeling like we had just had a Beach Thanksgiving.


A very busy social life in the middle of nowhere

The following morning, we swam over to Hecla and Nemo to help them untangle their anchors and then bid them both fair winds for their trip to Samoa. We were on our way to a new snorkeling spot when we decided to alter course and say hi to a new arrival. They were nervous about sharks, so we offered to show them where the mantas were and accompany them as bait. We managed to find two for their first outing and only one disinterested black tip shark, which they never saw trying to sneak up on them, so they were happy.


And don't forget the Manta Rays!
We visited them most days

Everyone took it easy for the next couple of days while it rained off and on. We went to the beach to forage for coconuts and stopped occasionally at other boats to say hi. No one seemed up for an all-boat get together, fearing the clear skies between showers wouldn’t hold. We were able to catch enough water for a big laundry day at the end. It had been piling up for a while and it was good to get the big job out of the way.

The weather afterward was clear and calm. We took the opportunity to take the Pudgy a couple of miles into the lagoon to snorkel on a couple of reefs marked on the chart. I was excited about getting to see some stuff away from the vicinity of the anchorage, where we knew it was likely no one has been for years. I was hoping for lots of big fish and pristine coral, but all we ended up finding was two big mounds of gravel rising from the black depths and topped with only sparse life. Well, now we know for next time. The snorkeling near the anchorage is much better.

After going home and changing, we went over to Nauta d, to whom we had shown the mantas the day after they arrived, and spent some time with them. We had been invited for drinks, but were offered a few “snacks” as well. They kept handing us bowl after bowl of delicious ceviche and gazpacho, prepared by Uxoa, their Spanish (Catalan) crew. Our snacks took care of dinner for us and then some.

While we ate and rolled our eyes back in their sockets with pleasure, they told us about their journey from their home port in Germany. It was fascinating. Of all of the European boats that we have met, they surely have set the record for fastest trip to Suwarrow. Instead of the usual one to three years, they had done the trip in four months. How? They did it by sticking as closely as they could to the great circle route from the Baltic. They sailed to Greenland, up the Davis Strait to the Arctic Ocean, and crossed over Canada to the Bering Strait. The season up there was coming to a quick close, so they high-tailed it to Hawaii, made a brief stop and got out of there before Hurricane season got too established. After a quick stop in the Gilbert Islands, near the equator, they arrived at Suwarrow, where they could slow down and join the part of the crowd heading for Australia. Their route was less than half of the distance of going around Cape Horn and about two-thirds that of the route through the Panama Canal.


Plenty of exploring - ashore and underwater
Boobies were still nesting

That wasn’t why they did it. They did it for the adventure of transiting the Northwest Passage. Their photos were amazing! The giant bergs with their million shades of blue and white and the crystal clear air reminded us of Antarctica and had us sighing with nostalgia for the opposite side of the globe. Instead of penguins, though, they saw Walrus, Narwhal and Polar Bears. Uxoa got a particularly good photo of a mother and her two fluffy cubs sitting on a floe and we were transfixed by masthead video she took of Nauta d crunching through patches of slushy ice. It was nice to experience the trip vicariously through them. Ice and catamarans don’t go well together.

A few boats left. A few others arrived. One Canadian boat brought a music teacher, Lisa, her family and a handful of instruments. We met them when we went ashore the next morning to clear out for the day after. They and a few others were making noises about sundowners on the beach later. We had to decline because we would be leaving early and our dinghy would be trussed up in lifeboat mode. They solved that problem by offering to come over and pick us up on their way to the beach.

After her daughter Robin dropped us off at the beach, she went back to their boat to collect her parents. Lisa brought her guitar ashore that night, sang a few songs with Robin as backup and handed the instrument over to Ranger John. Man, John can play! He has an enormous repertoire of traditional and modern songs in his head, which he seems to be able to play by ear. While going through a section of tunes by The Eagles, he even did an impressive job of duplicating Eric Clapton’s more difficult riffs.

Ranger Harry showed up with the guitar he and John usually have to share and joined in, playing harmony. Being able to play at the same time is a rare treat and the moonlight streaming through a gap in the palm fronds revealed a big smile on Harry’s face. He also plays beautifully. He has an incredible voice and when he finished the evening plucking out and singing a Polynesian song about the sea, we all got a little choked up and only narrowly avoided a group hug. I’m sure there wasn’t a single person on that beach at that moment who would have wanted to be anywhere else that night. For us, it was the perfect last evening for us on Suwarrow.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Passage to Suwarrow

[Kyle]On the morning we left Maupiti for Suwarrow, we were more than a little apprehensive about the pass. The swell had been decreasing for the last few days and by the time we exited, it was just as calm as inside the lagoon.


sail from Maupiti to Suwarrow

We had three fast days on a close reach in north winds. Then a front approached. We got one crazy, rainy, swirly watch each and then we were back to fast sailing on the other tack in south winds. We arrived on the exact same date as we had the year before. I checked the log; 15,808 nautical miles in just over 3,000 hours. That meant that since we were here last year, we have spent over a third of the time underway getting back here. Half of that was on the one long sail from New Zealand to Chile.

Harry, the Ranger was back. In Katu’s place was John, who had last been nine years ago. Harry recognized us and gave us a warm welcome.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Maupiti - Waiting out the weather

[Kyle]From Bora Bora, we had been planning to go to Maupiha’a, a day or so to the WSW. Maupiha’a has a pass less than three times the width of Begonia which has the reputation of being tricky on a good day. By the morning we left Bora Bora, the forecasts were all converging on big seas from the southwest, which would spill over into the lagoon and make the current going out of the pass very strong. They also were saying there would be strong winds from the northeast, which would pretty much ensure big, standing waves across the entrance. We decided to abandon our plan and have a look at Maupiti instead. Maupiti is only twenty-five miles from Bora Bora and has a tricky south-facing entrance. We had been there the year before, so we decided to head for the anchorage at the town for some variety.


Arriving in Maupiti - pass conditions were a bit rough

Since we had originally planned to be up in time to sail to Maupiha’a, we were the first boat out of the pass at Bora Bora. We cleared the pass, hoisted the spinnaker and had twenty minutes of great sailing. Then the wind all but disappeared and we had a very slow, frustrating, floppy couple of hours while everybody that left after us went motoring by. We were just starting to think we might have to reach for the start button ourselves if we were going to get in by nightfall when we finally got some real wind and took off way faster than we could have motored.

We arrived at Maupiti with about four hours of daylight left. The area around the pass looked pretty scary from edge on. We could see big breakers with lots of spray being blown off of their tops. When we got aligned with the entrance, we could see a definite gap in the surf. We studied it for a bit and then headed in.

Maupiti’s pass isn’t as narrow as Muapiha’a’s, but it’s pretty narrow. It was important to keep exactly on the centerline, as marked by two big range markers, to keep off of the drying reefs to either side. Occasionally, a breaker from one of the bigger waves would sneak into the channel and try to slew us sideways, requiring three quarters of the rudder travel to keep us straight. As we were approaching the narrowest, shallowest part, a really big wave passed just to starboard and cut in front of us. As it passed ahead, the channel, the range markers, everything below palm tree height disappeared behind the crest. All we could see was a turquoise outline at the top and the white spray being blown back towards us. It was probably five long seconds before it receded and we could see that we were still in the middle of the range. We didn’t have enough room to turn around without stopping first and the current was strengthening, increasing our chances of being swept out of the channel until we could get some water moving over the rudders. We decided we had to keep going.

I was completely fixated on doing whatever I could to keep us in the middle of the range as the currents swirled us to the left and right. Maryanne looked behind us and told me another really big wave was just forming in the deep water about nine waves back. She kept watching it and all of the others in between while I focused ahead on the range markers and keeping us aligned. By the time she said we had about three waves to go, we were almost at the first marker, which was a post mounted on the reef at the pinch point. A wave later, I was staring at the range marks when she told me we weren’t moving forward except when surfing. She said, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but we need more power.”

I definitely didn’t want to hear that. Years of flying has conditioned me to always treat engines as gently as possible because lives depend on them. Reserve power is for emergencies only. Use it if you need it, but understand it comes at a much higher risk. Components working near their maximum designed load suffer a much higher chance of catastrophic failure. A bent valve, a broken belt or an overheated bearing anywhere between the engines and the props could easily have resulted in disaster. It was with no small degree of anxiety that I pushed the throttles forward and then pushed them some more and then listened intently for any telltale clunk, whine or cough. We went from moving forward just under half of the time to moving forward most of the time. The next wave shoved us a couple of boat lengths until we were abeam the marker. The big one came next. It curled up and broke. The curler advanced towards us and didn’t collapse until it had nearly gone over the dinghy into the cockpit. At the other end of the boat, our bows were already in flat water, pushing through eddies. We surfed down what was left of the wave and we were in. Holeeee Buckets!

It was a few more minutes before we were going reliably forward enough for me to back off the power. Going straight was still my main challenge, but I managed to sneak a glance at out tachometers. Even after the reduction, we were still at over 3,000rpm. We cruise at 2,400 and redline at 3,400. I definitely avoided hitting the stops, but we must have been close to the latter value. A mile or so later, the lagoon widened out and we were able to reduce to a normal rpm and come on in like it was any nice, sunny day in paradise. It took my personal rpm a lot longer to start winding down after that. We checked over the engines carefully afterward and they seem to have suffered no ill effects. That’s why we baby them in the first place, so they’re there when we need them.

We picked our way up the shallow channel to the anchorage near the town. We had read that there were three mooring balls there, but we could not find them and the other four boats were anchored. We felt our way as far past the end of the channel as we dared and dropped the anchor in three meters of murky water. I was worried the bottom would be all bommies beneath the silt, but when I swam on the anchor later, I was pleased to find us resting over a sandy bottom so fine that it was almost like sand-colored mud.

The guy from the nearest boat came by to introduce himself and invite us to drinks the next night. We met almost everybody else there. Most, it turned out, were planning on leaving for Maupiha’a in a day or two. Conditions were not supposed to have changed much, but they were all going to give it a try. I suddenly started to wonder if we had ducked out too easily. I looked at it again and decided definitely not. That, plus the place was about to have twice as many boats in the anchorage for the amount of space they have. We wished them well and stuck around another couple of days.

We were thinking of de-lifeboating the dinghy and going ashore, but Rob, the guy next door, kept showing up first thing to tell us he just got back from the village and found everything shut. He also offered to take us in his dinghy if anything did open. It never did, so we just spent a couple of quiet days aboard enjoying the view.

{Maryanne: Bob was extremely kind and every day attempted to deliver bread from town to all the cruisers... It never quite happened but not for want on trying on his part. We were grateful nevertheless - intent being just as kind as achievement.}


Views of Maupiti
including cooking up a BBQ and the almost bread delivery