Sunday, October 08, 2017

Moving on to the Ha'apai Group - Nukunamo Island

[Kyle]At 0450, we were finished with our preparations and ready to start engines, but there was no sign of life from the boat ahead. We hoped they didn't think we were on island time. Perhaps I should have told them about working for an airline. I need not have worried though, as their ensign was just a big piece of the Tongan flag, which is to say Swiss. Their engines were running when my watch, which their countrymen built, read 0455.

Passage and arrival to Ha'apai - beautiful sunrises and sunsets
And a boobie to entertain us en route!

We each brought our anchors up, doing a little dance left and right to keep out of each others way. Sound carries well through water and I'm sure the sound of two chains rattling their way aboard and four props spinning made quite a din. It was pretty much the opposite of our silent getaway from Niue. Ordinarily, I would try to sneak out as quietly as we were able, but for some reason, I forgot this time. As we each retrieved the last of our ground tackle and spun one after the other toward the sea, we alternately came close enough to the third boat in the anchorage for anyone looking out of one of their windows to see a sky filled with nothing but catamaran.

The Swiss were ahead, so we expected them to slowly recede as the morning wore on. We had our sails up first, though, and went careening by them while we still had our engines running. When we finally shut them down, we were ahead of them by about half a mile. They had full sail up when they were 1.6nm behind. Then we just stayed in formation for the whole day, never varying our distance by more than a tenth of a mile. Their cabin was just over the horizon, but we could see their mast and sails. I'd love to say we saw whales, caught fish and went really fast, but mostly we were at the edge of our seats, hoping that we could really make it to the Ha'apai before dark in a slowly dying wind.

Just before we got in the lee of the fist island, the wind died way off and the currents got really swirly. We tried to make the best of it and ended up heading forty degrees off course at a couple knots. They gave up, started their engines and went barreling by us. We seemed to be heading for the same anchorage and we feared we would be the late comer who would have difficulty finding space after they arrived first. Just before we got there, though, they stopped their engines and put up sail again. We whizzed by them, since we had just given up on sail and had both of our engines going. We pulled out of deep water toward our anchorage and they kept on.

We ended up with the whole place to ourselves. It wasn't that interesting, but it was marvelous in that it had a really big patch of coral-free sand way out from the beach. It was too far to the beach or to the nearest bommies for snorkeling and we really didn't want to deal with deploying the dinghy, so we just sat back and enjoyed the roominess. It was the weekend and we had a couple of days to kill until we could clear in on Monday. A couple of other boats came the next day, but they anchored far enough off that they would have been in the next anchorage over in many places.

1 comment:

Geoffrey Gardella said...

I do hope you forgot to use your headsets that morning and were forced to yell at each other while next to the other boat.