Tropic birds, sunsets and (eventually) the Island we seek
We left Namena just before dusk and pinched as close to the wind as we could. The seas were mild, so not uncomfortable. We were able to sail about five hours on each port tack between one-hour starboard tacks.
That worked for the first half. Then the wind picked up and turned dead against us. We now had two reefs in each sail and were bashing into wave and current. Our progress was about twenty miles toward Vulaga per six-hour watch. The wind was forecast to build to storm force after our arrival and there was nowhere downwind to run that offered protection and a chance to resume our push to Vulaga when it had passed. Our best choice was to hunker down and hope to get to the protection of Vulaga’s lagoon before it hit.
It took us a day longer to get there than I had originally estimated and we arrived just as the wind started getting bad. Even though it’s only 185 miles from Namena, we sailed more than twice that through the water to get here, only twenty miles less than the sail from Tonga.
As soon as we entered the pass, which is so easy to see that it looks like a strip of black asphalt between two concrete sidewalks, all of our offshore drama ended abruptly.
Suddenly, we were gliding through this turquoise lagoon studded with wildly sculpted islets of rock and coral. Every now and then, a few of the bigger ones would be connected with a strip of the most perfectly brilliant yellow sand. Ow! This place is so pretty, it hurts.
Oh my, what a place - totally worth all that tacking.
[Maryanne]The whole passage we ate bananas and papayas (called paw-paws here) for breakfast, lunch and snacks; we had a lot of fruit from Namena to get through! Once again we crossed the longitude line that divides east and west on the globe which is kind-a cool except for one of our apps (OvitalMaps) insists that we scroll all the way around the world to get from one side to the other. Vulaga (pronounced Fu-Langa) has only been open to cruisers for a few years, and in the days before GPS and satellite imagery it would have been a nerve-wracking type of journey indeed. We are so happy to be here. It was a hard slog and most people transit through Lau from North to South, we wanted to get the hard slog part over with so our plan is to spend some time in Vulaga and then amble north through some of the other islands here in Lau.