We lifted the anchor, getting wet from the soft drizzle coming down. The weather forecast said that we are sailing into strong winds up to 25knots, and swells up to 3.5m, only 6 seconds apart so we knew we were in for a slightly rougher sail. But our Skipper wanted to go, and his good crew was up and setting sails! It wasn`t long before the Forecast came true for a change, and we were rolling in a very choppy ocean. We sailed south west on the leeward side of Tahuata Island and enjoyed the shelter against nature.
We needed to check the depth sounder because it registers the depth on and off and our Skipper thought that it must be interference due to growth underneath the hull. We also tried to scrub Andando down a bit, but the rain started again and we lifted anchor after we cleaned the depth sounder. Johan believes that these little creatures are definitely slowing us down! While the storm was still thundering over our heads with heavy black clouds hanging over the huge mountains, we sailed away in the 20 knot winds, but we kept close to the island. We passed the two bays close to each other, Vaivanui and Vaitahu. I would love to know the meaning of these strange words. Finally we reached Hanatefau,
After a good nights` rest, we were ready for the sea!
Although the swells were rolling us around, we were doing good speed. We averaged 6,5 knots so far! Maximum speed during a squall was 13,3knots, even with the main and genoa reefed down! The dark nights are still getting to me, and I don`t know why the wind feels stronger and the swells even bigger when it is so dark. My shift is still between 01h00 and 4h00, but I love to stay `till about 04h30 just to be thankful to see the glimmer of the promise of a new Sun! Our supplies are thinning, and we are all craving some fresh fruit and vegetables. The stocking up in Atuona was not very successful and we could not get any diesel either. We see the bowl of fresh fruit on a table or the salad on a plate every time we watch a movie… Why do they advertise these tropical islands with fruit cocktails and watermelons? Luckily we are still feasting on the big tuna we caught, and are hoping to catch a white fish soon. This morning a very big Dorado took our lure, but while Johan was trawling it in, he lost it. The hook was snapped off completely! Maybe it would have been a little bit too big for us.
Our spirits are still high, thanks to Marco, coming up with magic tricks or a dress-up dance! With the squalls coming down we fill up our drinking water. We succeeded to fill up 15 liters with one wash down! Even Andando is cleaned every now and then, washing down the salt. The swells wash over her, and for the first time swells are breaking over her aft deck! But boy, I do respect this boat! With these swells towering over us, she just lifts her bum and surfs them, and not once did I feel scared of her letting us down.
We reached the northern part of the Tuomotus Archipelago and I so wish we had the time to sneak into the atolls. Manihi was the first one we passed, and it is so amazing to see these sea filled atolls with palm trees.