Papeete is much more crowded than when we were here 4 years ago! Both marinas are full and vessels are anchored all along the inner channel. We found a spot to drop the hook south of downtown; inconvenient, but it will have to do for now. Since we have to finalize the paperwork for our long-stay visa here, we will probably be in Papeete for a while. No chance of getting bored, though; we passed up museums, gardens, etc. our first time around, so there is plenty to see while we're waiting.
We have great wind for our course, and are having to reduce sail in order to make our final approach to Tahiti in daylight tomorrow. Is that a hot shower I hear calling?
Easterlies filled in late yesterday afternoon and we've been at a gallop ever since. We had a Rainbow Morning: numerous rain showers in the vicinity, but enough sunshine to light them up with colors.
We thoroughly enjoyed Raivavae, particularly our long walks around & over the island, and feasting on pamplemousse! Now it's time to move on; we departed for Papeete this morning.
Landfall! Given yesterday's conditions we weren't sure we would arrive today, but overnight the wind became a consistent ESE 25-30k so we managed to make it. The anchorage is far from calm (see below) but we set an anchor alarm and took a very long nap! We're looking forward to exploring Raivavae and may stay here a couple of weeks; I'll file YIT reports again when we start sailing north to Tahiti.
Yesterday afternoon we encountered SE winds precisely on cue and we were able to execute Plan A (keep same direction with sails up, directly to Raivavae). Apparently one of the weather gods decided things were going too smoothly, as today has been a mess! No dependable wind speed or direction, messy seas, lots of rain (and lots of sail changes).
Ugh, still motoring. We should reach the band of easterlies any time now...
Gribs have been remarkably accurate on this passage, so we banked on being able to drive north in an upcoming calm. Sure enough, winds died as predicted; we fired up the engine and are heading slightly east of the rhumb line to Raivavae. Even with no wind for a while, the swells are still magnificent!
Soon we'll need to turn more northerly, but for now winds are still taking us ENE rather than NE. Still moving well though, it's quite a fun sleigh ride downwind on these large swells! We've started to see a few seabirds again, a different species this time. It sounded like they were speaking French.
So far we had been able to sail the direction we wanted, but the most recent wind change meant we are having to head off a bit. That's called a passage, though, and so far we're still making progress, so no complaints on this ship!
We're riding the periphery of a low and having a great run! It's a bit warmer as we work our way north, but there aren't nearly as many seabirds.
Sailing was slow overnight but picked up briskly in the morning. Conventional advice for this passage is to wait until reaching 155W before turning north, but gribs showed turning earlier could be advantageous
Yesterday afternoon's succession of strong squalls gave way to a mostly clear night with frequent gusts over 35k. The full moon on 4.5 m seas was a sight to behold! As the center of the high approached, winds calmed but seas are still large, so we're motorsailing for a while to keep from banging around so much. We're paying tribute to passing the halfway point (in terms of miles) by having a NZ breakfast and a FP dinner. (Not as exciting as it sounds
Continuing to enjoy the seabirds and large waves, and making good easterly progress. Position reports are from noon and this was our "base rate"; we spent the afternoon running downwind in front of frequent heavy squalls.
Winds were 25-30k overnight with gusts and squalls of winds 35-40k. We were glad we'd dropped to 3rd reef before dark so the feisty night wasn't problematic. We're also grateful that the wind is behind us, and we're making good progress. *This report may not have been filed properly on 17 May so I'm sending it again on 18 May (NZ date).
Winds were 25-30k overnight with gusts and squalls of winds 35-40k. We were glad we'd dropped to 3rd reef before dark so the feisty night wasn't problematic. We're also grateful that the wind is behind us, and we're making good progress.
We came a bit south to be ready for predicted westerlies, and are now on a downwind run with main on 2nd reef.
Motoring in virtually no wind and beautiful swells. An albatross has visited a few times today, along with other seabirds; marvelous! Art was a carpenter at sea, repairing a hinge that broke on our companionway door.
Squalls with 35-40k winds and heavy rain appeared overnight, but the old gals were primed for the event and came through in style (Second Wind down to just inner foresail, crew in foulies). Wind is backing, seas are getting rougher; it's a frisky ride but not a bad one.
The low pressure system arrived punctually at midnight, at which point we were very glad that 1)we are members of the Reef Early, Reef Deep Club, and 2)we weren't any closer to the center of the low. Right know we're just trying to keep Second Wind at the most advantageous angle to the waves. (And sadly
Still making good time, and trying to best position ourselves for the low pressure system soon to arrive. Ideally we'll end up near the top of it, not down in it! We were intrigued by a small land bird that found its way into our cockpit, at least 400 miles from home. When it flew away we were concerned it would perish, but a couple hours later it returned
The strategy was to sail ESE but since the wind backed, we're able to head east at best. But no complaints, we're moving nicely (and the fortune cookie said this heading may put us in a better position for the incoming low).
We've had breezes of 10-20k and mostly sunny skies; what a great start on our passage to Raivavae!
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