Friday, July 11, 2008

Headed for Penrhyn Island

July 11, 2008--On Tuesday afternoon we moved over to the motu and worked on a few projects. In the evening, we invited Diane and Jim from sv Prairie Oyster over for appetizers and cocktails and had a very nice evening visiting with them. They will leave a few days after us to head for Raratonga and Tonga.

We decided to stay one more day so Wednesday morning we pulled the anchor and motored to the main island and picked up a mooring ball at Bloody Mary's. This is a famous restaurant here so everyone says it is a "must do" while you are in Bora-Bora. The two other boats from the La Paz group that are here, Prairie Oyster and Wind Dancer, all went in to have lunch as a reunion. Steve and I enjoyed a Jimmy Buffet "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and Steve enjoyed a Bloody Mary, which is their specialty. There were quite a few cruisers there so we were all discussing our French Polynesia exit plans. Jim and Diane tied their dinghy to our boat and joined us while we motored back to the motu to drop our anchor again. This spot has been one of our favorites here. It is beautiful and quiet with lovely water to swim and snorkel in.

Thursday morning we left the anchorage around 9 o'clock and followed the channel to the main entrance. We hoisted our main sail and pulled out our jib and headed out the pass. The breakers on the right side of the pass were quite impressive so I took some video and a few pictures. We enjoyed 17 knots of wind on the beam, which made it a wonderful sail for us. The outlook for the next few days was not so nice--very light winds.

Around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, Bora-Bora faded away from view, and so we said goodbye to French Polynesia. We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful Marquesas, Tuamotus, and Society Islands. The people on the Tuamotus were the friendliest, but we enjoyed meeting people at all these places. It has been very interesting learning about their cultures and histories. It has been an amazing experience for us and also a real challenge, and it will give us something to talk about in the years ahead.

We enjoyed the good conditions for about 12 hours, but the winds died down in the evening so it was slow going with sails slapping for some time. Around 1:30 in the morning I woke Steve up because I saw a large thunderstorm headed toward us. We decided to gibe the sails and head back to the southwest. We were off our track so we would have had to make this move at some time so we decided now was as good a time as ever. This tack took us away from the thunderstorm and back to our original course. Around 5 o'clock this morning we were down to a half knot of boat speed so we finally gave up and started the motor. Since the batteries needed charging we ran the engine for 2 hours, and then the wind finally came up a bit at that point so we hoisted the sails again. I was in the cockpit this morning when a whale surfaced about 50 feet from the boa. It did not stay on the surface for long, and I was not able to spot it again.

The weather information we received said indicated that we would have light winds but the angle of the wind looked good for us to head up to Penrhyn. As always with weather, and with sailing, you don't always get what you expect. The angle of the wind has made it broad reach, which means the winds are almost dead behind us. That is not our best point of sail, especially with light winds. We are, however, plugging along. The skies are sunny and blue with very few clouds, and the temperature is quite nice. Originally the seas were a bit large and confused, but they have settled down nicely now. We decided that we would just relax and get there when we get there. We assume that it will take us another 4 to 5 days to reach the island. Hopefully, the winds will come back up soon.

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