Friday, June 10, 2011

The Post I Always wanted to write

Well I'm here! In Baie d"Avera on the western side of a French Polynesian island most if not all of us had never heard of till quite recently : Rurutu.. Last night, as mentioned in the last blog I motorsailed in till I was 3 miles off then dropped all sail - well I had the doubly reefed main up all day - and let the boat drift - I tried heaving-to and this produced a nice calm environment in the boat but we were edging forwards at about a knot and I figured by morning we would be half way back to where we started from - didn't want that - so we drifted. The lights of the tiny village of Avera seemed tantalizingly close, and I saw headlights sweep across the bay, and wondered if anyone had seen mine - but I had to bide my time, one more night in my soggy little cabin. I couldnt sleep, the pillow was moist, the sheet was damp, there was land nearby - the night dragged on. The one nice thing was to have the cabin quiet and all cosy and warm having had the motor running all day. As soon as there was light, after a cup of instant chicken noodle soup - I motored for the Bay, again managing 2 knots, but this increased as we got closer in.. We were 6 miles out by then and still partly in the lee of the Island but even so it was the usual 26 knots and rising seas. 24 days out there had been enough - there was no way I wanted to go back out into it - I felt dread at the prospect the anchorages may be unsuited and I would have no choice

As we drew closer I was excited by the sight of what I thought were masts of two other yachts but it turned out they were tall pale trunks of skinny trees at a clearing behind the village. I saw a fisherman in a little speedboat moving along the edge of the reef, and closer in still a man fishing from a more traditional outrigger craft. The sea grew quieter and quieter and the wind reduced to 18 then 15 knots, and suddenly the depth sounder started working - it could reach the sea floor for the first time in weeks. I went forward and prepared the anchor, then slowly approached the reef in front of the town till I was in 4 meters - I then went out and round a bit looking at the bottom and the line of the reef and eventually, 156 meters from the reef according to the GPS , finally and at long bloody last, dropped the anchor. It struck immediately, and I lowered the Anchor Buddy down the anchor chain and sat at the bow waiting and watching but mostly just feeling incredible and utter and completely wonderful relief!

There was a very tiny swell and a warm gusty breeze coming over the saddle behind the village in front of me. Sapphire was quiet and calm at last. The sky was still overcast but lightly and the sun has since made several bright appearances, illuminating and giving rich colour to the steep bush and palm covered hills round the bay. The village itself is barely visible but is tiny - a handful of buildings, most only partly visible through trees - the largest with a red roof a Temple according to Charlies Charts - a couple of 4WD vehicles moving past, a man with a bucket picking his way along the reef, wisps of smoke rising from homes hidden by palms - I remembered, seeing it that I had smelled this smoke yesterday miles out at sea - faint hints suddenly in the lulls. But it was all quiet, I heard no sound other than waves on the reef .

So I just sat there and looked at everything on shore, every little beautiful wonderful thing.

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  1. Well done on making it! Enjoy your well-earned rest. Should be all plain sailing from here...
    David and the crew at Homewood

  2. Glad you made it safe David. Enjoy the rest and Terra firma. Jack, England

  3. Well done David. Good to read your postings everyday and know you still manage to retain your sense of humor even when the going gets tough.
    So now you know how your dog feels when you put him in the washing machine for a quick wash.
    Time for a well deserved rest and then have a look at getting those leaks traced and fixed.
    Have fun and enjoy Polynesia, it's a truly great place to visit and explore, damned expensive though.
    Martin, England