Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sailing at last

Yesterday the wind was forecast to gradually increase from 4 or 5 knots to about 12 by the evening but at it was already 8 in the Marina and a nearby sloop hoisted sail and disappeared out into the Lagoon.  The change had come early I thought, so decided to follow suit and head for Bora Bora. It was a beautiful hot day and I quickly paid my fees and handed back the key to the showers and toilets, bought some bread and topped up the water and around 11 cast off. Once in the lagoon I raised sail and was soon gliding south past the Sunset Beach Motel and  Raiatea Carenage and then turning west through Pass Rautoanui back into the South Pacific. It was 20 nm to the nearest part of Bora Bora, Pt Te Turi Roa, a marker and light on the  south western edge of the reef, but the pass through the reef was another 3nm up the western side. The wind was 10 to 14 knots on occasion and we were making 5 knots, peaked at 5.5 and the Hydrovane kept us on track.
The Marker at Pte te Turi Roa.

At first I felt nervous. Everything seemed so unfamiliar to me, this being the first sailing I had done for 10 months. After three hours we were half way there and then the Hydrovane started misbehaving. I eventually realized the real problem was the wind which contrary to predictions was  starting to fade, and our speed was dropping. By 3pm we were barely making 2 knots, and much as I hate to motor, I hated even more the prospect of arriving in the dark, so we motorsailed the rest of the way at 5.6 knots and dropped sail inside Pass Teavanui at the very same moment as the sun set.
Theres that Boat again, now also in Bora Bora
I headed for the place where  a number of other yachts were anchored, off the main Village of Vaitape and dropped anchor. While checking to see the anchor would hold  I had a meal of bread and cheese and some yoghurt, and fruit juice that had been chilled in the freezer while the motor was running. I had a couple of problems to think about – a tiny split in the main sail close to the foot, about 5cm long, and a cupful of unexplained water on the cabin sole, so I lay on the cushioned cockpit seat and looked at the incredible night sky and wondered what I should do.  It still wasn’t clear to me.

However I do want to go snorkeling with those manta rays.

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