Tomorrow we will set sail on the next major leg of our adventure across the Pacific. Interesting to think that we’re only halfway! We’ve covered almost 900 nm within French Polynesia and have had the pleasure of visiting ten different islands/atolls over the past two and a half months. Now we have to say goodbye to baguettes and calm turquoise water inside fringing reefs as we continue our journey west.
We’ve spent the past few days preparing for the 1300 nm ‘middle’ leg which is generally considered the passage from Bora Bora to Tonga. There is a choice of three basic routes to get to Tonga (these do vary, of course!):
- The southern route via Rarontonga in the Cook Islands and then Niue,
- The middle route via Aitutaki or Palmerston in the Cooks and then Niue, or
- The northern route via Suwarrow in the Cooks and then the Samoas. Possibly straight to Fiji.
We’ve opted for the middle and most direct route and have been planning for some time to go non-stop to the single-island country of Niue which is approximately 1000 nm from Bora Bora. Unfortunately Hydroquest’s 7.2 foot draft doesn’t allow us to visit Aitutaki (the entrance is very shallow) and we’ve read that Palmertson is only good in certain conditions. That being said, the weather forecast is pointing toward a potentially necessary stop at Palmerston to avoid our newest foe: the SPCZ (South Pacific Convergence Zone) which brings very squally weather and thunderstorms. Yuk!
Preparation has involved the usual tasks: following the weather, filling up with diesel, filling up with water, cleaning Hydroquest’s bottom (it’s amazing how fast the growth is in this warm water!), checking out of the country, winching Will up the mast to do a rig check, and grocery shopping.
My mental preparation has been going on for at least a week now: repeating my mantra: “I do not get seasick, I do not get seasick”, downloading a few new books on my kindle, thinking of all the safety to-dos, and connecting with other boats that will be leaving on this weather window with us. We’ve all been waiting for a few days for the strong winds and heavy swell to diminish to manageable levels. We will leave with two Swedish boats (SV Orkestern and SV Ninita) en route to Niue (via Palmerston?) and there are at least two other boats also leaving tomorrow en route to Suwarrow. It will be nice to have other boats out there at the same time.
Will and I just got back from the grocery store with our final fresh food run. On the passage from Mexico to the Marquesas we really learned the value of fun surprises at sea so we each bought each other two presents (for under 300 cfp) at the grocery store. Something to look forward to! Although, we’ll have to see… I caught a glimpse of one of mine and I’m pretty sure it’s a can of something. If I know Will at all it will be a can of something gross like mini sausages or sardines.
I’ll try to keep the posts coming on this leg of our trip… it always make me feel better 🙂