09 - Pacific Crossing

Cruisers' heaven

Read in some other boat's blog: "When cruisers go to heaven, they go to Suwarrow". We arrived here after a 6-day passage at 09:00 local time (1900 utc) this morning (Friday, 31AUG) and can see why someone would say so. Suwarrow is a big atoll (about 11 miles across), with some small islands scattered mainly along the northern part of the reef. The atoll was named after the Russian ship Suvarrov (named in turn after a famous pre-revolution Russian general) which arrived here early in the 19th century (the name was later officially changed to today's spelling "Suwarrow").

Almost there

About 45nm to go to Suwarrow (Thursday, 22:00 local time / Friday 08:00 utc). Wind has finally started to decrease this afternoon. Seas have started to go down as well and, more importantly, have become more regular. A nice change from the jerky-rolling motion of the last few days (we had some things flyi through the cabin that up to then had happily sat in their spot since we left Maine last summer....)..

Should be making landfall at daybreak tomorrow, All is well aboard stay tuned...

150nm to go

Hit some convergence zone/mild front during the second half of last night with lots of rain and gusty winds...everything on deck is nicely freshwater washed now ;-) Were going though repeated sudden wind shifts from SE to NE to SE to NE... this morning when we decided we must be zig-zagging right along some convergence line on our westerly course and eventually jibed out of it to the NW. Conditions are still gusty now but with mostly clear skies and quite nice sailing.

Speeding along

Wind continued to build today (Tuesday) as forecast. By now we have a solid 20kn+ from ESE, making for speedy progress - at least by our modest standards. Made contact with Astarte on the radio this morning. They're close to Niue, expecting to reach the island sometime during this night and planning to enter tomorrow morning. Apparently they had a little POST-Net reunion (the SSB net we had on the Galapagos-Marquesas passage) in Suwarrow with Katydid, Adventure Bound and Wigwam all being anchored there with them. Who knows, we might still catch Robin on Katydid before he leaves.

Wind again

The wind started to fade this morning (Monday) and even the Parasailor gave up by lunchtime. We indulged in four hours of motorig before the wind started to slowly come back from ESE this afternoon. From the weather charts it looks like we just skirted aorund the northern end of a piece of South Pacific Convergence Zone that had drifted towards French Polynesia. Boats at anchor to the SW off Maupiti reported gusty rain squalls on the radio this morning which we seem to have dodged so far.

500 nm to go...

.. to Suwarrow. Wind has dropped as expected, as has the sea state. Sailing comfortably along at 4.5kn. Passed Motu One this afternoon 3nm to the north and should now have a clear shot at Suwarrow. All is well aboard, stay tuned...

Rolling on the ocean....

Left Maupiti at 14:30h local time this afternoon, after some boat work, quick snorkeling excursion. and a look at the pass from the dinghy. Pass turned out to be not a problem. Seas are a bit confused, making for a rolly ride, but wavelength is forecast to increase as the wind lessens tomorrow (Sun). About 660nm to Suwarrow. All is well aboard, stay tuned....

Ready to go

Had a very nice hike up Maupiti's little peak today with Victoria and Aspasia. Re-anchored in the afternoon close to the pass to be able to see the manta rays here tomorrow morning before leaving for Suwarrow. Weather forecast looks pretty good with some strong easterlies for the first 36..48 hrs, then a low move through to the south causing some light and variable up here for about 24 hrs before good wind should set in again. We'll see...

PS: Picture above taken during last minute repairs to our spinnaker pole

Spass am Spi-Baum and the "Tour de Maupiti"

A quick hello from Maupiti, our last stop in French Polynesia before heading off for Suwarrow. We arrived here yesterday (Wed) at lunchtime from Bora Bora and found Victoria and Aspasia in the anchorage. Beautiful scenery and a very relaxed atmosphere (essentially no touristic Victoria + Nicky) had fun swinging first from Aspasia's spinaker pole and then doing the same on Victoria (see picture above).