Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 0- Leaving is always difficult

Time: 2200 Zulu (noon Hawaii time)
Position: 13-deg 15-min S 163-deg 07-min W
Wind: ESE 12 Seas: ESE <1-ft
Rig: at anchor west of Anchorage Island, Suwarrow
Distance to Apia, Western Samoa: 516-nm

As the winds grew calm yesterday, the lagoon became a glass mirror. We set up our Mexican double hammock and enjoyed the sunset watching small waves pound the rim reef all the way across the lagoon and peering 50-ft down to the reef below seeing sharks, skates and turtles. Shawn spent her first half of the night sleeping in the hammock, while Chris enjoyed an hour or so with her before hitting the sack below. While watching stars in the early evening, all but a few constellations (i.e. the Southern Cross) are unfamiliar to us northern hemisphere dwellers. We watched stars shooting around the Milky Way and large UFOs catching flame upon entering the atmosphere, lighting up the entire sky like flares. Last night was a beautiful, star filled, still night, conspiring to keep us at Suwarrow just a little bit longer. However, by this morning, winds were just starting to pick up as expected from our weather forecasts, so we took our last trip ashore to hang our "s/v Tao hearts Suwarrow" flag in the Suwarrow Yacht Club, and check out of the country, quickly getting our exit papers from Harry and Ants.

At noon all was well. We had gotten Tao prepared for passage on deck and down below, cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, took one last swim-turned shower with the last of our freshwater that wouldn't fit in our tanks, and it was time. An Australian sailboat had arrived this morning and two Swiss and one French boat had just gotten underway- stirring our herding instinct. 1130 was the forecast slack low tide to shoot for exiting the lagoon. However, as we entered during a slack tide that was against a 2.5-knot current, each time we watched the pass around the tide chart change it still appeared to be ebbing out, and other boats that exited the pass when it should have been flooding in and went to swim the pass during purported flooding reported that although the tide chart said it should be flooding in, water was still ebbing out. Armed with these data points, we have decided the tide program is basically correct, yet there is always so much water entering the lagoon between the motus that the pressure must create a constant outflow at the main exit pass, so we were not worried leaving a little later than "slack". We soaked up our last moments in the safe embrace of Suwarrow and with mixed emotions we started the process of weighing anchor to get underway again.

1 comment:

  1. Time to wish you fair winds and following seas again! Hope this leg is fun and uneventful!