Sunday, May 1, 2011

To Mopelia

May 1! (Hurray, Hurray, It's the first of May, eh JOE!?)

An early morning start as we prepared to set sail for Mopelia - about 100
miles west of us. This would be a full 24 hour sail for us, so we prepared
the boat, and ourselves for a long day and night on the water.

After taking on ths supplies that we were delivering to Hina, some water
from the docks, and a quick snorkel we set off across the lagoon.

It was our first overnight passage in many months, and we were pleased that
the weather gods were kind to us. We were making great speed, and were very
comfortable with only about 1 meter or so of ocean swell, and no wind waves
to speak of. During the night, we had a couple short squally patches, that
encouraged us to reef in main and genoa, but we were doing well.
Unfortunately, the wind moved to a more northerly direction, and we found
ourselves tacking into the wind. Yuck. But since we had made such good time,
it wasn't a problem, and we found ourselves outside of the pass, and the
best time of day for visibility, just before noon.

WHAM...a fish hit our rod, and all hands were on deck as we prepared for
sushi dinner! It was a strong fish, and John grunted while reeling it in.
Finally we were able to catch a glimpse of the beautiful silver tuna that
had been fighting so hard. Unfortunately, it was HUGE. Much bigger than we
could eat. And more than we could keep in our new little fridge/freezer. And
we didn't know if Hina had any refridgeration or freezer capacity on the
island. We decided to let it go. In my mind, it really was the fish of a
lifetime. A big beautiful tuna. For the rest of the afternoon, we consoled
ourselves with little statements like: "It was so big, it must have had a
lot of mercury build-up" or this classic "I'm sure it was ok, it swam away
so quickly" and of course, "it would have been a shame to waste it". Sure,
our spagetti was good...but oh...sushi...

But...back to the story. After freeing nemo, we did a couple of drive-bys in
front of the pass. It didn't look good. The pass was VERY narrow. Shallow
coral on each side. No room to turn around if it wasn't going well. The
outgoing current was obvious. The NW ocean swell was directed directly into
the pass. Swell against current = standing waves. Yuck.

But, we had this lady's food!

And so we went. Anchor ready. Yet, it was fine. We've been through much
worse. But at one point we were only making two knots of progress, with our
engine pinned! We had over 4 knots of current pushing against us.

But, we are here, and have anchored in a tropical remote wilderness. Hina
lives here on her own, and there is one couple living at the other end of
the island. They are all copra (coconut) farmers. At one time they also
farmed pearls, but this lagoon did not produce great quality pearls, and
they now rely solely on the copra. They receive supplies by sailboats, like
us, and on the ship that comes to collect their copra (every three months).
Pretty quiety life.

After a good night's rest, we'll do some exporing tomorrow, and Hina has
offered to take us lobster fishing!! HURRAY!


strahan said...

spagetti is one long as you have Ramen noodles aboard, experience suggests you'll be fine without the tuna. There'll be others! Have fun lobstering!

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