On Tuesday Sept 4 we left our beloved Aitutaki to sail for Palmerston atoll. Seas were rather rough--3 to 4 meters--and the motion was unpleasant but we flew along, making 100+ mile days. This morning we sighted Palmerston, and in a strong northeasterly sailed up to the anchorage, which today was a lee shore with big swells breaking. The local people always come out to meet you and guide you to a mooring, but the voice on the radio suggested we make a decision first before he came out. Tired as we were, we knew that putting the boat on a lee shore like that, with the reef less than a hundred yards astern of these moorings, was unwise. Two boats were leaving as we arrived, and no other boats remained. The signs all pointed to: keep going, it's safer at sea.
So we did. But when we mentioned on the radio that we had brought some corn flour because we'd heard the island needed some, the man on the radio said, "I'll be right out!" He drove his boat through reef surf and thanked us, saying "The island is out of food!" So if any cruising boats are headed that way, please load up on some basics--flour, sugar, can goods, and if anyone can find a spark plug for a 15-horsepower Yamaha outboard plus a volleyball (??) there will be 40 or 50 grateful people awaiting. Evidently their supply ship is late.
We're making good progress under fair skies toward Niue, 400 miles from Palmerston. Supposedly a weather trough was due to hit today (hence our desire to ride it out in a decent anchorage) but it may have been what we sailed through last night and this morning. If the wind doesn't cooperate we'll just heave to--plenty of sea room out here. But the skies look awfully nice now, and we're hoping the 7-day weather window following that trough is open.
This area is known for being the South Pacific Convergence Zone, so dodging the troughs and small tropical systems makes better passages. Sometimes, though, you just have to take your lumps. I remember one other time heading out to sea to face some bad weather because getting to safe harbor was not possible. It was in the Gulf of Alaska, and the night was rough but here's the thing: you can't hit a rock at sea.
Sent via Ham radio