All the time we were at
anchor in Bora Bora the wind was blowing like crazy. We started the leg from French Polynesia with predictions of winds from fifteen to twenty-five knots. Predictions are just that; and the winds were
lacking for most of the trip. Since Charlie and I were alone on this segment we settled quickly into a routine of watches and napping and various boat chores.
We caught several good sized tuna and lost several
really big fish, one of which took all of the line of the reel. We couldn't even slow the drag down it was so hot. Trolling while sailing is really a sport for when a fish strikes you cannot slow the boat,
you just do the best you can to bring it in. A hand line is really the best way to assure dinner. We did enjoy the fresh sashimi with wasabi sauce.
Charlie saw a huge whale breech- jump totally out of the
water. I'm so sorry I missed that thrill. We hopefully will see more whales as we continue.
As I write this and look back over the ships log many of the entries talk of the dead calm water. One night was
so eerie. The ocean was so slick and calm it looked like a huge tub of gently undulating oil with a misty horizon that so that it was impossible to designate sea from sky.
The stars are so bright when there is
no light pollution; on watch at night we love to watch the stars. In the early morning of June fifth, I was on watch and saw the brightest shooting star I have ever seen. It was strange as it headed from
east to west and appeared to be quite low in the sky. Later I read on the satellite news that the shuttle had come home from a mission to the International Space Station. I think I saw the re-entry. I
was glad to know that Carol, on Jasmine Lee, who was also on watch at the time, saw the same thing. When you have seen a phenomenon it is always nice when someone else backs up your story.
On this part of the
trip several of the boats were close by. Besides the regular morning single side band check in for the whole fleet we chatted back and forth on VHF several times a day. At night one or more mast head running
lights was in view.
We had one squall which quite a few of us experienced with winds up to forty knots but it did not last long. There were a couple of accidents. Harmonie
had a short in their single side band which caused a fire and explosion in one of their compartments, but fortunately they were not hurt and the fire was not serious, lots of smoke damage, and of course they lost the use of their single side band.
Helen, on Pilar G, had an argument with a spinnaker sheet and lost several inches of skin and flesh on one palm and sustained painful burns on the fingers of her other hand. Her husband, Victor,
is a physician, which is fortunate, but accidents happen so quickly and can be so severe. Victor has been helpful to many people on the trip.
We knew we would be arriving in Tonga at night. There were four boats together: Risque, Jasmine Lee, Dreamtime and Sea Gem. Rally Control had mentioned one one of the broadcast nets that they
would send a "follow me " boat out to guide us in if we arrived at night. True to their word they did, so we were able to finish this leg of the journey at 0300, rather than laying off and coming in
after daylight. Maneuvering through the reefs is always tricky and not something to be attempted in poor light or no light Some of the reefs around Tonga need guidance even in good light and for experience
sailors. We appreciated the dedication of John and Tania who escorted each and every boat in the rally through the harbor entrance. Then during daylight hours the Tonga Navel Vessel welcomed each new arrival
with horns and whistles. We did not get that welcome since we entered at night, the captain later apologized but said he was asleep and did not give the order. After escorting us through the reef, they took
us to a nearby anchorage for the night and came the next morning to move us around t the anchorage at the Royal Sunset Resortfor the first part of our visit to Tonga.
Finally in Tonga, until later...