Passage to Tahiti: Days 5-7

Monday morning (Day 5) we were motor sailing slowly under a grey cloudy sky with wind speeds of less than five knots. We had enough diesel on board for the remainder of the trip so we had no concerns if the wind didn’t return. In the afternoon the skies got darker and the wind started to fill in again – but surprisingly from the North West. By the time we started our evening shifts the wind was strong enough to be sailing nicely on a beam reach parallel with our rhumb line.
Despite the laden sky the moon was able to peak through. But not for long. Suddenly we had lots of lightning behind us and down came the rain. Once more we put our equipment away for safety so sorry again that the tracker got disrupted….. Thankfully by midnight the rain had stopped.
Irritatingly at 3am on Tuesday morning (Day 6) the wind disappeared again so it was back to motoring. Squalls were running either side of us but we didn’t get any more rain or even any wind…we were in a gloomy no man’s land. By six there was another thunderstorm off our port bow and more miserable weather ahead. This was getting tiresome.
By nine the skies behind had started to clear and there were signs of improvement all round. Finally at noon the sun broke through, the clouds dissipated and it turned into a lovely day at sea. Hurrah! The only downside was that there was still no wind….. Oh yes and we put the clocks back half an hour – so we are now aligned with local time in Tahiti.
At 2pm the wind started to fill in and we were finally sailing again. The island atoll called Mataiva appeared out of the sea…. This was our last island to dodge so we turned to port to run south towards Tahiti. The atoll was quite large although barely visible above sea level….there was a large smoke plume on one end and we wondered if they burnt all their rubbish – or could it be more sinister? Could they be ‘wreckers’ in a previous life?!?
Finally we were enjoying a nice sail…..with no rain….and we watched the sun go down early at 5.30 pm while we treated ourselves to shepherd’s pie for dinner in the relaxed conditions onboard. The evening was very pleasant although the wind eased quite a bit back to around 8-9 knots so our boat speed slowed too.
But we were potentially going to have to slow the boat down anyway to ensure a daylight arrival on Thursday so didn’t really care about our speed. We also want to be entering the narrow Taapuna pass at slack water or on a rising tide to avoid standing waves and strong adverse currents at the entrance into the inner lagoon that surrounds Tahiti. There is a larger cut at the top of the island but, because of its proximity to the airport, boat traffic and timings are closely controlled by the port authority so we decided we’d go in the other entrance rather than have to add more variables.
Early this morning, Wednesday (Day 7), and the winds remain light but we are still managing to sail. I’ve just spotted lightning off our starboard bow so am hoping that the storm system will have moved on by the time we get there: the constant need to unplug everything and put it all away is fine, but in the early hours when Richard is sleeping I find it hard to do without waking him up as he sleeps in the saloon. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that this time.
Thankfully the storm moved away from us and we had the most spectacular sun rise with amazing cloud formations…. Stunning! The day is shaping up to be a nice one and, if everything goes to plan, this will be our final full day at sea this passage. See you in Tahiti!
Bye for now Jan