Passage to the Marquesas: Days 22-25

Sunday afternoon (Day 22) and we were going well. We got rid of the pole and moved to 120 degrees off the wind to ease the comfort stakes down below. Exciting and exhilarating as it is to surf and run downwind in big breaking seas we need to be able to sleep without the constant bashing and banging….which gets old pretty quickly. In fact I think it would be a very successful torture methodology LOL.
The seas were blue again and so was the sky…lovely day. The wind continued in the 10-15 knot range as forecast and we were going well. This continued throughout the evening and night….our first moonlit night with stars in a long time. The best bit was that we didn’t get wet! Oh yes and we put our boat clocks back again another hour so we think we are now on local time when we arrive.
Monday morning (Day 23) and we had crossed our rhumb line and were now about five miles adrift so we gybed and started the run back. We are averaging about 5 knots now and the end is in sight with about 300 miles to go. Interestingly all four weather models finally agree and have indicated that the best weather routing is the one we are on with constant 10-15+ knots of breeze. So that’s good news. The not so good news is that there is more rain forecast later in the week but at least this time we know about it in advance!
Monday afternoon and evening continued with no change although I did notice any rain showers only happened on my watch. Literally the minute I went up into the cockpit….all a bit weird! Another nice night and we both slept really well in the more comfortable conditions.
Tuesday morning (Day 24) and nothing changed other than making a couple of gybes to return to the rhumb line and try and run parallel. The wind has dropped a bit along with our boat speed but that’s fine. The last 24 hour mileage total was 117 which was a vast improvement on previous days. Another lovely day with the occasional rain squall (yes all on my watch again!) and we’re happy. So happy we broke out the chocolate biscuits and mocha for elevenses this morning – we are getting low on chocolate supplies so eking them out until we can visit the Carrefour in Hiva Oa LOL.
It looks like we’ll make landfall on Thursday morning. If we sustained 5+ knots we would arrive Wednesday night….and do not want to enter an unfamiliar anchorage at night. Especially as it might be crowded because the Oyster Rally are still around. So 4 knots average all the way would be good.
Tuesday evening we reefed down to a hankerchief-sized scrap of genoa only to reduce our speed. The seas were big and following us so made for some interesting surfing action. Later on the winds built to 30+ knots and came with torrential rain. But we were expecting it this time. During the evening a large catamaran passed us and it turns out they had left Panama 25 days ago – made us feel quite inadequate as they pressed on just skimming across the waves while we were pitching wildly from side to side. We had a little chat with them on the radio as they came close – a South African couple which sounded familiar. I think we may have met them in Cuba. Anyway as they left us Richard said ‘we should have bought a bloody catamaran’ LOL. Of course it was only tongue in cheek.
Overnight conditions remained feisty and we were pleased to be averaging 4 knots as planned. This morning Wednesday (Day 25) and nothing has changed we still have 20 knots behind us. A lovely day with strong winds and big seas – such a shame we are having to pass up on the opportunity to go fast!
ETA is Thursday morning – tomorrow – so this is the last blog from the ocean. Will share a wrap-up passage blog soon with some photos of our trip. Then normal service will be resumed from French Polynesia. I can’t believe it, we are almost there.
Bye for now Jan