Passage to Tonga – part 1

We left Niue at 7.15 am on Saturday 16 September having enjoyed our last few days there. Sadly the diving didn’t happen on Thursday as planned as the dive boat broke down but more about that later when I catch up with the blog.
We headed out into reasonably flat seas and very little wind despite the 10-15 knot forecast. So we motor sailed for a few hours and took the chance to make some water. Behind us Silver Lining, a NZ boat, left the Alofi anchorage and started to catch up – they are a Hanse and much lighter and bigger than us so we were expecting them to go whizzing by….
By 12.00 we had enough wind to sail and deployed our whisker pole. Come 18.00 – after a lovely sunset – the fickle wind had filled in to around 10-12 knots and we were sailing along nicely albeit a little slowly. But we kept Silver Lining at bay until around 03.00 on Sunday 17 September by which time they were 1.8 miles ahead of us. Oh well never mind…..
At 06.00 on Sunday morning we had a nice sunrise but with a threat of rain in the air and an increase in the wind. Yay! The wind switched direction and strengthened to 20 knots so we got rid of the pole and had to come off our direct rhumb line route to accommodate the wind now coming from the ESE. Thankfully the rain stayed away as it went either side of us. Sadly this wind event was short lived.
By 12 noon we were still going slowly towards our destination – and Silver Lining had increased the distance between us by five miles….. We just need a bit more wind LOL. We tried everything – including wing-on-wing – to improve our boat speed. And it worked and then it didn’t as the sea state deteriorated and pushed us around for a bit.
We are amazed at the depth of the water here as we get closer to the Tonga trench – about 22k feet! We have already gone across the Seamount Capricorn which is an underwater mountain but still has over 750 feet above it.
Come 15.00 we were frustrated by the fickle light airs and gave up! So we are now motor-sailing with full genoa poled out and are making water again. The distance between us and Silver Lining remains pretty static so I reckon they are motoring now to. We expect to arrive tomorrow afternoon but will let you know. Oh yes and tomorrow afternoon will be Tuesday, not Monday, as we are nearing the international dateline now.
Bye for now Jan