Day one out of Raoul anchorage had us sailing on a close reach in 9-10 knots of wind, then motoring in the night when the wind died. The next morning we set the spinnaker at first light and milked the light airs for every bit of speed. The wind steadily backed, so we ran downwind on port tack, then jibed and ran on starboard tack, switched to the asymmetrical spinnaker for a reach, doused it for a squall, raised it back, doused it at dark, and flew the small drifter reacher until the wind finally died. It was a busy day. Anson crashed early after all the foredeck work, and I took an extra watch, as handling lines and steering is easy work in light air sailing. With the wind finally gone at 0300, Mr. Perkins carried us forward again.
During our morning weather check by email and SSB radio, we once again heard contrary news. Light winds, then head winds, and no sweet spot to Fiji. Another trough is passing through our route, disrupting the flow of the trade winds and bringing a bit of nasty weather to boot. Instead of continuing to hunt and peck for wind, motoring slowly in the night, and dodging squalls, we opted to change course for Minerva Reef.
By heading north we were sailing close to the wind again, enabling us to make the most of the light air. We had another night with a few hours of motoring, but this time the wind came up at 0300, and I had the joy of a magical light wind sail for dawn. Being in the present is easy when the boat slips along at 4-5 knots in a breeze of equal strength. Today we raced the sunset, and when the wind lightened and backed we motorsailed for a few hours to ensure we could enter the pass into North Minerva Reef with good visibility. The wind veered for the final hour, letting the sails power us forward, so we turned off Mr. Perkins and slipped through the water hearing only the sound of the waves crashing on the reef’s coral shores. The pass was clear of breakers, the current a mere 1 knot, and our entrance surprisingly easy, despite my anxiety-laden visions of our boat lifted by a freak wave onto the coral shores.
So here we sit, anchored in the middle of the ocean, waiting for a trough to pass, the trades to fill in, and eager to explore this extraordinary reef in the midst of a vast sea. Kim
23 degrees 37.1 minutes S, 178 degrees 54.7 minutes West