30 January 2009 | Kapingamarangi
The three yachts in our fleet had a routing meeting last night aboard Angelique. Whistler and Angelique decided to leave Friday (today) and we decided to leave the Saturday (tomorrow). Dia made us all some excellent coffee and we looked over the route and weather. We have some clouds on the gribs in the area on the 30th but less so going forward. Winds are predicted to be from about 070 degrees at 10-15, which often means 10-20 and up to 30 in squalls. Should be a fast sail to Chuuk.
We had all wanted to go to Pohnpei but it just wasn't in the cards. You can get breaks from the northeast wind, wind from the east or even east south east, this time of year, but not long enough to make it to Pohnpei direct. Island hopping yes, direct, not this time around. So Chuuk it was, and even at that we'd be passing up Lukunor, a perfectly good atoll, along the way.
The mono hulls are looking at a three nighter, hoping to make 5.5 knots average. We are shooting for a two nighter, hoping for a 7 knot average. In the evening of the 2nd the wind picks up to 20 knots on the grib so we expect up to 25. This makes for fast sailing but the seas get big enough that it is more fun to be in port. All three boats hope to be inside the Truk lagoon by sunset on the 2nd.
We are planning to go in a pass in the south part of the reef. The main pass is in the northeast and requires quite a bit of unnecessary exposed sailing, only then to make an entrance at a pass facing the weather and seas. It must be fine, as it is the main pass, but seems less than optimal for a north bound yacht. The charts for Chuuk look pretty good with lots of detail and many soundings. To be expected given the history of the place.
Whistler left at around 9AM and found the Greenwich pass running a bit over two knots. His report back was that it was, "a little scary". Angelique decided upon a prudent low tide slack water departure at around 11AM. Angelique reported a pleasant departure. Both yachts were making good way in fair conditions when we last caught up on the VHF.
Hideko and I spent the day cleaning up aboard Swingin' on a Star and getting her ready to sail. It's hard to believe but we will have been here 9 days when we finally depart. For not going ashore nor being welcome (by the Pohnpei government), it was perhaps the most friendly and pleasant place we have ever visited. Not a day went by where we did not receive taro, lobsters, coconuts, feast baskets or some other island delicacy from the local people.
We took a comprehensive tour of the islands today in the dinghy. It was a fantastic time and I'm really sorry our friends on the other boats missed it. We located an awesome enclosed anchorage that would be suitable for a west wind and great in anything with north in it. We took soundings along the way and stopped at several of the idyllic islands (though we didn't go ashore). We took a lot of great pictures including several of the village islands and the bridge that connects them. Hideko also located the Japanese ship wreck and the American plane wreck. The Japanese ship wreck was particularly impressive. Unlike most wrecks in the world, it is still completely intact. Finding a ship wreck that still has its prop is a very rare thing to say the least, given their value.
It was sad to watch the sun set on Kapingamarangi (or rather her western reef). We will miss the atoll and more so the few people (those mostly in official capacities) whom we have met. Though it is virtually impossible, it would be nice to come back an be able to spend time with more of the people. We could have easily spent a month here.