29 December 2011 | Marshall Islands
Approaching the pass into Rongerik Atoll.
It was a lot of work putting the new mast and rigging in Brick House. Soon, that will be a two part article in Blue Water Sailing. We were eager to depart Majuro. Being October, the southern hemisphere cyclone season was approaching making it impracticable to pick up where we left off and sail southwest to Vanuatu. We decided to see some of the northern “nuked” atolls of the Marshall Islands since Patrick had read a lot about them. The U.S. conducted the first nuclear experiments at Bikini and Anewetak starting in 1946 and continuing into the early 1950s. Then we would go on to Kosrae and Pohnpei, south west of the Marshalls.
So we got our permits and other required paperwork, and set sail northward. It was a quiet sail for about 24 hours, and then the wind died all together. We had diverted temporarily east of our rumb line because a small open power boat was lost at sea, but it was recovered before we even knew the precise area to look. The boat and 6 occupants had drifted to another atoll. When the wind died we drifted for days, sometimes motoring for a few hours looking for a helpful current. The currents in the atolls are not always predictable and can run contrary to what would seem obvious.
When the wind came up, it came on strong and was of course on our nose. We beat to the most accessible atoll which was Rongerik. We were cautioned by those giving us permission to stop at this uninhabited atoll that it was haunted and you could go crazy if you stop there.