Malo te ma'uli or Bonjour!
12 October 2012 | Ile Uvea 13 20.163'S 176 11.179'W
We arrived at Ile Uvea (Wallis Island) on Wednesday morning after a 48 hour passage from Niuatoputapu. The trip would have been shorter but we needed to come through the pass into the lagoon here at low slack tide to avoid bucking about 6 knots of current and some nasty waves. We typically calculate the time a passage will take based on an average speed over ground of 5 knots. Thus it seemed logical for 'Lark' as well as our friends on 'Elan to depart at 10:00 am in order to be here at around 8:00 am two days later.
Well, mother nature was blowing a good 20 knot breeze(more than expected) out of the ESE. With one reef in the main and a bit of headsail out we were making between 6 and 7 knots. Basic math = we should have waited until later in the day to go. At sunset we could still see 'Elan' on the horizon several miles west of us. Kind of fun since we could talk with them on the vhf radio.
It was miserably hot and humid so sleeping was difficult. Your only hope was to lay as still as possible without your body parts touching and with one of our Hella 'Turbo' fans moving a little air. Need I say more?
We continued to put on the brakes. 2nd reef, 3rd reef, less and less headsail. Of course in the end we ended up motorsailing the last mile to arrive on time and followed 'Elan' through the pass and to the anchorage here at Gahi. Pronounce that in French. I can't seem to!
The island is huge compared to where we've been and is completely surrounded by a reef with one pass deep enough for larger boats and three for small boats. There is a dredged channel and a pier on the south end of the island, compliments of the US military during WWII. We see about 12 small islands out on the reef with beautiful beaches. Oh boy, more beachcombing! I think we'll stay a couple of weeks.