Starry Skies & A Full Moon
04 December 2012 | 05*40.431'S 176*07.184'E Nanumea Island, Tuvalu
OK, I've fallen behind again on my blog posts. After 2 1/2 weeks in Funafuti, last week we sailed to the northernmost atoll in Tuvalu. It was a 48 hour passage (245nm) and I have to say it was the best sailing I've ever experienced. 10 - 15 knots of wind on our starboard beam or aft quarter, almost flat seas and a full moon!
The tiny inset on our chart showing Nanumea was drawn in 1944 by the US government. I imagine it was done when they built an airstrip here for attacking the Japanese, who were at that time occupying the islands north of here. Being so small, there is no detail, so it was time for a little research. Our resources were local knowledge, the catamaran 'Celsius' that would be arriving before us and downloaded satellite images from google earth.
We arrived at the pass 2 hours after high tide so the current was against us. Out of curiosity I should have checked the instruments to see just how fast it was moving but the narrowness of the pass was all I could focus on. It's exceedingly well marked as we'd been told, but I swear I could have stretched my arms out from the helm and touched the markers! It looks nothing like the google earth photos either but we had 2 meters of water under the keel at the shallowest point and we were through and into the lagoon in short order.
We were anchored and on our way into the village by late morning. First stop, the police station to drop off our official letter giving us permission to be here. Then off to explore the village. Don't tell anyone, but tiny Tuvalu is the South Pacific's best kept secret!