04 May 2008 | Ua Pou, Marquesas
You'd think that, after 26 consecutive night passages, we'd be old hands at this. We were anchored off Hiva Oa, and our next destination was Oa Pou ("Wapoo"), about 60 miles to the West-Northwest. We wanted to arrive in plenty of daylight to navigate the new anchorage, and to go ashore for provisions, so we decided to set out in the evening for an overnight sail. It's funny how recent memories can abandon you, to be replaced by angst and trepidation.
Really, things turned out just fine, and we had a nice sail to Oa Pou. Its just that, after a few weeks at anchor, with an occasional day-sail thrown in, we forgot just how diligent you must be when going out overnight. Dinghies must be brought aboard and lashed to the foredeck, outboard motors stowed, jacklines set, navigation gear and aids made available, and the boat readied for anything that may happen. What seems benign by the light of day becomes malignant under the cover of darkness. Weather can creep up on you, seas can build before being noticed, and the inky-black ocean can breed a horrifying crop of imaginary monsters and goblins.
The actual sailing that night was terrific.broad-reaching in 16 knots, speed over ground of 7 knots, with an occasional 8 thrown in, and a manageable swell. Because our pole was out of commission, we could not pole out the jib. Hence, we couldn't sail as deeply downwind as our intended course dictated, so we added a few miles to the journey before we gybed and made for the new anchorage. Still, we arrived just after a glorious sunrise, and enjoyed a new day on a new island.
It seems that our worries were unfounded. And that's always a good thing.