A long way to go for a Beveridge
11 August 2008 | Beveridge Reef
An option in getting to Tonga from Rarotonga, roughly a 750 mile trip, is to stop off in Niue ("newie"), about 520 miles down the track. An option in getting to Niue, then, is to stop off at Beveridge Reef, about 480 miles from Rarotonga. These stops help to turn one long trip into 3 long trips. Great options, eh?
So, Beveridge Reef it would be. Notice its not spelled "beverage", as in "cold drink". This slight detail hasn't stopped me from imagining a reef teaming with frosted mugs, beer on tap, and tasty snacks, but the practical side of me (that 6%) says it ain't gonna be so. One can always hope, though.
Leaving Rarotonga was easy enough, as it was costing us a pretty penny, what with the daily wharf fees, the per-person exit fee (great scam, that), and the all too easy gotta-walk-to-town for-coffee, and since-we're- here-we-might-as-well-have-lunch fee. Throw in a few nice dinners, including the one at Trader Jack's celebrating Marilyn's (Tin Soldier) birthday, and you have several hundred reasons to evacuate Rarotonga post haste.
The weather window looked good for a Thursday departure. Four other boats were leaving as well, 3 of them also falling for the ruse of Beveridge Reef. As we had last-minute items in town to procure, we were the last to leave the harbor, but that didn't stop us from hooking, and bringing up, Tin Soldier's anchor and chain. Gotta love stern-tie wharfs. With Glen providing a few well-chosen tugs, and me providing the R- rated commentary, we were free. Nice start.
Days one and two were pretty rolly, with 15-22 knots of wind on the beam. With a reefed main, full staysail, and scrap of a jib flying, we were making a relatively comfortable 6-7 knots over the ground. All this changed abruptly on day 3, as a high-pressure cell parked over us. Winds died, and eventually, so did the rolling seas. We have been motoring since. Let's see.30 engine hours, burning one gallon per hour. Diesel costs $2 per liter in Tonga.yep, we could have flown for less.
Anyway, we expect to make landfall at the reef tomorrow at first light. Maybe bloody mary's will magically pop out of the sand upon our arrival. There's nothing like a morning Beveridge.