Day 29, nous arrivons a Nuku Hiva!
20 June 2021 | 08 55.038'S:140 05.994'W, At sea to Nuku Hiva
08 55.038 S
140 05.994 W
Weather; sunny, wind 10- 20 knots, waves 3.5 metres
29 days, 2hours and 50 minutes but who's counting!
This has been the longest sailing passage we have undertaken.
The sails are furled away, the lines are being tidied, the anchor is down, the first beer in 29 days has been consumed and in case you haven't got the gist of it yet we have arrived in Nuku Hiva safely, in one piece still speaking to each other and tired as all hell!
So to back track, yesterday passed in another day of nothing happening except for us bracing and trying to keep the boat bruises to a minimum. The weather was much the same as it had been for the past 3 days or so and we rocked and rolled our way along doing a steady 6 knots. The night was clear for the most part with a half-moon lighting the way to begin the night watches but of course the obligatory black clouds came over at one point and we had a splattering of rain which then affected the wind and we roared along doing 8 knots for a while. As the dawn broke we were treated to a sunny day and the wind was pretty constant at around 17 knots, still to our stern and swinging from side to side. Gerry had the "channels" in other words we were so close to our destination that he was like a cat on a hot tin roof, we couldn't get here quickly enough! The first sighting of land in many days came at around 8 am, a small island that is about 25 NM before Nuku Hiva, so we thought we would have another 5 hours or so before arriving but the wind and swell had different plans, as they both increased our speed correspondingly increased and we were ripping along at 7 knots for the final part of the trip. As we got close and could see the landmass I thought I could see another sail boat out to our starboard side, but a bit of a way off. I told Gerry who thought I was hallucinating but as we moved on so did the hallucination, I wasn't imagining it, it really was a boat- the first signs of life that we had seen in many days, but it was moving away for us and not going our way. Then a little closer there was another couple of boats, one out for a jolly by the looks of things and one that didn't seem to know what it was doing as it came out from the anchorage and then turned around in front of us, putting us on a collision course, and headed back into the anchorage. For the last hour we motor sailed as the swell was slowing us down at this point and as I have already said Gerry had the "channels" and just wanted the passage over and done with. As we followed the other sail boat into the anchorage we were surprised to see that there are quite a lot of boats here at anchor and not all of them are Australian or New Zealand boats heading home. We motored around the anchorage, dropped our main sail and picked a spot to drop our anchor. A huge sigh of relief all round and a special commendation award goes to George, the auto pilot, who has completed the passage with continuous service, mostly uncomplaining and without so much as a hiccough, we couldn't have done it without him.
So here are the stats for anyone who is interested. Our 24 hour distance travelled was 158NM with 1hour of engine time. From 10.15 am until anchor down at 12.50am we covered the final 11.2NM with a further 1 hour engine time.
In 29 days,2 hours and 50 minutes we have travelled 4042.2 NM and during that time the engine has been run for a total of 101 hours. Our average speed over the entire trip, including the extra 4 hours for the clocks going backwards, was 5.78 knots (Gerry worked that out so blame him if it doesn't add up).
Our fresh fruit lasted until last night when we ate the final apple, we still have a couple of onions, carrots and potatoes but not very much else in the way of fresh vegetables. We still have enough meat, fish and tinned goods to last us until Fiji and I still have plenty of baking ingredients for bread and cakes. The coke has just about stretched and made it this far, the beer, wine and rum has lasted as we don't touch alcohol whilst underway but the most important thing is that we have managed to stretch the chocolate out and we still have about 4 squares each left for tonight - great rationing on our part but the supermarket here had better be well stocked or we will be causing riots!
There are a number of things that we need to focus our attention on and fix before we leave Nuku Hiva, the prime one being the Gen set and the dirty fuel issue. Sorting out of the forward stateroom leak (not that it has been a problem with no water coming over the bow) There are a number of lines that need end to ending or replacing, some of our canvas needs some repair work but that might have to wait until Fiji and a sail maker to get done. Then of course there is the regular household stuff that we need to get done like laundry, provisioning, fuel and water stock up and scrubbing the garden and barnacles off of the side of the boat so this is going to be a frantically busy 4 day stop over if we can't extend our visas for any longer period. So now we are down to having something to eat, a shower and sleep in our bed - once we have moved all of the crap off of it that was shoved there when there was nowhere else to put stuff.
So I'll let you know tomorrow how we find Nuku Hiva after a 14 year gap. For now you can breathe a sigh of relief and not worry about where we are spending the night tonight.