Lowering our French courtesy flag
23 May 2008 | En Route to Rarotonga
Time to bid adieu to French Polynesia. We've had our fill of poisson cru, bought our share of black pearls and snorkeled a lot of coral heads. But perhaps more importantly our 30 day tourist visa expired May 22, and it is just time to move on. We "checked out" officially on May 19 but the gendarmerie give you a few days grace. The weather was expected to calm down on Wednesday with light and variable winds between Bora Bora and Rarotonga, a Southern Cook Island. We left mid morning on May 21 and had a wonderful sail for the first 20 hours, as the wind moved from our beam to a beat, but with flat seas we were moving well. Then the wind went on our nose, that is to say the wind was coming from where we wanted to go, and lightened to less than 8 knots as well. So we fired up the trusty diesel and have been motoring ever since-30 hours but who's counting? It's noisier than sailing, but it would take us another two or three days to get to Rarotonga if we tacked in this light air. I know we aren't offending Carl Schumacher's spirit because he always said the lack of a genoa was compensated for by our 140 gallons of fuel, and gave us permission to motor upwind in light air.
If you have to motor these conditions couldn't be better. Sunshine, clear skies, flat seas-there is a ridge of high pressure to the north of us and another to the south. A full moon at night that rises about 10:00, so we have time to star gaze for a while. Scorpio is magnificent in the southern latitudes and of course there are new constellations to learn as well. Only traffic we have seen is one freighter bound for Samoa that passed behind us the first night. It's time to make some carrot salad for lunch and think of other ways to use up those fresh fruits and veggies before making landfall.