Stuck on a Desert Island
26 July 2016 | 13 14.85'S:163 6.53'W, Anchorage Island, Suwarrow Atoll
We've been enjoying Suwarrow for a few days now and were hoping to leave today for Niue. However, Mother Nature always has much more say than we do in these things. She has decided to send a storm south of us which will produce not only headwinds, but also likely make the open roadsted anchorage at Niue unusable. When West winds come to Niue, all boats have to leave the anchorage because then there is no protection. Of course, the weather could change, but from what we are seeing today, we need to stay put here for a while longer.
Our friends, Moonshadow, did leave today. Instead of going to Niue, they are re-routing to "New Potatoes," the cruiser name for an unpronounceable island name in North Tonga. Being a fast 62' Dashew Deerfoot, they are fast enough that they can get there before the weather turns bad in a few days.
It was with heavy hearts that we made the short hike to the other side of Anchorage Island in Suwarrow Atoll to watch Moonshadow head out of the pass. They didn't know that we were there so we waved huge palm fronds until they saw us and blew their conch shells in a return salute.
We aren't quite alone, however. There are two other boats and the rangers to keep us company.
The biggest loss of Moonshadow sailing away, most unfortunately, is that they have taken their bocce ball set with them. Having said that, we cruisers are nothing if not McGyver's. I found a nice round red piece of coral for the pelote and then a bunch of similar sized, smaller coconuts for the balls. After scratching a few identifying marks, we now have an organic bocce set. Dee, it turns out, is a real natural at the game and almost beat me in one of her first games. I see many rematches over the next few days!
We will likely be here at least a few more days, and possibly as long as a week. This low pressure system is going to roll below us, making the normally E trade winds clock all they way around through the North, West, South and then back to the East. Once the winds are settled back in, we will sail away. If we have to wait a week here we will, sadly, need to skip Niue and will instead head directly to Nieafu, Tonga, about 700 miles away.
Picture from upper left: Dee lining up a winning shot, Mark trying to not let Dee beat him, Moonshadow sailing out of the pass at Suwarrow Atoll.