On our way towards the southern pass we have the predicted 25 knots of wind. As we approach the pass, we can see it disappear in front of our eyes : Usually quite wide and easy to sail through, it has shrunken to a third of it’s usual size. The rest is white water and waves. We already had set sails during the two miles we had to motor through the lagoon. The main sail is in the third reef as is the genoa. We are only a few minutes outside the reef as the Maramu really kicks in. With amazement I see the wind instrument showing 50 knots while I put another reef in the sails and roll both of them to the size of a big towel. Now is also the start of the rush hour on channel 16. During the next two hours there will be no silence on the emergency channel. We hear of yachts drifting through anchorages, dinghies that get thrown through the air and recovered by other boats. The MRCC is in contact with two vessels that are out on sea and in troubles. Later we hear of a catamaran drifting towards the reef in Moorea.
That all happens while we’re doing eight knots going downwind towards the north-east corner of Moorea. Luckily we had our little test run a few days earlier, so nothing comes loose on the deck and also on the inside of the boat everything stays in it’s place. It even is dry inside as the deck vents don’t leak water anymore. But two breakers about half way through our journey bury the whole aft deck and cockpit in white water and a few liters find their way in through a broken seal in the back entrance. It was planned as a fast voyage with 25 knots downwind sailing and instead we get a ride in a storm: For the two hours that we are in between the islands, the wind establishes itself at 45 to 55 knots with gusts reaching over 65 knots. That’s where the beaufort scale ends – at force 12 !
Just after the NE-corner of Moorea we get some more choppy sea after which the waves quickly die down in the lee of the island. The wind also eases to 30-35 knots and we put a little more sail out. We continue sailing along the reef in close distance and finally tack through the pass into the Opunohu bay. The anchorage we enter under sails and Bruno receives cheers from the neighboring boats while he helps me anchoring the boat.
That really was an exciting trip and another good test for the Suvarov and her crew. Especially as we were without our capitana this time. She’s already landed in New Zealand and will continue her travel to Buenos Aires in a few days. – Odysee, LosLocos style. Now I’m gonna pack the wet mattress into the sun and relax for a while