We have drunk in the sounds and sensations of French Polynesia, and found it sweet. We now lie in Bora Bora, waiting for the wind to catch to Samoa; our first new country in 3months. The trades have been roaring too hard for comfort; better to wait for the trough to pass through and ride the gentler seas that follow behind.
Whilst the weather danced her capricious melody, we have had an unexpected suspension of the imperatives of sailing life, and instead enjoyed more time with friends we must soon farewell and an anchorage on surely the bluest lagoon we have known yet.
In these mountainous volcanic islands sat squarely in the trades, to lie in the lee of the rock is not sufficient. Katabatic gusts (powerful downdrafts) blast irregularly off the mountain, straining mooring lines and disturbing sleep as you listen for something to go wrong on deck. Its fairly typical to be up on deck of a night, naked if you will, checking lines, dinghys and other toys to be sure nothing will be lost. The other night an unexpected downpour had Karl and I awake and mopping at 2am due to hatches left open for cooling breezes. We laughed it off the next morning, as we took in the extraordinary palette of blues and turquoises around us that seemed to deny belief. So blue is it here, that not only do the bellies of birds but also the clouds flying overhead reflect the colour of the lagoon.
Last night we sat on the bow, taking in the (finally) still vista around us. It's a new moon, the nights are black, and the water was so still it reflected the stars and the milky way burning above us. Mast head lights of other boats at anchor drew long caterpillar lines across the water towards us, the flashing of beacons adding intermittently to the effect, and we could pick shooting stars out on the surface of the water. The outline of the nearby motu behind which we sheltered, completed the picture that no camera could possibly record. Ukelele plucking ashore drifted across the water, accompanied by the boom of surf further out on the reef. I declared it a night like I’d never experienced, committing it to memory for all time.
Its nice to rest back into the softness of such a sensory experience, and store it like a method actor for when we need it at sea in those times you wonder why the heck you’ve taken on such a journey. Its never guaranteed what you’ll get out there; we do our best with weather forecasts and other knowledge gleaned from fellow sailors and books, then you take your leap off the edge and do your best. On this 10-ish day trip to Samoa we will be two handed only, meaning tag team watches and - should anything get tricky on deck at night -your precious four hours being interrupted to get up and help. So be it. It wont last forever, you find tremendous strength of character in these moments, and I find it's a powerful expression of the team ship between Karl and I; we never squabble under pressure, only work our best together to manage whatever the situation requires.
And finally, at the end of it, theres a new port, new people, new customs and lore to experience, and a powerful potential for yet another extraordinary memory in the making.