What a horrendous last couple of days. I am SO happy to finally be back on the hook! The past 24 hours has been pretty stressful. The whole journey here hasn't been that great. High high winds and squalls. Last night Mother kicked up some pretty nasty stuff. We were all really worried about being able to come into the Atoll we were destined for. In order to enter Rangiroa you need to come through a narrow pass and you have to time it right with tides and currents. The guide books all say that the passes are ok as long as the weather is good and the swell isn't to big. Well we had both high winds....gusting to 35 knots at times and huge seas.....i don't dare even guess how high. We called to see if anyone was in the anchorage and could give us some advice. We got a hold of a nice guy who gave us his best guess on entry times. We decided our options were heave to at sea and wait for nicer weather, give the Tuomotos a miss and continue on to Tahiti, sail overnight to a different atoll that didn't have a pass OR give it a go and bail out if it wasn't working for us.
It was quite nerve racking entering the pass. You have to watch out for coral and there right on the edge of the pass is a sailboat shipwrecked. A little reminder for us how dangerous this is. The seas and wind were knocking us around so much it was hard to keep her right on track. We switch from manual to auto pilot and I plus'd or minus'd us as we needed and Graham rev'd the engine as necessary. Our boat was doing a speed of 6 knots but our speed over the ground was only 1 knots given the current. We came through the pass successfully and we were all hoping to find a beautiful peaceful calm inner lagoon.....NOT TODAY!
We had to travel for another 3 miles inside the atoll to our anchorage. We motored dead into wind and huge seas. Artemo took a beating and the water rush down the decks and at times it was over a foot deep. Total CRAZY. I tried to zig zag back and forth but this didn't seem to help. We were all so exhausted at this point. When the anchorage came into view you can not imagine how much relief we all felt.
Finally our hook was set and the engine was off and the bricks were lifted from our shoulders. I looked up and OMG....we are in paradise! So totally worth every minute of hell. Alex was the first in the crystal clear water. Right away he spotted a ramorea (totally spelled this wrong...he said they clean sharks?) and oyster fish. Amelia was next and I followed suit. We washed off 5 days of filth and had a wonderful swim. The Gromit girls swam over and happiness was the new emotion of the day!
Where was the captain you might ask? Graham crashed into bed immediately upon turning off the engine. He was up for most of the stormy night and he brought us safe and sound through some pretty hairy stuff. He so deserves his sleep. The kids are at the Gromit boat and I am hoping he rests for awhile. I have his beer cooling in the fridge and I can't wait for him to wake up and soak in the paradise we have arrived at.