We had intended on continuing west and stopping at Niue and then on to Tonga but the problem is that Nuie is another open ocean anchorage and again there are only a few mooring balls available. Given the forecasted high winds we would much rather be in a well protected anchorage for the big blow coming through. We looked at options and we see that we could go straight North to a island named Suwarrow. It is part of the Northern Cook Islands. It is suppose to be stunning and deserted. There are only 2 park rangers who live there. It is also suppose to be a well protected place to stop. The problem with this option is that the seas/waves will be on our beam for the 2 day sail and this will be uncomfortable! We all sat down and made our pros and cons list and we decided on Suwarrow. Another pro is that we can then continue West and visit the American Samoa's and reprovision on some of the nice to have items we are running low on......such as chocolate, nuts, pickles and trail mix. It is suppose to be the promise land with Costco and Walmart style stores! We could also visit Western Samoa which is back to the beautiful beaches and great snorkeling. From there we would continue on to Tonga and back on course to New Zealand.
Tomorrow we will start out pointed at Suwarrow but if we find it to uncomfortable then we will change our plan and point West at Niue and put the wind and wave on our back! Regardless I would so much rather be heading off in reasonable winds. I hate leaving in 25+ knots of winds but it really isn't a comfortable anchorage here at sea and as the seas grow ....as predicted....it is going to get worse, so away we will go.
We spent today cooking and preparing for voyage. We know it is going to be rough and we don't want another repeat of the last trip. We made bread, chicken, rice and lentil burger's. We also made pizza and cinnamon buns but these all got eaten at dinner!
I know I already "OMG'd" you about the whales we saw yesterday but today they came right...and I mean right....beside the boat, huge humpback whales! The size of them is overwhelming. The huge tail fin is so beautiful as it come up and out of the water and then they plunge beneath the sea. Graham took some video footage. I hope it turned out. We just couldn't believe it as they swam towards us and then alongside Artemo and then underneath us and off to Simpatica. WAY COOL!
The winds blew like crazy today but Graham still managed to take the kids out for a snorkel on the outer reef. Our dinghy isn't inflated so it worried me to have them off so far with no way for me to rescue them. Luckily they are all amazing swimmers. They all came back saying how great the snorkel was. They said it was like fields of rolling hills of coral, that rose from the deep water up to the shallow reef. They said it was like nothing they had ever seen before. Oh the other thing they were able to do was have a look at the toilet intake on Artemo. Yesterday we notice a dead fish smell in the bathroom. Graham took a long stick and stuck it up the intake and a couple small fish swam out....they were alive....nothing else came out. I am sure there is one way up there and dead. The smell is getting worse. I spent a good amount of time tonight pumping and pumping, hoping to release it. It seems a bit better but still not perfect. I will see how it smells in the morning. If we have to start using a bucket as our toilet I may jump ship!
We will let you know en route how things are going and which direction we are headed.
Thinking of you