It's three in the morning and we're jogging in the lee of Penrhyn, making about two and a half knots under triple-reefed main.
For some reason we always seem to finish our passages at night. Penrhyn was no different, as we were sailing by the southernmost motus of the atoll at the end of the day, just a couple hours too late to reach the anchorage outside the pass for the night. So we hove to, and then when we'd gotten too far away from the island, tacked and started working our way back. Alisa and I have been taking turns staying up around the clock for the four and a half days since we left Tahaa. And now, with all the monkeying around to heave to in Galactic for the first time (a technique for parking the boat at sea, by the way, with the sails working against each other to more or less keep you in place), I'm working on two hours of sleep, and can only expect another hour and a half before dawn.
Two well-rested kids are going to be hell to keep up with tomorrow.
At the start we paid the price for leaving with a forecast of no wind, as we motored for a day and a half, burning through the diesel we bought in Tahiti and making everyone's ears ring with the noise.
Then we had a day under the red and white spinnaker, then a day of rowdy sailing with strong-ish winds on the beam, and then a day of just normal sailing.
We've missed the fishing rod that was stolen in Moorea, as our handlines have been breaking with every bite.
And the whole time we've traversed an empty ocean, seeing no other vessels and few birds. But then today, just before we sighted Penrhyn, we saw Cuvier's beaked whales breaching behind us, a consummate treat for marine biologists since beaked whales are such mysterious beasts.
Tomorrow, then, we transit the pass, and figure out the unpromising anchorage off the village where we have to first check in with officialdom.
After that, we don't know quite what to expect.