Friday, October 28, 2011

Pit Stop

Well, this has been the break we were dreaming of. Or would have been dreaming of, if we had been sleeping enough on passage to get a chance to dream! Ouvea is an uplifted atoll where we found a wide expanse of turquoise water, perfectly protected, to recover from the vicissitudes of sailing a thousand miles in six days with our two little kids.

After a round of naps we rigged up a buoy swing from the end of the boom and Elias and Alisa and I took turns launching ourselves into the water from the side deck. We remarked on how much cooler the water is here, at 20° S, than it was at 14° at Futuna. We tackled a few boat jobs, Alisa made pizza, and we showed Elias the baby sea snakes that were attracted to our deck lights at night. And then, in spite of our best intentions to get an early night, Alisa and I found ourselves going to bed at midnight.

This gave us six hours of uninterrupted sleep. I don't think I've felt so completely rested since I was a government employee...

The catch in all this is that stopping in Ouvea has left us with 150 mile of sailing to the SSE to get around New Caledonia - right into the prevailing winds. But, better than we could have hoped for, the weather forecast is promising light winds, from the east and even northeast, to get us around that obstacle.

When we were looking through our charts last night we found another chart of the Chesterfield Reefs, this one identifying them as a French possession. So we're not quite sure whose they are. Because a travelling yacht is one of the few places in the world that is still somewhat safe from the hazards of unlimited information on demand, we'll indulge ourselves in ignorance.

And, whether they're Australian or French, it doesn't really matter - it's now too late in the trip for us to enjoy any relaxing interludes in out-of-the-way places. The long-imagined end of the crossing is just over the horizon - we can smell the burning cane fields of Queensland, we can taste the meat pies from here. Today, some time before lunch, we'll pick the hook by hand and set off for Australia.

1 comment:

  1. From Wikipedia.. For next crossing.. Chesterfield Islands (îles Chesterfield in French) is a french archipelago of New Caledonia located in the Coral Sea, 550 km northwest of Grande Terre the main island of New Caledonia. Chesterfield Islands are a 120 km long and 70 km broad structure composed with 11 islets and many reefs. The land area of the islands is less than 10 km² [1].

    Bellona Reef, 60 km southeast of Chesterfied is geologically separarated from the Chesterfield archipelago but commonly included.