Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This Is Why

How good a cup of coffee tastes when it's your second in five days.

How good, by extension, the first beer will taste when you reach Minerva.

The value of a little abstinence, and also a little ordeal (preferably quite a little ordeal), every now and then, to keep you close to the quick of things.

How bloody big, and wonderful, the ocean is.

How empty - not a single other boat, in view or on the AIS, since the Opua-Russel ferry that we crossed paths with on the first five minutes of the trip.

The ineffable peace of the sea...well, that one might be for crews who aren't evenly divided between antsy children and over-tired adults.


We reached Minerva at dawn today, and entered the pass as soon as the light was reasonable. After days of crossing the heaving expanse of the sea, the pass with its wind-blown breakers on either side felt ridiculously constrained and smelled a bit like a trap.

But, once through the pass, we were suddenly in the tropics. Our eyes were beguiled by those twelve colors that exist in nature only in the shallows of an atoll lagoon. The tradewind swell beat itself to nothing on all sides, and we were in a thousand acres of perfectly protected water in the middle of the ocean. After the hook was down and Galactic had come to rest, we pulled off our warm passage-making clothes and relaxed. Oh right, Alisa and I said to each other. This is why we sail to the tropics. A French research boat that had been anchored for the night pulled out of the pass and we suddenly had this marvel of a place all to ourselves.

And then, inevitably, two sportfishing boats pulled in and, in this vast expanse of a reef-protected lagoon three nautical miles in diameter, decided to anchor ten boat lengths away from us.
At 7/9/2013 1:48 PM (utc) our position was 24°06.71'S 179°02.26'W

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  1. wow, minerva... we anchored there for some rest on our last passage with free spirit. even though we shared it with al least 5 other boats, i still have a very fond memory of yet another one of those marvels that made up our short pelagic life.
    your last blogs really make me reconsider the ideas i pondered about buying yet another old mothership and sail some well trodden sea, like the caribbean for instance. we will be off for 6 months starting november this year and are looking for a good way to spend it. i really wonder if we will enjoy it, with the extra crew of 4 years and 10 months old...
    anyway, i enjoy your postings, keep em up! love from a-low. paul and fam

    1. well, it's different with a 4-yr old, 10-month old, for sure... though we've never done it without little crew!

      glad to hear you're thinking about setting sail again!!

  2. I hope the sport fishing boats are gone, and Minerva sounds like magic.