Thursday 11th August 2022
Oh dear God where do I begin!
So far the last 2 months aboard Daisy have been miraculously, for me, (the reluctant sailor) amazing. I’ve loved everything, the beautiful beaches, the fabulous resorts, the fun days and nights hanging out with wonderful friends, even the sailing, it’s truly been a dream. The sort of things you dream about doing if you won the pools, or the lottery or were just disgustingly rich; however, as they say, ‘all good things come to an end’, and well this hasn’t actually come to an end, but today has been the first day (since I arrived) that I’ve honestly thought that going home can’t come soon enough.
We were in one of my favorite anchorages, just across from the fabulous Paradise Cove Resort, and we had our friends Bruce and Kristine next to us on their boat. We had all enjoyed a fun evening together on another friends boat, with some amazing food and a little too much of the happy drinks, followed by a great night on our boat, and a delicious lunch at the resort, followed by a walk around the island leading to the islands lookout, amazing, incredible, beautiful views.
Paradise Cove resort, Island lookout.
Such a beautiful day.
So all had been really lovely, and then the sky clouded over and the wind came; gradually our perfectly calm, comfortable anchorage was under siege from building waves and wind, our boats were bouncing up and down in a see-saw motion, as they faced into the wind and waves. It was approaching the night of the full moon! need I say more, and as the evening progressed the rain came, a torrential downpour, “at least it would clean all the salt of the boat” I thought, trying for a positive outlook.
The following morning it was worse, the seas had been building all night (I’m sure helped along by the full moon), we had about 2 meter waves (my guess) white water and howling winds of 30 – 35 knots.
It was horribly uncomfortable, I was as giddy as a goose with the constant up and down motion, Bruce and Kristine had, had enough and upped anchor to head over to Waya Island, Nalauwaki Bay, we said we would follow. Bob spent about an hour working on the anchor switch, so ‘yours truly’ doesn’t jam up the anchor and destroy the mechanism (again)
And then we headed out!
Leaving the anchorage was a challenge in the conditions, Bob decided he would bring up the anchor, while I took the helm! The waves were constantly crashing over the bow drenching him, as the bow of the boat seemed to take off and then come crashing down again with such force, and we were getting perilously close to the reef, I was trying to steer to give some forward motion that would enable him to lift the anchor, which was pulling so hard I had to drive the boat forward so he could bring it up without over stressing the windless. The anchor appeared to have gotten itself wrapped around a rock and was proving a nightmare to bring up, it was a stressful, difficult, very wet procedure.
Once he finally had the anchor up, I tried to steer us out into the bay away from the reef, but I had to reverse to do that, we were then so close to the reef and the waves were so big, I had huge pooping waves crashing over the stern of the boat into the cockpit, throughly drenching me and everything else, so much for the boat cleansing rain!
Bob had to leave the anchor loose and come back to take over the helm, as I was struggling to bring the boat around, without too much trouble, he steered us safely out of the pass, and then handed the helm back to me so he could go and finish tying the anchor down, ‘another drenching’.
Foolishly, I had hoped that once we were out of the pass and motoring things would be calmer, Ha, what do I know! We hit consistent 39-41 knots of wind the entire way over, Bob wanted to raise the jib, but I said “not in this bloody wind you’re not,” visions of our recently shredded sail still fresh in my mind. So to keep ‘her indoors’ happy we continued under motor.
Under normal conditions it should only have been about a 45 minute passage, but we were into the wind, waves and current, and even though we should have been doing 7-8 knots we were only doing 2-3, consequently the passage took us about 90 minutes. I felt as though we were on some sort of crazy fairground ride, the alarming amount of water that came crashing over the bow as Daisy pitched up and down would previously have had me running for the vodka bottle, and diving under the covers, but oddly enough I wasn’t concerned; I wasn’t comfortable, and I certainly wasn’t having fun, but it was good for once not to be scared for my life..
It was a horribly rough passage, and when we arrived in the “sheltered bay!” we hit 45-50 knot winds gusting to 55 knots. There were several other boats in the bay taking shelter under the cover of the island, but as we approached the anchorage looking for a safe place for the night, the wind just kept blowing, also the bay was deep, so we had to get close to shore to be shallow enough to drop anchor, 75′ is about our limit. There wasn’t much choice, and as we tried to drop anchor behind a ‘catamoron’ he came out yelling at us that his anchor was there. Bob turned and motored around to try and find another spot but there wasn’t anywhere, so we went back over towards the catamoron and I called across to the woman sat on the stern that we were dropping behind them, and she put her thumbs up to say OK, the miserable old catamoron git (Captain) was not in sight at this time. So we dropped anchor and put down enough chain to hold us secure, the wind was still blowing 35-40knots.
Definitely a memorable passage, but not in a good way.
I’m writing this at 9am the following morning, and its still blowing 35-40 knots out there, tomorrow is supposed to be better, so we will head back to the safety and calm of Musket Cove, to wait out the next storm that’s predicted to hit us on Tuesday. God help us, I just want Scotty to beam me up and take me back in New Zealand…