Friday, June 26, 2015

Safety Rules 101

We have a safety rule: we will travel based on the weather, not based on a calendar date. It is a good rule. We shouldn't break it.

Safety rules are good, but we were in Tikehau and HAD to go 175 nautical miles to Moorea to meet up with our daughter, Heather, who was arriving on Friday. The forecasted winds were a bit high, but it would just take 24 to 36 hours..... The sail to Moorea was awful. We had strong winds, plus gusts and big swells. We reefed the main and put up the solent (the smaller headsail). After a while, we put in a second reef in the main. We were still over powered and doing 10+ knots. With the large swells the boat was surfing at 13 knots.

We were wet due to a couple of rain squalls, plus the swells crashing against the boat were splashing us. Due to the motion and the noise, neither of us could sleep when off watch so we were exhausted. We also realised we were not going to arrive in Moorea until after sunset (another safety rule we have is about not arriving somewhere unknown in the dark). We were going to be stuck in these conditions for an extra 10 hours.

As usual, Dina participated in the Polynesian Magellan radio net (locally called the Poly MagNet). She reported our uncomfortable situation. Another cruiser we know, Steve on SV Liward, radioed that Point Venus, on the NW corner of the island of Tahiti, is a wide open bay that is easy to enter at night. We took his advice, changed course and headed for Tahiti, just east of Moorea. Point Venus has a big lighthouse and there are hotels and lights from the cars on the oceanfront road. We anchored easily in the large bay in the dark. Point Venus blocked most of the wind and ALL of the waves. We slept soundly for 11 hours!