Lat: 19 49.578′ S
Lon: 168 14.640′ W

This morning we got up around 6 am to make a couple of repairs before leaving. The bilge pump in the starboard engine room had died and had to be replaced amid several inches of greasy, oily water. That was little messy, but luckily we had a used but working bilge pump of the same model to drop in. I thought we had enough spare float switches and bilge pumps for several years, but we’ll probably buy a couple more in New Zealand. Eventually even bilge pumps succumb to life in the bilge. Next was a wiring check for the port engine water temperature gauge that had stopped working, but it looks like it was just a simple short between a couple of connections on the back of the gauge.

Lauren and I jumped in to have one last swim in the clear water and to clean off the props and grounding plates. The tide must have been high, because the current from the heavy swell that was breaking over the reef and filling the lagoon made even simple underwater tasks a lot of work. We were going to do a quick clean of the bottom, which isn’t too bad, but the current was too strong, and it was about time to leave.

We were the last boat to weigh anchor and leave Beveridge. Two boats are headed to Niue, and Matajusi is going straight to Tonga’s Vavau group. Even with a big swell from the ESE, the sailing could hardly be better. It was overcast yesterday and early this morning, but soon after exiting the boiling river of the pass, the bright tropical sun came out. So far the wind has been right around 15 knots and we’ve been making great time with the small spinnaker set. A small German boat with three people and a small baby that was born en route in Moorea left ahead of us, but once we had our spinnaker set we quickly started to overtake them. They hailed us on the radio and asked if we could take pictures of their boat, so when we get to Niue we should be able to swap pictures of our boats under sail at sea.

PA030095 Making good time with the asymmetric spinnaker

PA030082 How things look when there’s a good swell running

As much as we enjoy the time spent visiting the places we’ve stopped, it’s often nice to be back at sea. As long as the weather isn’t rough, it’s something I look forward to. I guess it’s a little bit like a day on land where you don’t have any particular plans or obligations and you can enjoy relaxing and reading about your next landfall. Lauren says it’s like a vacation from vacation, but I suppose not everyone vacations by lugging 50 lb water jugs and showers in places like Aitutaki where we had to bring a piece of hose to stick into the rusty hole in the concrete wall where cold water came out (ahhh, that was refreshing). It could also be that I just enjoy naps more than the average person.

Lauren and I were talking today about how the stop in Beveridge Reef marks one year since we quit our jobs and drove from LA to Florida to start getting the boat ready. There were so many repairs we almost missed the season, but when Silvio asked how we felt about the trip so far, we had to say it’s been well worth the working and saving. It was amazing how similar the doubts were that he and I had after we had both encountered our first storm offshore. There are some people who set out to do this with enough experience that it’s routine for them, but the majority seem to be people who are crossing an ocean for the first time as part of this trip. Even with the months and years of preparation, it’s an experience that seems to teach you something every day.