Monday, July 4, 2011

Trapped Inside the Reef!!

In the middle of the night we could hear the noise of the surf pick up. And it belatedly occurred to me that I'd never gotten around to checking the swell height forecast along with the wind. Sure enough, when I pulled down the day's forecast, though the wind forecast was still for under 10 knots, the swell height had jumped from 1.6 meters to 3.9 meters overnight. This is from a deep low down in the 'Roaring Forties'--600+ miles away from us.

And, guess what? Our 'deep pass that rarely breaks' was breaking all the way across. And, there's no other way out of this area. And there's no really good spot to get out of the winds that are forecast to blow up to 20-25knots in the next couple of days. And, there's no real town here, or internet. Sheesh!

We checked the pass by dinghy as soon as we got through breakfast, and it was definitely too bad to get out safely. By mid-day when we checked again, it was even worse, and we had a roaring 2 knot current now in our nice quiet anchorage. This is caused by the waves breaking over the reef pouring tons of water into the lagoon, and the only way out for the water is via the one deep pass. Quite a different scene from when we came in the day before.

We saw only one local fishing boat go out early in the morning. And there were no surfers out in the pass at all. The surf out in front of us was booming on the reef all day.

There was nothing to do but hang out and enjoy the scenery and hope the waves subside as forecast. We did re-anchor, inching a little further onto the sand bank, to let out more scope and still be out of the deep area, which was very agitated because of the current.

This is a nice enough anchorage now, but the seas are forecast to go even higher in the next couple of days, and the wind is supposed to pick up and blow for a few days in the 20 knot range. There isn't any protection from the wind where we are, so we'd really like to get out of here to a more protected location.

The forecast for today is that the wind will pick up some--to the 15-20 range, and the seas will subside a little, before starting to pick back up again tomorrow morning. So we are hoping to get out at midday. We took a peek by dinghy this morning and the pass does look marginally passable--scary as hell, though, motoring out in a slow sailboat into seas like that. We are waiting for a few more hours before attempting to go out at high tide. If we don't make it out this afternoon or tomorrow morning, we'll be stuck here for 3-4 more days.
Sherry & Dave
In French Polynesia til August, then west toward Tonga

At 7/1/2011 10:54 PM (utc) our position was 17°34.42'S 149°52.13'W

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