After two wonderful weeks in the amazing island of Maupiti, we have decided to make some easting. Today we said goodbye to Mai Ti and his family. It was a touching moment while they put shell lei after shell lei around our necks with tears in their eyes. We will never forget the family. They are perhaps the most humble, kind and generous people we have ever had the privilege of meeting. Mai Ti told us that the next time we visit Maupiti we should plan to stay forever. I told him that someday we would return.
Today we made Ellie passage-ready and planned our next few legs. Since our next major destination is Hawaii, 2,600 nm due north of our current position, it’s time to start making some easting so that we aren’t bashing to weather for upwards of a month. Remember that south of the equator the prevailing winds are SE and north of the ITCZ the prevailing winds are NE; so if we left from here we would need to sail quite a bit east before we could fall off for Hawaii. Even if we took that tactic there is a decent chance we could be close-hauled for a good portion of the passage. With easting in mind we have decided to take advantage of each weather window and hop a few hundred miles east at a time until we reach the Marquesas again. We plan to leave for Hawaii from Nuku Hiva. That will put the trade winds on our beam or behind us the entire way to Hilo, Hawaii and make for a more comfortable and shorter sail. The total miles from Nuku Hiva to Hawaii is a more palatable 2,000 nm.
I have been watching the weather patterns ever since we reached the SE trades and there is a pattern that we should be able to take advantage of. Each time a low crosses to the south of our position the trades clock around to the NE then N then NW before the front line overtakes us and the wind dies for a day and then the SE trades strengthen again. So our plan is to use each low to make a day or two east and then hide out until the next low. I figure if we are flexible and patient we can make it back to Ellie Island on Raroia without too much heartburn (overnight to Huahine and then a two day sail to Toau and then an overnight to Raroia). Then we wait until we have a decent three-day window of moderate easterlies to sail the 380 miles north to the Marquesas. That’s the idea at least. You’ll have to stay tuned for the actual account!
Tomorrow we plan to rise with the sun and make a dash for Tahaa, 43 nm east. We may or may not make it to the pass before we lose sunlight. If we make it we will happily tie to a mooring ball for the night and then push on to Huahine the next morning. If not then we will accept a night at sea and reach Huahine the next morning.
Once in Huahine we plan to do a huge provisioning run and stock up for two and a half months so if we decide to hide out in Raroia for a month we will have the luxury. The idea is to have enough food and supplies to get us all the way to Hawaii. If we make it to the Marquesas then of course we’ll have to pick up a stock of bananas, arm fulls of pamplemouse and other produce!
For those who are just catching up. We have decided to sail for Hawaii before the onset of the southern cyclone season that officially starts in November. While here in Maupiti we weighed our options. The distance to Opua, New Zealand and the distance to Majuro in the Marshall Islands were both greater than the distance to Hawaii. Additionally, we would have had to rush through the rest of the South Pacific to reach either destination before November 1st. Hawaii on the other hand is due north. So when we return to the South Pacific next year we can take a leisurely pace visiting the rest of the islands between here and Australia. The sail to Hawaii is mostly a beam reach in moderate conditions. We made a reservation at the nicest marina in Oahu so Ellie will be safe. We already have cheap airfare back to CA in December to visit family.
We have an early morning tomorrow so have to put in. It’s raining hard right now. Did I mention that sailing east during low pressure systems means sailing in the rain? Good thing we’re not afraid of getting wet.
Here’s a picture of our nemesis, the Maupiti pass. If it’s breaking tomorrow we’re waiting for the next low!
-Lewis & Alyssa