On the 26th July we still had about 950 nm to go. We noticed our speed had dropped and after consulting the Admiralty Pilot book we discovered that the favourable 1kt equatorial current disappears south of 8 degrees sadly. We still had the strong wind though and the accompanying large waves, not quite the Atlantic rollers but larger than we were expecting from the Pacific. We had a minor set back with the fishing when the line got caught in the blades of the wind generator and snapped and we lost our supper and the use of the wind vane. John attempted to unthread it standing on the pushpit but as it was still very rolly he stopped before he fell overboard.
We tried various sail combinations over the next few days, trying to goosewing with the two jennies, we hoisted the main with the third reef but this did not last long as we could not make our course. We really needed to be downwind so it was usually the favoured rig of the poled out big jenny furled as needed. On 29th July the wind became calmer and thoughts of the parasailor began to surface and after much deliberation we had a practice run for a couple of hours that evening but did not fly it overnight. Dawn on 30th saw us all working on hoisting the parasailor again, it looked wonderful and we sailed with it all day as the wind remained light. It certainly gave us a welcome rest from the rolling as it stabilizes the boat very effectively so I took full advantage and baked a loaf of bread and made a cake. We took it down again at dusk and it was back to the faithful poled out big jenny for the night but as the wind strengthened that was just as well.
The pole had to go the next day to make course, and the sea built up with strong wind 25 -30 kts so back to the rolling. On the 1st august Malcolm caught an enormous sail fish it filled the stern cockpit and was a record catch for Malcolm.
At 11.15 the same morning land we saw land, rather a strange sight after so many days of only ocean, but exciting nevertheless. It took until that evening to arrive. We decided to go to a bay on the north of Hiva Oa the island we were making for as it was closer than the anchorage near the town of Atuona. It seemed an easier anchorage in the dark although we had some moonlight now to help us.
We sailed on and the land loomed larger,we had our cocktails rounding the peninsula on the north east of the island and continued to Puamau bay to anchor for supper and a celebratory bottle of champagne. Luckily the modern technology of the chart plotter and radar with the help of the moonlight made it all possible and safe in a large open bay. We all welcomed a night without being woken for a watch and although there was some swell it was much smoother than our nights had been over the last 3 weeks.
So a 22 day voyage without using the motor at all other than start and finish, wonderful wind all the way, no major breakages, gear failures or injuries and a lot of fun as well. We sailed round to Atuona the next day and anchored in the bay with several other yachts some of them looked as if they would hardly make the next bay for a picnic never mind 3000+nm across the Pacific! It seemed to be the normal way of life here to have sailed across thousands of miles of ocean.
We are planning to cruise the Marquesas for the next few weeks before heading to the Tuamotos so watch this space. Photos will be added when internet allows.