15 May 2014

Raivavae

Our first landfall after Lyttelton was Raivavae, in French Polynesia (Austral Islands).  Although we'd planned to be at sea for 3-4 weeks, we actually took a bit over 5 weeks to reach land!  This was mostly because of that stationary high I eluded to in my previous post, we went about 350 miles further south than I had originally planned, and then of course had to track north all of that distance again.  Then, on the northwards leg we had this odd mix of reasonable to good sailing weather combined with massive gales -- 45 knots and 8 + metre swells at one point.  I had planned to chew some fuel on that leg motoring into light contrary winds which often happens, but instead we were forced to heave to (stop the boat by backing the sails against each other) for about 3 or 4 days in total to survive the weather we encountered -- all of which was quite contrary to the forecast.

However we got there in the end, on the 1st of May our time.  It was certainly a sight for sore eyes, and sore other parts too as we had run completely out of water a couple of days previously (despite a spurt from the otherwise busted watermaker).

Anyway, Raivavae is a pretty little island, with much to recommend it:
There isn't much in the way of shops and supplies on the island but a few friendly locals offered us some grapefruit, bananas, coconuts and a few other bits and pieces.

We stopped by John and Linda and Chez Linda on the far side of the island, who ordered some baguettes for us from the only bakery on the island (where there is no shop, but you can phone through an order to be delivered the next day).  I spent an afternoon cycling around the island, unfortunately the road could be in better condition but it was a pretty enough ride.

We ended up staying a few days longer than originally planned due to some contrary winds, before leaving for Tahiti.

Tahiti was a bit under 4 days sailing, and along the way we caught this tasty fellow:
It's a wahoo!  Once we'd done the filleting job, a bit was fried in butter and garlic, another serve put into the fridge marinating in balsamic vinegar and honey for the next day's lunch, and we still have 2 serves to eat on the next leg of the journey (along with a couple of serves of the tuna we caught earlier).  I was thinking that the skirt flaps from the two fish would make a good soup -- does anyone have a good recipe for mulligatawny?