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The Savage Passage

We left Bora Bora for Niue in the tail end of a front, which we then hit, and rode the wake of its aftermath. For most of our 1100 mile passage, we had 10-15 ft swells abeam at short intervals (e.g big waves one after the other, approaching us on the side) wind speeds averaging 20 knots with ocasional 30 knot gusts. Waves splashed on, over and around us. Our jib ripped. Our boat rocked.

How exactly did this feel?

The sea state is huge and choppy and winds howl. You feel like you are inside a mechanical bull at a state fair. Drop those coins in, press play, and hold on. You get splashed in the face, you hunker down, you are exhausted. The inside of you boat sounds like a never ending car crash. Every jolt and vibration is heard and felt 3-fold when down below. Your stuff flies everywhere. Everything is moist. You remember you hate the word moist. Everything is slightly wet. You eat straight out of the cold container because the angle of your stove is so tilted it’s clear this is a task where you’re the loser and gravity will win. A 10 ft cresting wave knocks the boat on the side so hard, the iPad docked on the Nav station rotates its own screen to landscape mode. You are the lost sock on spin cycle. You are the ice cube in a drink that is shaken, not stirred.

Five days later, conditions improved. Because part of our jib tore, we sailed most of the way only with a double-reefed main. This being a dead-down-wind passage we were still rolling endlessly, but swells and winds became manageable. We made coffee, had a warm meal and read without getting completely seasick. Mid way we logged 5,000 nautical miles traveled since La Cruz, and being as tired as we were, we celebrated with an air high five. We are officially eligible for both shellback and swallow nautical tattoos.

Despite the rocky start and overall bouncing off the walls, Bravo kept us safe and we got into the grove. There are few crossings left between now and our final destination so our uninterrupted days at sea, surrounded only by water, sea birds, sky, clouds and stars, are numbered. Looking up at the night sky we recognize our smallness and that never again will we have access to such an undisturbed view of the stars. Right now we miss a stable, solid ground, Ellie, a bed, a long warm shower, our families, and Thai food. I recon there will soon be the day when I will miss this.

At 4:45 am local time, we saw the silhouette of the island and radioed Customs for our approach. It felt heartwarming to hear the lovely lady on the other side say “welcome to Niue”. We didn’t know if we were going to make it here. Not because this passage totally sucked, but because so many variables outside of our control had to align to make the visit possible. There are only 20 mooring balls, you can’t anchor, and the weather window has to be just right to allow for arrival and stay. If the mooring balls are all taken and the winds/swell don’t cooperate, you have to bypass the island.

So now, we get Charlie out and ready for shore, gather ourselves and get ready for clearance. The Savage island awaits.

Until next time,
Bravo out

Processed with MOLDIV
So tired…so tired…
Qflag
Marking the occasion by raising the Q flag
Niue Passage1
Made it, right at sunset!

 

Nuie Stats

Total distance: 1100
Departure: 7/5/18 @ 0103 UTC
Arrival: 7/13/18 @ 1833 UTC ; 7 days 17.5 hours
……………………………………………………… Day 1
Date: 7/6/18
Time: 0100 UTC
Position: 16*08.693’ S, 154*01.716’W
Course (Heading): 270
Speed: 5.0 knots
Wind direction and speed: 10 NE knots
Swell direction and height: 2 ft E
Cloud cover: 50%
Barometer: 1014 hPA
Status: all well. 1 fish.
Distance traveled (nm): 135
Distance to go (nm): 951
………………………………………………………

Day 2
Date: 7/7/18
Time: 0103 UTC
Position: 16*13.622 S, 156*35.494 W
Course (Heading): 259
Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind direction and speed: 15 knots NW
Swell direction and height: 3 ft N
Cloud cover: 50%
Barometer: 1014 hPA
Status: this is nuts. All well.
Distance traveled (nm): 285
Distance to go (nm): 817
……………………………………………………… Day 3
Date: 7/8/18
Time: 0100 UTC
Position: 16*21.458 S, 159*06.152 W
Course (Heading): 245
Speed: 7.5 knots
Wind direction and speed: 21 knots SSE
Swell direction and height: 10 ft SSE
Cloud cover: 25 %
Barometer: 1016 hPA
Status: all ok
Distance traveled (nm): 442
Distance to go (nm): 645
………………………………………………………

Day 4
Date: 7/9/18
Time: 0100 UTC
Position: 17*01.162 S, 161*26.588 W
Course (Heading): 250
Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind direction and speed: 20 knots SE
Swell direction and height: 8 ft SE
Cloud cover: 30%
Barometer: 1016 hPA
Status: We are good. Ripped jib.
Distance traveled (nm): 588
Distance to go (nm): 505
………………………………………………………

Day 5
Date: 7/10/18
Time: 0130 UTC
Position: 17*55.766 S, 163*39.853 W
Course (Heading): 240
Speed: 6 knots
Wind direction and speed: 18 knots E
Swell direction and height: 8 ft E
Cloud cover: 15 %
Barometer: 1017 hPA
Status: sun is finally coming out! All well aboard
Distance traveled (nm): 733
Distance to go (nm): 368
……………………………………………………… Day 6
Date: 7/11/18
Time: 0100 UTC
Position: 18*22.806’ S, 165*48.209’ W
Course (Heading): 260
Speed: 6 knots
Wind direction and speed: 14 knots ESE
Swell direction and height: 6 ft E
Cloud cover: 40%
Barometer: 1018 hPA
Status: all well
Distance traveled (nm): 859
Distance to go (nm): 242
……………………………………………………… Day 7
Date: 7/12/18
Time: 0200 UTC
Position: 18*40.782 S, 168*31.398 W
Course (Heading): 245
Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind direction and speed: 18 knots SE
Swell direction and height: 3 ft E
Cloud cover: 75%
Barometer: 1016 hPA
Status: all well
Distance traveled (nm): 1019
Distance to go (nm): 87
………………………………………………………

Post powered by us emailing WordPress from our Iridium. The dialup connection does not allow us to post good pictures or format our content, so until we have solid WiFi our write ups will be sans pics and may look a little quirky. Updates will be made as soon as possible! We have been posting pictures on our Instagram, so follow us there @sailingbravo. I unfortunately can’t read your replies or comments quite yet but stay in touch and we will reply as soon as we can. Thanks for reading!