Hello from 21:17S/170:23E at 15.00 ship's time.
Mmm, so much for putting the brakes on! The wind built yesterday evening and we ended up with two reefs in the mainsail overnight so, together with a favourable 0.7 knot current, we've been making good speed. Our 24 hour run from 14.00 yesterday was 168nm, an average of 7 knots, which is not too shabby. The downside of the increased wind was the arrival of increased waves so Graham found sleep impossible during the night and Laura and Diane didn't do much better. Luckily Graham managed a couple of hours sleep this morning so is feeling relatively ok and the girls are trying to snooze as I write.
We now have 70nm to run so at current speeds we should be arriving in Aneityum at about 01.00 ship's time or midnight Vanuatu time. Kate and Paul on their 46ft yacht Iolea (a fast Hylas 46 with hull design by the legendary race boat designers Sparkman & Stephens) set off a couple of hours ahead of us and should have arrived late this morning, about 13 hours ahead of us, so we'll get some information on the anchorage from them via SSB this afternoon. It's full moon so, if the sky isn't too cloudy, we'll look to do a night time arrival; we have good Google Earth image and reliable waypoints and the entrance to the anchorage is very easy. Unlike Fiji, there aren't fringing coral reefs with scarily narrow entrance passages here so it should be fine but, if we have any doubts, we'll heave-to (effectively parking the boat at sea) until dawn.
Whilst we are definitely on the home straight, we've just had to put a definite kink in our course to avoid something called Monts Gemini. It's an underwater volcano and the chart shows that it rises dramatically from a seabed at about 3000m deep to a peak at just 40m deep. Clearly that's plenty deep enough for Maunie's keel but these seamounts often cause confused and steep waves as the current gets defected up towards the surface and, let's face it, we've had enough confused and steep waves on this passage already!
We are SO looking forward to a still anchorage!