We are delighted to report that Maunie has stopped, after almost exactly 4 days of constant motion over the 587nm from Vanuatu.
Yesterday the wind began to drop and we thought we'd have to start the engine but a favourable direction (close reaching) and kindly sea-state meant we continued to make reasonable progress (sometimes only 3-4 knots) in a gentle 7-8 knots of breeze. Through the night we made better speed and, as predicted, hove-to just outside the entrance to the reef at 04.00 to wait for some sunlight. Unfortunately this excellent plan was slightly marred by the arrival of a boisterous 20-25 knot southerly, caused by the surprise formation of a low pressure system just to our south and that made for a wet beat the huge lagoon, whose surface was far from calm, and we are now anchored in brilliant turquoise water just 5m deep at the very southern tip. There's still a half metre wind-chop but it's not bothering us; to be honest we'll sleep through anything tonight.
The wind is supposed to calm over the next few days so we're looking forward to exploring the little islands that dot the circumference of the reef; we have already seen some interesting sea birds and there are said to be reef sharks in the shallows and turtles hatching on the beaches. We have a few boat jobs, too, including solving a deck leak in the heads – we thought we'd already fixed that one but alas the seas piling up on Maunie's side deck proved otherwise.
We'll try to capture this place on camera but won't be able to post photos till we get to Australia. Thanks to those who sent us emails or YIT comments whilst we were on passage, it meant a lot to us to hear your words of encouragement.