Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

An action-packed 24 hours

We decided to leave Takaroa yesterday afternoon even through the forecast was for a reasonably windy 24 hours ahead. If we were to wait a day or so, though, the wind was forecast to disappear again and we decided that we've had enough motoring.
So the morning started with a trip ashore in the dinghy to collect fresh baguettes and we were pleased that we brought a large roll-top waterproof bag with us as the dinghy trip back was into the teeth of the wind and the anchorage had some fairly sizeable waves which soaked us. After a morning of preparing the boat for a 20 hour passage to windward we then faced the challenge that we'd been fearing – recovering the anchor and chain from the seabed that was infested by large coral heads. Sure enough both Maunie's and Stormvogel's chains were well and truly wrapped around big lumps of coral (and Stormvogel also had a sunken mooring buoy and its rope wrapped around theirs) and it took us a very unpleasant 40 minutes of boat manoeuvring, chain easing and tightening before we finally escaped. We were lucky not to damage our electric windlass which hauls in the chain and we would have had no chance without it.
We eventually left at 2.00pm with reasonably benign current in the pass and set reefed sails for the 90 mile overnight passage to the atoll of Kaeuhi. The first couple of hours weren't a lot of fun as the last of a weather front rolled over us and we we beating into some very steep seas so were wearing waterproofs for the first time in weeks. Cooking would have been nigh impossible but we had planned ahead and made a corn beef stew ("oh yum, yum" we hear you say) in our insulated slow cooker and it was very tasty, eaten up in the cockpit. Unfortunately Graham had added a small tin of mushrooms into the mix and thought, as he did so,  that they looked an unusual shade of green but assumed that this was from some herbs. Dianne didn't fancy the look of them in her dish and jettisoned them overboard but Graham ate them with gusto. 3 hours later he was violently sick over the side and had stomach cramps for the rest on the night. As a result he stayed in the cockpit until about 3.30am and perversely said he enjoyed the sailing as it took his mind off the retching and gurgling in his stomach and Dianne tried, mostly in vain, to get some sleep below. The wind shifted a bit so we got a more friendly close reach and arrived at the pass into Kaeuhi only just after slack water so had an easy entrance into the huge lagoon – it took us another hour of fast sailing to reach our anchorage off Tearavero Village (position 15 degrees 49.3 minutes south, 145 degrees, 03.3 minutes west). We were relieved to find a much better anchoring spot in shallow water with plenty of sand between the coral heads so could pick our spot.
We're pretty exhausted so a sleep followed by a swim is probably as much as we'll achieve today but we look forward to exploring the village tomorrow. Graham's recovering from his attack of the killer mushrooms but doesn't feel up to a chilled beer to celebrate our arrival, so it must have been bad.

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