About 3:00 am. Morning of day 20, graveyard watch as usual. Sarah mentioned seeing skimming birds feeding at dusk last night when we were just under 100 nm. from land. Birds are always our last send off and first greeters on passage. Also, as is usual since leaving Panama, a red footed booby has chosen our bow rail to rest for the night. We marvel at the flexibility and unwavering tenacity their webbed feet display in gripping slimy, salted 1” stainless steel pipe bouncing about for hour upon hour.
Saturday, May 14, 2022
Sighting land at dawn.
I’m reading an ebook of another Pacific passage from 1987, ‘Racing through Paradise’, by William F. Buckley, the pompous and overly wordy arch conservative known to me, along with George Will, as the two persons most likely to wax eloquently, with great ponderous statements based on numerous supposedly irrefutable facts, using stout reasoning and superb language skills, in order to draw conclusions completely erroneous to me, and near totally lacking in empathy for other than the New England wealthy class. Buckley writes with a self centered air of unquestioned arrogance, name dropping past presidents and important people he must write to or skim over speeches for, I’ve quickly learned to skim over all but those parts that pertain to sailing on long passages, and still I can barely get past the ‘know it all’ tone of self indulgence and entitlement.
4:00 am. The chart plotter shows we are nearing our first possible glimpse of terra firma since leaving views of San Cristobal, the western most volcanic landscape of the Galápagos Islands, in our wake almost 3 weeks ago. UO-HUKU, at the eastern edge of French Polynesia, is for now just a lurking, dark, blurry shape resting nebulous on the southern horizon under overcast and moody skies. The waxing half moon set 2 hours ago. We’ve been getting scattered spit, drizzle, and mini squalls since sunset causing the need to put away cushions and pillows to dry corners only to return them minutes later.
5:20am. Land ho, in ochre/orangish semi dawn detail. Interesting how the outlines of large islands with some mountainous elevations appear a bit larger than appropriate on the surface of the undulating water. This emerging mass of land changes ones sense of scale a bit because we have become so singularly slanted to unimpeded horizon line gazing.
22 nm. to Nuku Hiva and safe anchorage. On one hand we are quite ready to be at anchor, with a much kinder, quieter roll to move about with, but more so, we are anticipating time off the boat testing unused walking muscles, greeting fellow cruisers that have arrived ahead of us, seeing new lush valleys, waterfalls, flora, fauna, and meeting the locals. As I type this the sun’s first bright rays are fighting their way through the low surface clouds, and the feeling of being quite close to finishing 3200 miles across open water is setting in. We’ve come a long way with more than a few mechanical challenges, and delaying wind shifts, in order to experience new to us places like the Marquesas. In a few hours we begin to find out just how much it’s worth.