Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Finally at Hermit Islands

Phew, we made it! It was a really tough passage where we were constantly beating into the wind and even tacking, making it extra slow, as we have to cover a lot more ground and it's frustrating to look at the chart and see our zig zag course. What we had expected to be a 3 1/2 day passage took us five full days. We haven't yet calculated how many miles we actually covered over the ground, but it sure was a lot more than a straight line. We did actually arrive here maybe midnight last night, but spent the rest of the night heaving-to. We went through the eastern entrance this morning and did have mostly sun, but typically a super vicious squall came through exactly at that time and brought winds 30+ knots, but thankfully no torrential rain and the reef and islands were sheltering for the sea and we just motored right through. There were also several markers, so it wasn't difficult.

After the last post where we were NE of Admiralty Islands, the wind didn't die down at night, on the contrary, we actually had quite strong winds for the remainder of the passage, most of the time 20-25 knots, a few times easing to 15 knots. When we were planning our trip through PNG and to Palau, we had hoped to make it to Hermit Islands, but we also agreed that if it was all headwinds and tough going, we would just go directly to Palau. It's a good question why we then just didn't do that. I guess we were quite keen to get here, as it's supposed to be really great. We also weren't very prepared for a long passage, as it we hadn't done any cooking beforehand, and it quickly gets old eating canned spaghetti and baked beans.

Anyway, we made it now and we are very happy to be here to get a rest, see these beautiful islands and get ready for the next leg to Palau. Check it our on Google Earth, it might recognise Hermit Islands, otherwise, 01°30'56.3"S and 145°05'6.40"E should get you there. It's actually an atoll and there is an almost circular reef around a couple of islands in the middle. We're anchored just south of the village where it's very protected from the weather. It's quite deep, but luckily a boat came out and told us which mooring we could use. Apparently they have sold fishing rights to some Taiwanese fishing boats, and we guess it's their moorings, but none are here now, so that's nice.

Beside having a non-moving and quiet boat, the best part was jumping in the water! Because our bodies haven't been near any water since Kavieng, but also because we're right on top of coral and lots of fish. When I was snorkeling on the mooring I even saw a turtle. Hopefully a sign that we'll have a few nice day here.

This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using GMN's XGate software.
Please be kind and keep your replies short.