August 10, 2002
18°37'S, 160°35'W

Stories in this section... Palmerston
Passage to Palmerston Part I
Passage to Palmerston Part II


At Sea
Passage to Palmerston
By Lois Joy                          

1900: The new moon is casting its beam down to the starboard pulpit seat, as I sit at the starboard helm, my favorite spot when the seas are nice like this. Above, Venus is already high in the western sky directly ahead. Today, the waves have been long and undulating; it is the Pacific is as it should be. The wind is a perfect l5 knots, a Force 4 from the SE, pushing Pacific Bliss from the port stern. She is purring along at 7 knots, more in the gusts, her full main and jib filling and pulling. I look behind me as the stern hulls leave cascades of phosphorescence in their wakes. We had dreaded another passage. Perhaps this one would make up for the rough passage to Aitutaki.
Our exit from the narrow and shallow pass there, an hour after dawn this morning, had been non-eventful. We had carefully wound our way through the yachts still in the anchorage, who had all been alerted of our departure, and were prepared to launch their dinghies, if need be. We found little current in the ½ mile pass, less than two hours before high tide. The seas were calm and the sun was already lighting the coral heads.
We had motorsailed most of the day. We barbecued mahi mahi caught during the last passage and fixed salad greens fresh from our last-minute purchases (the farmers bring the produce into the gas station in Aitutaki, where it sits out on racks until sold). Sitting out in the cockpit shaded by the bimini, Gunter, Richard and I commented that life is good out here. We planned our watch schedules for the evening and took turns resting and reading.
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