Day 296, Year 1: Back to Wing and Wing Sailing
Date: Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Weather: Blue Skies and Sunny; E Winds10-12
Latitude: 16 degrees, 27 minutes S
Longitude: 167 degrees, 46 minutes W
Location: Passage from Rarotonga to American Samoa, Day 5
Miles to Go: 212 (out of 747)
Today was another glorious day in paradise. The sun has been shining all day, no threat of squalls, wind gently pushing us toward Samoa. What more could one ask for? We are once again sailing wing and wing as the winds are back behind us and the winds have gone down to about 10-12 knots. We are moving along at about 5 knots, and at this rate there’s a possibility we won’t make landfall on Friday. We could start the engine, but it is so very peaceful out here that we have decided to take the extra time and enjoy the ride. If the winds dip below 10 knots, we might reconsider, but right now we are happily bobbing along.
I spent some time last night working on selecting Rarotonga pictures for the website. I think I did not fully appreciate the beauty when I was there. The pictures make it look like the Garden of Eden. The not so perfect harbor, the difficulty I had getting to and from shore in the rough harbor, and the incessant rain colored my short term perceptions. I had so much wanted things to be perfect for the Stuarts when they were visiting, and the weather just didn’t fully cooperate, so I let that disappointment also color my perceptions. But as I look back, I now realize it was really a beautiful island. And we had a wonderful time with Linda, Mike, and Garrett. They might not ever want to set foot on a sailboat again, but I know they enjoyed the experience. Just the fact that you could walk out into the lagoon and see the colorful fish without even snorkeling was really a gift. And we got to enjoy lots of music and dancing the Cook Island way since we were there for the cultural festival. And we had some wonderful meals at local restaurants. It really was wonderful. But the weather wasn’t. And still isn’t. As I listen to the net each morning, I feel for the boats headed that way. They are still battling constant squalls. We sailed out of that and into calm waters and sunshine once again, and this is what I love. But if I had it to do over again, I would still go south to Rarotonga. We bring with us memories that we will have for a life time.
We continue to read about American Samoa and Independent Samoa. It is going to be very different from any place we have visited thus far, but it sounds intriguing. Samoa has waterfalls that you can literally slide down into a beautiful pool. I don’t think I’ll be doing that, but it sounds fantastic. We’ll be visiting the home of Robert Louis Stevenson which is now a museum. There are beautiful beaches, Tarzan and Jane hiking experiences where you have to beat your way through the luxuriant growth, and the best beer in the South Pacific. Vailima Breweries just outside of Apia has a brew master that studied in Bavaria and brought his knowledge back to the South Pacific. This brewery produces more than 3 million liters of brew a year, and since the water is not safe there for tourists, beer is the drink of choice for those of us passing through. There are many cultural experiences that I won’t describe here. I’ll wait until we have experienced them and report on those in future logs.
The day here is coming to a close. Before we reach Samoa, we will have to set our clocks back another hour, and then when we leave Samoa for Fiji we will cross the international date line and lose a whole day. Glad it’s not going to be my birthday! There is a restaurant in Apia that claims to be the last restaurant on earth to close every day. I’ll definitely have to spend the evening there and wait until closing to be part of this experience.