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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Overnight sail to Rarotonga

October 17, 2012
Underway position @ 7AM local: 20°54.5' S 159°45.0' W
Sailing from Aitutaki to Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Yesterday, we downloaded the latest weather GRIB and found perfect conditions to make the 140nm sail due South to Rarotonga. We'd been wanting to get our Aitutaki friend Greg out for a 'real' sail aboard LightSpeed. After a few fishing / sailing excursions with Greg and Ingrid around Aitutaki, Greg was keen for a overnight sail. You see, Greg now has 'cat fever' and is keen to purchase a catamaran next year, thus he's wisely getting as much sailing experience as possible. So around 9AM we dropped our mooring lines to pull out of the Aituraki boat basin and headed out the pass. The pass to Aitutaki is pretty narrow and long and shoal, but in reality every boat with a draft of 5'6' has made it in and out with little incident. Even a Lagoon 50' with a 28' beam and 5' draft made it in and out, albeit briefly touching some sand on the way out. Outside the lagoon it's also possible to anchor or pick up a single mooring and several visiting boats with 6' or more draft has stayed outside in the protection of the lee.

Aitutaki is great fun with cheap motorbike rentals ($25 the first day and $20 each day thereafter) to explore the islands, many small casual restaurants, a super laid back island time attitude, hump back whales just outside the pass, amazing fly fishing and several motus surrounded by the the most striking combination of blue lagoon waters. Aitutaki is definitely worth a stop.

Last weekend Kathy, Ingrid, Greg and I were out sailing 14' Lasers in the sparkling warm waters of the Aitutaki lagoon. In the next few weeks we hope to get in a few more practice sessions on the Lasers and then possibly compete in a upcoming Laser regatta.

At the moment we are about 20nm out of Rarotonga and just enjoyed a spectacular pre-dawn and sunrise. Fishing lines are in the water and we're hoping to break our long streak of uninterrupted fishing with some catching. Our interpretation of the GRIB files was fairly accurate and we enjoyed a great sail close hauled in the light head winds and 1.5 meter SE swell. At the moment we are motor sailing the final miles as the wind has gone light. Looking forward to some shopping in Rarotonga where we'll be looking for cheaper prices than those on Aitutaki.

That's it for now.

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