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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Arrived Penrhyn Atoll

January 24, 2013
Anchored dropped at: 08°58.7182 S 158°03.1010 W
Omoka Village, Penrhyn Atoll

Arrived safely at Penrhyn Atoll, Northern Cook Islands.

Our escape plan from American Samoa worked! Fortunately, Tropical Cyclone 'Garry' decided to stop chasing us and turned a bit to the South East. He's still out there, but now he's headed for the Southern Cooks.

Our course arced to the North sailing 867 nautical miles over 134 hours for an average speed around 6.5 knots. Considering the West setting current, several days motoring and then almost two days with winds between 4-12 knots, I'm pretty happy with the 6.5 knot average. The final 36 hours we had 17-24 knots on the beam and just sailed with the jib to avoid arriving too early. The sea state was been pretty bouncy with multiple swell directions and 3+ meter short period wind waves on the beam.

Penrhyn Atolls' westerly pass, Taruia Pass, was really sketchy with the 3+ meter NNW swell and major ebb. The water was so churned up with whitecaps, breakers, standing waves and overfalls it was very difficult to determine the location of the pass even though it's said to be 300 feet wide. We approached very slowly and then hovered for a while trying to sort it out. There were no markers what-so-ever. On my last visit there was at least one rusty piece of rebar sticking out of the reef on the north side to delineate the pass. This time it was nearly impossible to determine the reef break from the pass break. We shot a video as we edged in from the NW avoiding most of the overfalls in the outflow and then hammered the throttles and surfed a wave through the pass at nearly 12 knots. I think in a mono-hull these would have been classic broaching conditions and extremely dangerous. Perhaps, Takuua Pass located on the Northeast would have been better today.

Completed check in procedures ashore. We're super happy to have the anchor down and ready for a good nights sleep.

That's it for now.

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