After the previous entry was written, but not posted...things changed big time aboard the good ship Astarte. We've learned to be careful what you wish. On Sunday evening's radio net, hosted by Michael, another boat heading towards Niue reported big winds and seas. We saw lots of squally clouds and dark skies as well so we took down the whisker pole and reefed in the main. Just in time. The wind picked up pretty quickly to 20 to 25 knots with gusts to 30 and seas built to almost three meters. It was a difficult night with a big and noisy wind constantly howling and seas tossing us about. It was hard to move below decks. But Astarte handled it all quite well – the boat handles things better than the crew.
These winds continued for the entire next day. It seems a convergence zone has settled over this part of the Pacific. It is now Tuesday morning as I write this, the wind has finally settled to 15 to 20 and the seas are down to two meters. It is still rolling quite a bit but at least the waves are no longer breaking over the decks. Our dodger sure got tested in this crossing as did all the knots tying things on the deck. The rain has stopped and it is a sunny day – and that should make the salty decks, canvas, solar panels – well just about everything, dry out and get nice and "crispy." We'll need a good rain to help wash all the salt off (Just as I wrote this, a big wave just crashed over and came below decks because we had just put the door away thinking that nonsense had ended!)
We are less than 80 miles from Niue, but we'll have to be out one more night as we won't make it in before dark. Niue Yacht Club, where we'll be tied to a mooring, is incredibly friendly and responsive. We contacted them about a week ago, and Keith the Commodore of the Yacht Club sends us daily mooring ball counts, weather and friendly information. We are really looking forward to getting there and meeting him. We hope there will be space when we arrive (there are 20 mooring balls and as of the last count there are 18 boats there and we know one will beat us in later today).
It's been a rough few nights and we'll be glad to be on a mooring ball to get some sleep and see this lovely island nation.