Day 7 to Vanuatu

What a contrast to the previous day; overcast, rain at lunchtime, and an uncomfortable confused sea. With the anchorage at our destination on Anatom being new to us, we decided that a night entry was not a good idea, and so it was a matter of slowing Pipistrelle down enough to arrive at day break.

We had a northerly wind, and so set the autopilot to sail on the wind angle. As it was overcast, there was no indication apart from the compass to show our heading, and there are other things like sails, wind strength and crew meals to occupy our time, rather than be glued to the compass. You can imagine our surprise when a sixth sense indicated something was wrong, to find Pipistrelle heading for New Zealand once more! The wind had changed direction from North to South! Happily it was only a minute or two before we realised!

We had rearranged the night watches so that Bob would be on watch as we closed the coast. He handed over to Elaine at 21.00, with the boat sailing comfortably at 3 knots with a light southerly wind. Within 5 minutes the wind had increased so pushing our speed up to 5-6 knots, so bringing forward our arrival time. So we altered course by 180 degrees, started the engine and motored slowly into the wind. Within 20 minutes the wind had increased in strength to 20-25 knots, and we had torrential rain. We finished up in full oilies, lifejackets and clipped on, whilst a further two reefs were put in the mainsail, and then we hove to for a couple of hours whilst the wind increased further, and got some sleep. Déjà vu the passage from Fiji to NZ last year! The joys of sailing!

After a passage of 953 nm, we arrived at Anatom at 08.15 this morning to find Anthony and Kathryn on Cobalt already here, and white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, palm trees, the sound of waves breaking over the reef and the smell of wood cooking fires!

More later in the next blog update.

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