Tāua e Moana Vaka Blog – Leaving Pukapuka for Suwarrow

Kelvin Passfield – Leaving Pukapuka for Suwarrow 22 July 2021

So it is Thursday, and we have been going for 3 full days now, doing our best to sail to Suwarrow after leaving Pukapuka at 5pm on Monday.  Winds have been mainly East-South East, making a direct course impossible.  We tacked north east for about the first 24 hrs, so we could eventually steer a more direct course.  Sine then we have made steady progress to the south.  Just before midday today we have had a favorable wind shift to East North East, allowing us to steer a course direct for Suwarrow.  If this keeps up, we hope to make Suwarrow by midday Friday.

I have dubbed this part of the voyage the oe oe, kaikai, mimi, moemoe cruise, because that is what our days and nights consist of.  Three hour watches for the oe oe, and if that coincides with the time before meals, it is also the kaikai.  Then, if you are sensible, it is mimi time before heading down to the bunk for the moemoe.

Kaikai has been a highlight, with a diverse range of meals being produced, including creamy pasta dishes and curries.  Not a lot in the way of greens, and we are patiently waiting for our last bunch of bananas from Pukapuka to ripen.  The kuru has been a nice addition to the menu as well.  Teina made an interesting cake out of some over-ripe kuru, very sweet despite no added sugar.  But the highlight on the menu so far for this sector has been the pumpkin soup.  Kura and Shane made a great dish out of the pumpkin from our Re Ipukarea Society keyhole garden.  This was picked over a month ago, and has lasted very well till now. A great vegetable to take with you on a long voyage.

We are almost finished the niu (drinking nuts from Pukapuka as well.  It has been a welcome and healthy drink, and the best thing is the empties can be thrown over the side.  Not like the coke bottle we saw floating past on the first day out of Pukapuka, covered in barnacles and headed for the Pacific Garbage Patch floating in the ocean.  We did tow our plastic trawl yesterday morning, catching some tiny fish and some more “fore the wind” sailors we commonly call blue bottles. Again no obvious microplastics, but we did catch some coffee grinds, reminding us to be more careful not to wash dishes, throw anything, and especially not to flush the toilet, when the plastic trawl is out.

Today has been a blessed day starting with the early morning shift at 3 am to 6 am, where we had a beautiful almost full moon, good winds and lovely ukulele music from Kura practicing her new song about the moonlight. We also had two rain squalls already, allowing a freshwater shower or rinse off for those of us above deck at the right time, as well as the favourable wind change sending us towards our destination.

When we do get to Suwarrow, it will be straight to Motu Tou for the TIS team of Alanna and myself and some helpers, to set up camp and start our 3 nights of rat trapping.  We are all hoping that we don’t catch any, so that we can confirm our 2018 eradication project has been successful.

Here’s hoping the next blog will be sent from Suwarrow. Ka kite apopo.

Kelvin Passfield