Departure and arrival

Departure means the beginning of unknown adventure. It is exciting and always tinged with a modicum of apprehension.

Some sailors, Like Tony Gooch, like just being at sea best of all. For me, ocean passages themselves are something you do for no other reason than to arrive. Well, perhaps there are some good moments en route..


Arrival is always magical and the pleasure never wanes. Anchored here in a deserted arm of Baie du Prony, the water is flat and Tainui is immobile. The silence is ghostly. As the sun rises over New Caledonia’s forested shores slashed with russet gorges, we down our pancakes with unseemly haste to the accompaniment of Stephen Bishop-K’s Beethoven bagatelles. Such a feeling of fulfillment, even if it is illusory.

Passage from Tonga to Suva took 5 windless days during which Mr Ford was perpetually thirsty but performed flawlessly. Suva was just as I remembered it and the RSYC was our typically friendly host. The crossing from Fiji to the Loyalty Islands was another story altogether – a strong convergence zone produced steadily freshening winds and squalls. As the breeze backed from SE to E, cross seas made for boisterous and uncomfortable sailing. By the time we reached Isle Mare we were down to a tiny sliver of foresail, still lurching and rolling along at 6-7 knots. The turqoise waters of Baie Tadine provided welcome respite.

Yesterday we crossed to New Caledonia, entering through impressive overfalls and eddies of Havannah Passage. We motored in against a 4 knot ebb tide and shipped no green water despite my apprehension.

So here we are. And the pleasure of just sitting here is immeasurable.

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