It is a relief to be at sea again. We slipped out of the bay at noon, into a cooling SSE sea breeze. The lofty volcanic spires of Ua Pou lie 15 miles to port and we are on course for Kauehi in the Tuamotus. 510 miles and, I hope, no more than 4 days.

Axel is clearly learning all the tedious rules which are an essential part of small boat life. He is a generous-spirited soul and hasn’t a mean bone in his body. But, like so many 19 year olds, forgetful, and not fastidiously tidy.

For me there has been something missing from this Pacific trip. We have had many moments which were romantic by any measure – moonlit nights sailing fast, our own sperm whale, the pods of spinner dolphins, gentle warm night breezes and, in the Marquesas, the loveliest of anchorages. But I have not been adequately engaged with any of them.

Perhaps it was when I was finally able to plot Tainui’s entire route from the Marquesas to Coffs Harbour on one computer screen that this became a straighforward delivery trip home to Australia. Perhaps it is just that I am no longer young, wide-eyed and romantically engaged. After nearly 40 years I recall vividly my first tropical landfall (Tonga) – how excited, overwhelmed I was with the entire experience. Now, that feeling is missing. Perhaps if Maxine were here things would be different, but I doubt it.

The issue is mine alone, and not obviously remediable. Jaded, bored, tired, over it or just ageing? I don’t know. Chris would say it’s time for your pills darl, and she’s probably right.

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