For three days we have been tied to the reef on the coast of Pukapuka Island, waiting for the wind to decrease or change direction. Our next port of call, Rakahanga, lies 270 nautical miles to the East, and it made no sense beating into the strong winds and heavy swells. There is a old Dutch saying goes: “a patient sailor always has fair winds”, so we try to make the best of the situation.
For two days we achieved great results with our Kwai store on shore. The amount of customers increased because of the arrival of the people from Nassau. They had money to spend, because last week was payday. Customers were happy to have us around so early in the voyage. Normally Pukapuka is our last destination on our route going South, and we usually arrive with an almost empty hold. Because of the logistical situation in the Kiribati islands, Brad decided to change the route through the Cook Islands. This turned out to be an excellent choice. Instead of forcing our way to Penrhyn on engine and sails, the wind permitted us to virtually use no engine at all on the 900 mile leg to Pukapuka.
On our last day in Pukapuka, I was sent ashore to analyze the situation of a brand new flatbed truck that we brought to the island on the Kwai last year. In the absence of the owner, the truck was sabotaged, and I was asked to find out if the engine could be salvaged. Wiring had been tampered with, and the fuel tank had been filled with water. I told the owner that the engine could be overhauled, with the right equipment and tools and therefore Brad advised him to ship the truck to Christmas Island on our vessel. So in the afternoon the truck was transported to the Kwai and stowed inside the hold.
Remember Tinu, ‘the last pig standing’, that was offered to the Kwai as a gift by the people of Nassau? She had been living on the main deck for a week, eating scraps from the galley, coconut meat and premium dog food. Apparently this was not to her liking because she started tearing the caulking from the seams between the deck planks. “That’s it, she has to go”, said Brad. So, after a grooming session by our Super Cargo Inna, the pig was brought ashore and slaughtered. At night we shared a great meal with happy pig on the menu.
All of a sudden the wind died last night, and Brad called me and two other crew members back from our stay on shore. At 2300 hrs we threw the mooring line and started steaming East. Weather permitting, we are expected to arrive in Manihiki on Tuesday the 2nd of August, around noon.