Pukapuka

On Thursday the 13th around 17:00hrs we hoisted the anchor. The same day that we arrived in Nasau Island we left for Pukapuka.  We did not bother to set the sails because our destination is only 46nm away and we don’t want to arrive in the middle of the night. Pukapuka is called ‘danger island’ because of the Alai reef that stretches out 3nm to the west of Pukapuka’s Motu Kotawa.  This is why we round the island on the East, one safe nautical mile out of the coast.

During my night watch around 01:30hrs I spot lights on the horizon. They belong to fishermen catching flying fish inside the huge lagoon of Pukapuka. At 06:00 we arrive at our anchorage west of the passage where we are welcomed by a tender that helps us to tie our mooring line to the reef. In the early morning our super-cargo Stani went ashore to arrange for the consigned cargo to be off loaded. The handling of cargo took the best part of the day.

At night captain Evy ordered to hold ‘anchor watch’ because of the dangers involved in being so close to the coral reef that is waiting to rip open the ship’s hull. Any change in wind or current could mean severe damage to the hull or rudder and we were not gonna let this happen.

All was well in the morning and Stani decided to set up Kwai store on shore followed by basically all our local crew to act as policemen.  In the mean time we were waiting for the motor vessel ‘Lady Naomi’ to arrive and bring back hundreds of Pukapukans who had attended the Te Maiva Nui celebrations in Rarotonga. Around 13:00hrs Stani stepped back on board with her Kwai store merchandise while one hour later the ‘Lady Naomi’ appears on the horizon. Not long after her arrival the first passengers were put on shore and they soon started asking to buy our trade so Stani went ashore again to serve their wishes.

The ‘Lady’ had on board a camera crew under the direction of the enigmatic Gemma Cuberto Del Barrio for the purpose of shooting footage for the documentary “homecoming” about two women and their ties to Pukapuka: Amelia Borofsky and Johnny Frisbee. Amelia grew up as the pretty white daughter of anthropologists in a tropical community. Johnny  Frisbee is the daughter of the famous jockey and Pukapukan writer Papa Charlie, who happened to be on board of the vessel too. I hope their homecoming has been heartwarming.

At 19:15hrs we slipped the mooring line and set sail for a three day voyage to Manihiki. The bearing is East but we were lucky to find a South-Easterly wind that took us sailing through the first 24 hours. After that the wind shifted to the East and we had to drop the sails.

If all goes as planned we will arrive in Manihiki tomorrow around 07:00hrs, depending on weather and waves of course.

Bengineer