It is 24 miles from Rakahanga to Tauhunu village Manihiki. Course SXE. wind 20kt, NXE. We laid at anchorat Raka with the surf all around us until 0400. We weighed and got under sail immediately. We set everything except the top-sail and made an effortless 7 kts all the way to Tauhunu. Conditions were calm and we discharged our cargo to the local lighter who then took it through the shallow pass to the concrete dock where a front end loader trundled it up to the beach and it’s rightful owners. Kwai store items made it ashore the same way and a booming sale was attended. After a not so restful night at anchor ( we had to shift once because of a squall). We got underway about 07:30 to steam the half hour north to Tukao village. Tukao reef has a spot about the size of a putting green where a hook may be dropped. To-day we are lucky. We anchored securely and there was a steady breeze to hold us off the reef. It was so pleasant, we arranged an unscheduled Kwai store event. Around 1400 we set sail for the small but mighty island of Nassau, 250 miles to the west. We sailed most of the way with the wind nearly aft.

April 08 10:00 we arrived off the pass at Nassau island. Next to the pass, high on the reef is the wreck of Taio Shipping Mauna Nui. She was on her first cargo run to Nassau island when she ran on the reef. There is another wreck too, high in the bush. This vessel came too close to the north side in the night and ran ashore. She sits plumb and level but has no propellor. The propellor, as i write is pushing the Kwai along 6.5kts at 1450 revolutions per minute. We quickly discharged our cargo and fill Kwai store orders. There are a record breaking 78 people on the island to-day. 38 more than i have seen in about 10 previous trips over the years. We set sail about 1900 and enjoyed a lazy downwind sail North to Puka Puka, Danger islands as the British called them because of many long reefs an a history of shipwrecks or as author Dean Frisbee calls them, The islands of Desire.

We arrive 0:800 to await the stevedores and barge. They arrive and we are almost finished discharging. when we get a request from the Rarotonga department of health to take two Nurses back to Nassau to attend to a teenage man who suddenly had seizures, paralysis and lost conciousness. We agreed and were on our way back to Nassau at 1700. We arrived at 03:30. At 07:30 we departed with The patient, Two Nurses, the father and brother of the patient. Back in Puka Puka at 15:30 the young man was transferred to the cargo barge and airlifted to Rarotonga the next day. He was then transferred to Auckland New Zealand as it was a very serious case. We set up shop on the beach the next day and had the best store day of the voyage. The next day was inventory day. A friend and i took the opportunity to go in search of live coral in the Lagoon. Over ninety percent of it is dead because of rising sea temperatures. Some of the blue and purple corals have survived. Clouds of tiny fish of all shapes and colors accompany us on our tour. Intricate and fragile, the bleached coral is still beautiful and home to many species but we can only imagine what it was like before. On the way back to the vessel our motor sputtered to a stop, not to be revived in the middle of the white water of the pass. We paddled our way to the Kwai’s floating mooring line and hand over handed to the vessel.

We got underway shortly after. April 12, 17:30. Our destination is CXI. 925 miles to the NE. 7 days at sea.

Kim Smith
Master