We stayed in South Fakarava for ten days, lingering to wait out 35 knot reinforced trade winds that swept through the region. We had been motu hopping for over four weeks, and it was time to re-enter civilization, grocery shopping and a little internet access being eagerly anticipated events at this point. Our visas also began to tick; we only get 90 days in French Polynesia, so we didn't have the luxury of getting entirely lost on the Tuamotus. With these things in mind, we decided to make way for the Society Islands despite there being only ten to 15 knots of wind in the forecast.
In the past the winds we've seen have been higher than the predictions. That has not been the case this time around. We've spent the passage in nearly a dead calm—five knots of wind and prairie-like seas. Our 54 horse power engine has had more exercise in the last 40 hours than it has had since we crossed the equator.
We wouldn't normally be so cavalier with our diesel consumption, but we are headed to the big city where we can refuel, and we didn't want to spend any of our limited number of days drifting at sea. So we've endured the calms, taking plenty of hot showers in the stable boat, sleeping in the forward cabin, enjoying delicious sea-spray-free picnic lunches in the cockpit, mapping out our time in Tahiti.
Do I betray myself as a sailor to admit these conditions are entirely to my liking?
We finally saw 15 knots of wind Wednesday evening, and now, at 3:15 am, we are flying the jib and mainsail under a waning gibbous moon as we finish the last 70 miles of our passage to Papeete.