I remember a few days ago, we said that sailing under the moon with a light breeze was hard to beat.
The day after that, as we sailed along the coast of New Britain we saw an amazing array of marine life.
First an encounter with a big group of false orcas, about 30 that were chasing big fish. They got close to us, swimming underneath the two hulls and checking us out. We had some fun and it seemed like they had it as well.
We then saw a big sailfish on the surface and chased it around for a while. It was checking something out and would not swim down. There were Mahi Mahi jumping out of the water around us (we managed to get one!).
Later we saw a lonely orca female. She was breaching not far from us and we amused ourselves looking at that beautiful show.
So we kept sailing northwest bound, along the coast of New Ireland. Some squalls hit us once in a while.
But the day after that, when we were only 80 miles away from our destination, Kavieng,which we hoped to reach within 15 hours and after 5 days at sea we got hit by a squall. And what a squall!!
All of a sudden the wind increased to 30 and then to 40 knots. It was howling and the rain was so hard. We had never seen raining like that. The visibility was down to about 20 meters ahead of us, nothing. And the sea increased quickly, forming big waves that started to break. Initially we thought it would be the usual squall and we would have to cope with it for about half an hour but after 2.5 hours battling with the winds and ever increasing waves, we decided to turn around and run with it, that is to sail back the miles we had been tacking up with so much effort over the last 24 hours.
We looked for refuge in Lihir, a small island that is being mined for gold. We got there after sunset and had to work our way up to an anchorage with no light and no details.
In the depth of a bay we found a Papuan fishing boat anchored and we got close to them. About 15 men were on it and we asked it they thought that was a good place, and specially a safe place.
They were very nice to us and it didn’t take long for us to crush in our beds, tired from the last 5 days sailing.
We eventually made it to Kavieng 2 days later. It has taken us 7 days and 670 Nm to get to Papua. People are incredibly nice and the waterfront and town just spurs with life. All good on board, even the sleep!