The return journey was supposed to be much easier and faster. It still took us three days to accomplish. The cyclone season is approaching and the trade winds have lost a lot of their strength. We left on a Friday night after having been sent off by our Tikopian friends with a good smear of turmeric on the bare parts of our bodies that continues to stain our clothing in bright yellow and will do so for a good time to come.
Until Saturday afternoon Aluna was happily riding a gentle Northeasterly and Vanikoro Island had appeared to our South and was making its way slowly past our beams. By Sunday morning the winds had almost disappeared. Big dark grey squalls were forming all around us and they did bring intermittent winds and torrential rain showers. The going was slow and constant attention was needed to trim and adjust the sails. We crept along, helped a little by the ocean current, and Utupua Island with its rounded peaks dove in and out of the curtains of rain, slowly inching its way to our aft. By Sunday evening a faint outline of Nendo Island showed before the orange of dawn started to suck away the daylight. For a change the winds had veered to the South, light but quite useable throughout the night with only a few intrusions to my slumbering to get up groggily and fiddle with the sails.
Monday morning saw us rounding the island’s northeastern tip. The weather still was squally with gray blobs of condensation draping over the green mountain crests. Aluna’s big main sail changed sides every now and then in response to the fickle winds around us. By sundown we dropped our anchor once again at the tranquil spot at the bottom of Graciosa Bay. Time to have a short rest and focus on the future!
A series of posts about our very special times with the Tikopia and their singular island society will now follow before revealing our plans for the next couple months to come.