family cruising

WESTERN PACIFIC: TESTING THE CORAL…

Published on 01 december 2015 at 0h00

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If there’s one thing in particular (among many) which I loved about our trip round the world, it was the sense of accomplishment which can only come from having circumnavigated, that is to say getting back to your point of departure, having sailed through 360° of longitude. And definitely returning to the same port…! I am often asked what was the most dangerous part of our trip round the world in our catamaran, which saw us sailing as far as New Zealand, and then returning to Europe via South Africa? People suggest storms far out to sea, someone falling overboard, or even pirates. To the surprise of the audience, I always tell them that it was the powerful squalls we experienced at anchor, commonly in the latter half of the night, and most particularly in the western Pacific. It is these which left me with the worst memories. On at least three occasions, they could easily have set our sailboat on the shore, despite having been meticulous in our anchoring technique…

My little family crew and I, just us, in a far-off corner of the Ha’apai archipelago avoided one of the perils of the sea. A place I had already named the “Dangerous Archipelago”. What memories…

Islands, islets, reefs just awash. Lots of reefs. Current, often strong. And breakers, ever present on the horizon, wherever you look. Inaccurate charts, but that’s not really the problem, as navigation is mostly done visually round here. We’re not really talking about experience here - after all, ...

This article appeared in issue 145. To read the article in full, buy this issue individually

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