After waiting for an early morning squall to pass through, we headed toward the pass through the reef. Looking for a push to get away from the coast and a full charge to our house battery bank before starting the passage, we motoredsailed away from our last of 24 tropical islands visited this year. Gray skies were cracked by widening spots of blue, as the roll of ocean swells took over from the choppy fetch in the lagoon.
We have a series of reminders that this passage closes a chapter for us on Totem, the end of a glorious season crossing the tropical Pacific. Already it feels distinctly different. The breeze is cool; I can’t remember the last time I wanted to wear pants, but they’re suddenly essential. Overhead, a contrail cuts through the clearing sky. It stands out starkly, and we all stare at this once familiar sight that has become entirely unfamiliar to us.
We’re a little anxious about the weather, but not enough to wait in New Caledonia any longer. From one update to the next, forecasts have shifted meaningfully several times in the last few days. With our HF radio unable to transmit, and no sat phone for backup, our options for weather updates are limited. But all signs point towards departure. Degradation could mean discomfort, but not danger.
We think our waiting has paid off, but know we’ll be skirting a trough of intensified wind between two weather systems that would be nice to keep tabs on. For the first time in many months, I have dosed with Meclazine before departure. I’m grateful for it now: the swells are nearly on our beam and Totem rolls sharply to starboard, but we’re feeling fine. My world is full with the joyful feeling of wind in my hair as we sail for Australia.
On our way!