Search This Blog

Badger

Badger
In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
Under full sail

Fantail

Fantail
At Russell Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta

Annie Hill

Annie Hill
Photo credit: Alvah Simon

Blue Water Medal

Blue Water Medal
Blue Water Medal

Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
  • Voyaging on a Small Income

About Me

05 March, 2007




Trevor had warned me that the anchorage is as bad as any in the Tuamotus and just before we left Bora Bora, we’d heard of yachts having a dreadful time there, breaking anchor chain, losing anchors, steaming round all night, unable to re-anchor among the coral heads. But Suvarov to me, has near-mythic status, not in the least from a book called An Island to Oneself. This book tells the tale of a man who became so fascinated with Suvarov that he went there to live on his own for many years. What he doesn’t mention in the book, is that during the years that he lived on Rarotonga, he married a wife and had children. But he left all that behind him for the sake of Suvarov. He went back to Raro a couple of times, but each time the lure of the island grew too strong. His final visit was his longest and by this time he had become very skilled at living with all the problems that he encountered. Visiting yachts were on the increase and these brought him news, books and undoubtedly some food and the odd bottle of rum, but he seems to have been entirely contented on his own. He finally left the island only months before he died and is buried there. The Cook Islanders view him with both reverence and aversion: reverence for his ability to live in ‘the old ways’, aversion because he abandoned his family. He was also a friend of the mystical French sailor, Bernard Moitessier, who also loved Suvarov.
We left Bora Bora in a brisk F5, which lasted for the first couple of days, giving us 308 miles. By noon on the 23rd, we had the topsail drawing and a red-footed booby joined us for the night. Later that evening, the strop for the peak halliard chafed through leaving the gaff supported only by the topsail sheet. Trevor took down main and topsail leaving us to continue under boomed out staysail. The booby watched the whole show, quite unperturbed. In the morning, Trevor donned his climbing harness and using a pair of rock climbers’ ascenders (a far superior system to a bosun’s chair), went aloft to fit a new strop. The following night the wind went round in circles, eventually settling down to F2/3 from ESE; our day’s run was only 63 miles. We sighted Suvarov on 27 August, but the wind had started to increase and Trevor was dubious about going in to the anchorage. It was too late to get in that day, so we hove to for the night to see what the morning would bring.
At daybreak, with F5 from S of E, we decided to bear away for Samoa, but an hour later, the sky cleared and the wind was obviously decreasing, so we changed our minds. Early that afternoon, we sailed in through the pass and after having motored round for about 20 minutes, finally found a spot to anchor among the 18 other yachts there. Later, we shifted berth, laid one anchor from the bow in about 6 ft of water, and then motored astern for several boat lengths, dropping a stern anchor in about 60 ft. We pulled both cables tight, so that they couldn’t get caught on coral and stayed comfortably moored in one spot.

No comments: