We left Isabela on 20th May, sailing along the island for a while, enjoying the scenery and wildlife, which included some beautiful rays. Then we headed off in a SW direction, towards Mangareva in the Gambier Is. We had decided to go there, rather than the more usual Marquesas, for a number of reasons. It was more off the beaten track and Trevor had never been there. Trevor was worried about the no-nos in the Marquesas – tiny insects that bite savagely. Having seen what happens to me when I’ve been bitten by blackflies and mosquitoes, I don’t think he could face the thought of an Annie ravaged by no-nos and needing sympathy! It was a difficult decision for me to make, having heard so much about the spectacular beauty of the Marquesas. We had a superb cruising guide for the Marquesas, but lacked even adequate charts for Mangareva. However, we did have Warwick Clay’s South Pacific Anchorages and could print out charts from my laptop via an old copy of C-map, so we lent our Marquesan cruising guide to friends and set off southwest.
Our luck had turned: we left the Enchanted Islands on the back of a fair wind that stayed with us until the day we arrived at Îles Gambier. Day after day, it drove us steadily along, with records days’ runs and over 2000 miles sailed in the first fortnight. Occasionally we would have to reef the mainsail; quite often Iron Bark wore her topsail, but our hopes of a record passage died with the wind in the final few days of our passage.