Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fanning - Arrival

7:30 AM we are anchored just inside the pass at Fanning. It was kind of an windy day. We arrived 8 miles off the north side of the atoll about 1 AM. The wind had just come up to 30 to 35 knots. We had been going slow most of the day in order to not arrive in the dark. The pass here is not necessarily small or dangerous, but I didn't remember it well enough to attempt in the dark, especially since our experience approaching Hawaii. (We came within 200 feet of hitting the reef, because of being tired
and making poor decisions.)

We couldn't slow the boat slower than 6 knots just by changing the sails. So we sailed on up to 4 miles from the atol doing 7.5 knots with just the staysail and doubled reefed main, then put down the sails and motored the 6 remaining miles, keeping 3 miles off, until we were on the SW side adjacent the pass, then turned directly for the pass. This was all in the total darkness, as the almost new moon had either set or was obscured by the clouds. Sunrise was to be at 6:33. We had motored so slowly
that we arrived 1/2 mile off at 6:15. The pass looked calm so I started toward it. I quickly noticed the current was going to be over 2.5 knots, os I chickened out and swang around. By then it was after 7, so we radioed for "Anyone awake on Fanning?". Our friends on Southern Cross, Robby and Loraine answered and gave us a visual report on the pass and confirmed the high tide time of 7:52. So we turned around again and headed for the pass. At 7:20, the current of a minor tide (0.6 ft change) was about
1.5 knots. We scooted through with plenty of visibility and anchored.

Customs and Immigration checked us in with a "$20 Australian anchorage fee". The will allow us a few days to get some money changed to pay it.

Then we took a nap! I had gotten only about 1 1/2 hours sleep and Trinda less than 2 during the whole afternoon and night.

The last NCL cruise to Fanning arrives tomorrow. We made it.

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