Back Home Again

My trip to Seattle was certainly full of highs and lows. Since this is supposed to be a sailing blog, I’ll save details for another forum. Here on Yohelah we’re happy to have our little family all back together again. Today we’ll move out to an island called Enemanet here in the Majuro atoll for some quiet time away from town. Apparently it’s a nice little anchorage with some buoys where the locals go to swim and picnic.

We definitely need some time in swimmable water to clean the bottom of our boat. We haven’t cleaned the bottom since Bora Bora, and the growth is about 3″ long all over the bottom. Good news is that it’s soft and comes off easily. We also need some opportunity to swim and get exercise. The atoll here is not a pleasant place to walk, and there are absolutely no hills to climb, so swimming it is.

The weather has dried up a bit and the rain is more intermittent than the constant downpour Rob experienced while I was off the boat. The northeast tradewinds have settled in and the seas outside the lagoon are pretty big, but in here we have no swell and a nice breeze to keep us cool.

We’re trying to decide what to do with the rest of our season. The atolls in the Marshalls are worth a visit and we likely could spend quite a bit of time exploring within the country. Tempting to both of us, though, is the fact that west of here are the Federated States of Micronesia, with some of the best diving in the Pacific. Chuuk and Palau are within a couple thousand miles west. Chuuk is where the allied forces found the Japanese fleet hiding at the end of WWII and there are 60 wrecks on the bottom of the lagoon. Palau is just a spectacular diving destination, which our book describes as having coral reefs among the most diverse and beautiful in the world. Hmmmm, makes you think about it.

The problem is, we both have a hard time thinking about sailing 2,000 miles in the wrong direction. But it doesn’t add 2,000 miles to the trip home because we have to go north from here anyway. Home is dead to weather for us, so we have to sail north until we get out of the northeast trades and into the westerlies (above about 35 degrees north). Starting from Palau would mean we would have to sail north to Japan and hope to find the westerlies before we hit land! What we would get, though, is into the Kuro Shio current which runs north in the western Pacific during the spring and summer months. It’s like the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, with warm water chugging along giving you a sometimes boisterous ride, but a free 2 or 3 knots added to your trip.

What to do next is a tough call. Right now we’re going to go out to Enemanet to relax and ponder.