Tuesday 7/23/2013 19:00 Posting by Dennis:
16 30.662 S 151 46.260 W
We have left the island of Huahine with a very strong wind from the east, blowing around 30 knots. This wind has been blowing ever since Pat has left. It makes doing anything pretty difficult. You can’t go very far in the dingy because you get totally soaked and the snorkeling is not great because of the poor visibility due to the stirred up water. Anyway we left Huahine and sailed in pretty big seas with a very stiff breeze. The seas were a little over fifteen feet but at least they were not as confused as they have been. We were running with a triple reefed main and the yankee totally rolled out. The rum line put us running tight downwind so we were gybing back and forth across it. The speeds we were doing were really great though as we surfed down the face of the waves. After we had been out a couple of hours Barb noticed sea birds circling above our trolling lures. We are a little cautious with the sea birds as we have already had the experience of catching and releasing a sea bird. When she went back to pull on the lines she realized that we had a fish on. She started pulling the line in but this time the fish was really fighting back. It would jump out of the water to try and shake the hook. She was yelling at me to hurry because she thought we could lose it. My job while she plays the fish is to empty the cockpit, get the washdown pump set up, hose down everything so the blood and fish slime does not stick to everything and get the gaff ready. Barb managed to pull the fish close to the boat and as the boat rolled and surfed down waves going seven knots or more, I managed to gaff the fish and heaved it in the cockpit. It was a beautiful 20 lb Dorado flopping all over the boat. It took me over an hour to fillet the fish and clean up the boat. It is tough filleting a fish, bent over with your head between your knees, fish at your feet sliding this way and that while you roll around in the waves. Every once in a while, when a particular large wave rolls the boat, you have to catch yourself so you don’t crash head first into the coaming on the other side of the cockpit. But I managed to get the job done and we had fish to eat for the next few days for breakfast, lunch and dinner (starting with a fine meal of Poisson Cruz). The rest of the sail was pretty uneventful, just fantastic speeds as we rounded the north end of Bora Bora on a beam reach. The island looks so majestic with the mountain rising out of the water in the distance. It is a very impressive sight to say the least.
Sunday 7/21/2013 19:00 16 46.877 S 151 01.738 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:16%2046.877S%20151%2001.738W Huahine Posting by Dennis: It was a very rough and long 120 mile ride to get here. When we left Papeete we had the full main up and the yankee out. We had ten to fifteen knots of wind and swells at ten feet and very steep. But then the wind died so we were left motoring in those ten foot swells, not fun at all. After we rounded the island of Moorea the wind piped up and soon we had winds of thirty to forty knots with seas over fifteen feet. The seas were very steep and very confused with waves coming at us from thirty degrees off both sides of the stern with wind roaring straight up the stern. By now I had the main triple reefed and the yankee poled out and we were doing over eight knots surfing down the waves. At times waves would slap the boat and douse us with water. It was kind of spooky in the middle of the night as the wind roared and the waves broke around us. Sleeping was not good to say the least. As we closed in on Huahine we could see the huge surf breaking on the reef and I knew we could not use the pass we had hoped because the waves were rolling in the pass and breaking on the shallow rise. We ended up going through a pass on the North West end of island which was not too bad. Once through we motored back southward behind the reef. I never get tired of watching the huge surf breaking onto the reef, it is just amazing. Once we found a place to anchor and got settled in, I fell asleep almost immediately and slept for the entire night. Today we have been hanging out in the boat working on the blog and cleaning as the wind howls outside and the rain squalls pass by. I just wanted to say I miss you all and think of you often. It is midsummer back in Minnesota, on second thought you can keep the Mosquitoes.
Friday 7/19/2013 Papeete Posting by Dennis: Well here we are back in the mooring field in Papeete. Once we got here we see that a boat that was anchored next to us when we were here before is now lying on its side on the beach. It happened at the same time we were helping the catamaran on Moorea. On Sunday we decided to rent a car, after waiting an hour for the bus we gave up and I walked to the airport and got one. It was brand spanking new with only 174 km on it. The guy was very nervous about letting me have it and almost begged me not to damage it. What could happen, I am always so gentle with rental cars, just ask Mr. Backus. After I picked up Barb and Pat we headed to the Rouladde down by the main square in Papeete. A Rouladde is a place were a bunch of food trucks have restaurants set up and they cook the food outside while you watch. The food is really good and way cheaper then at a regular restaurant. After eating we walked the docks and looked at a couple of the mega yachts. They are really incredible and money is no object. The next day we toured around the island. There is basically only one road and it goes around the island. We tried to take a couple of the roads that went inland but they only went in only a few blocks. The one that did go up to a lookout was pretty long, maybe five miles. The view was great, you could look out over the reef and far out onto the ocean. On the way down from the lookout I took a couple of roads that went off to the side they would start out like a narrow road but would soon get smaller and smaller until I was driving down a path with bush rubbing down each side and then it would just end. Soon it was time for Pat to leave. We dropped him off after another meal at the Rouladde and at 11:59 pm he was gone. It was sad to see him go. The entire next day felt kind of odd without him here. He goes back to his life in Minnesota and we continue the adventure without him. On the 18th Barbs dad had his surgery and it all went well so Barb could breath again. So we began loading the boat for the next leg of our journey.
Saturday 7/13/2013 17 34.791 S 149 51.949 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2034.791S%20149%2051.949W 17 35.794 S 149 48.406 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2035.794S%20149%2048.406W Moorea Posting by Dennis: Over the next week or so we anchored in a couple of incredible spots. While there we hung out on the boat, ate great meals, swam among the coral reefs, hiked around the villages and just enjoyed having Pat with us. Going through the passes to get to these places can be very nerving to say the least. It feels a little strange going through with eight foot high surf tumbling less than a boat length off each side. Once inside the reef you have to try to find a little patch of sand that gives you enough room to swing without hitting any coral and is not too deep. And even after you find a little spit of sand that you can anchor on, you feel very exposed with the coral all around and the wind comes roaring over the reef with nothing to stop it. I am sure that if you look on Google you will see what I am talking about!
Sunday 7/7/2013 14:00 17 30.871 S 149 51.197 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2030.871S%20149%2051.197W Baie d’Opunohu, Moorea Posting by Dennis: Motored the few miles from Cook Bay to Baie d’Opunohu. We wanted to anchor just behind the reef but there were just too many boats there for me. Other boats came and anchored there but I just don’t feel comfortable especially after what we witnessed a couple of days earlier. So we ended up in the bottom of the bay. It turned out to be a great spot! There was only one other boat there and we hardly ever saw them. On Saturday morning Barb went on a hunt for internet so she could email her family and check on how her dad was doing. She found out he was scheduled for surgery on the 18th. Barb was trying to decide whether she should fly home to be with him. He flatly told her not to come, but she was torn. After Barb returned to the boat we all dinged into shore and hiked around. We hiked passed a shrimp farm and wandered off on a little dirt road which meandered through a couple of vegetables farms. They were growing pineapples, limes, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and other small vegetables. I picked a couple of limes which were great in Pat’s and Barb’s gin and tonics. On the way back we stopped to watch some guys playing botchy ball, which seems to be a big pace time here. Today Pat and I dropped Barb off so she could check her emails and we went off exploring with the dingy. We found a small boat that had been hauled off the reef and was pretty beat up. I am sure it will not float again. It is kind of sobering, I am only one mistake from ending up just like them. People say I am anal about things but when I see boats like this I wonder if I am anal enough.
Friday 7/5/2013 18:00 17 28.868 S 149 48.816 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2028.868S%20149%2048.816W Passe de Teruaupu, Moorea Posting by Dennis: We left Papeete on 7/2/2013 and sailed to Cook Bay on the island of Moorea, actually we motored most of the way. Once we made it through the reef we anchored just inside the reef in about ten feet of water. After anchoring we all jumped in the water and snorkeled around to look at the coral. The coral here looks pretty sick and there are not a lot of fish to look at. In the Tuamotu atolls if we threw any scraps of food over the side, the fish came swarming to eat it up. Here in Moorea if you did that nothing came at all. The coral seems to lack all the bright colors we had gotten used to seeing. After a couple of hours of swimming around we got out of the water and had a quick dinner and were in bed and asleep by 7:30. The next day we set off in the dingy heading deeper into Cook Bay, as we got farther into the bay the rain started to come down. Soon we were all totally soaked and we were just laughing at the waves and spray that was coming over the bow. Once we got to the base of the bay we brought the dingy to shore and walked down the highway to the store where we replenished our coffee supply and got a couple of baguettes. We walked back to the dingy in the rain and started heading back toward the boat, by now the wind had picked up and we were getting pretty cold. As we rounded the point and were about to climb on the boat Barb said that a guy on a neighboring catamaran was waving us over. So we went over to investigate. A very scared French kid of about twenty came scurrying to the ladder and asked what to do because the anchor was dragging. Apparently the “captain” of the chartered catamaran had left to go to shore and left this poor guy alone on the boat; he had no idea how to do anything on the boat. By now the wind was really howling, with gusts reaching close to fifty knots and the anchor would drag until it would reach the next coral head. I dove down and checked to see if he was hitting any coral, which he was not at that moment. I suggested to him that if he had another anchor we could then run out with the dingy and I would place it somewhere where it would hold by diving down. Just when we were about to put the anchor in the dingy the main anchor let go and the boat started flying backwards. Pat and I both started yelling that he needed to start the engines and slow the boat down or else the anchor would never catch at all. He did, but now the center board was hitting on a coral head as it swung past in a big arc. I climbed onto the boat and asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to pull the anchor and motor out of the coral. So I went forward to run the windlass and pull the anchor, as the anchor came up we began to inch forward against the wind. I went back to the helm and told him he needed to give it more power but he pointed to a little label that the charter company had put on the consul “Do not exceed 2000 RPM”. I yelled at him that if he didn’t give it more he was going to end up on the reef. He gave it full throttle. We got him up to the edge of the channel and I put the anchor down. Then all of the sudden he did not like that spot and insisted that he had to move. So I started to pull the anchor up again then a huge gust hit and swung the bow hard to the starboard jamming the chain in the feeder for the windlass. I climbed out over the front, against Barbs advisement, and kicked the chain feeder which un-jammed the chain. I just got the anchor up when I looked to the starboard and we were drifting toward a couple of boats at anchor. I ran to the helm and asked what was happening and he said that the one engine had quit. I told him to put the other engine in reverse so he slammed it from full throttle to full throttle in reverse. It did not kill it but I am sure glad it was not my boat. It was enough to spin the boat so that we flew right between the two anchored boats with only feet on each side. I then yelled at him to get the other engine going which finally started. He started motoring back out of the coral ridden area. I could hear the center boards scraping on the coral. He did not seem to have enough power to keep the bow into the wind and we were getting farther and farther into the coral field and closer to the reef. So I suggest he just anchor and wait for the captain to return. So we put out the anchor and it caught. We told him to throw out the extra anchor and just wait it out. The kid was scared to death. I am sure it will be his last sailing experience. We had to leave him there as we needed to get back to our own boat that was heeling badly in the 50 knot winds. Once the captain returned they sent out a mayday and a couple locals went out after the wind eased and drove it out of the coral field. We fared out ok. The boat got tossed around a bit but the anchor held. The dingy did flip over as soon as we climbed into the boat but Pat, Barb and I managed to quickly flip it back. Pat and I got to spend the afternoon taking the outboard apart and cleaning the salt water out of it. That night in the middle of the night, when the wind piped up again, I ended up climbing into the dingy with a bucket and filling it half full of water so it would not flip again. All in a day in paradise.
Monday 7/01/2013 20:00 17 34.727 S 149 37.341 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2034.727S%20149%2037.341W Papeete, Tahiti Posting by Barb: HAPPY CANADA DAY! Livia and Carol from SV Estrellita ceremoniously dingied around our boat proudly flying the Canadian flag. Yay! It was a beautiful sail to Rotoava on the west end of Fakarava. We stayed there for three nights waiting for the wind to die down so we could snorkel. It blew twenty knots every day while we were there. As we could not snorkel we explored the little town, ate at the local restaurant and did some shopping for supplies, specifically eggs (there seems to be a shortage of eggs in French Polynesia) and Baguettes. We left Fakarava on June 21st, the 100th day since we left Chile, and headed to Tahiti. We anticipated it to be a 3.5 day sail. The first day was a great sail despite the fact that we started it with catching a bird on our fishing line we were trolling. Dennis had to reel it in and use the pliers to free it. It flew away and 2 minutes later it tried to unsuccessfully dive for our lure again. On the second day the wind just disappeared and it was a motor right to Tahiti, 36 hours. On the third night, the moon was out in full color and the ocean was dead calm. I have never experienced such tranquility in the ocean. There was not a ripple to be seen for as far as the eyes could see. It was eerie and unnatural. The ocean is meant to have waves, ripples and rollers. We motored into Papeete and we were anchored by three in the afternoon. I sat in the cockpit for a while and looked out at the city pinching myself with the realization that we had made it to Tahiti. We quickly got the dingy inflated and attached the outboard motor and headed into town. We found the grocery store, just a 5 minute walk, Carrefour, and what a store it was! Dennis and I walked around in awe. We could find anything and everything we needed and have craved for since we left, although at a hefty price. We came back to the boat with everything we needed to make a fully loaded green salad and a couple of fresh pork chops to BBQ. After two days anchored at close proximity (10 feet) to every boat around us, we decided to rent a mooring ball. It felt a little safer plus we got the keys to the showers, cold showers but plenty of water! For the remainder of the 5 days before Pat’s arrival we explored the city, did a little shopping, bought a spear gun, socialized with a few cruisers, cleaned and did maintenance on the boat, washed clothes using $10 a load washers and just enjoyed hanging out. At 3:00 am on Sunday morning, June 30th we left the boat and headed to the airport to pick up Pat. We planned on getting the security guard to call for a taxi but he did not know any taxi phone numbers and neither did we so we hoofed it to the airport. It was a nice, 40 minute fast walk on well lit streets, with the smell of freshly baked baguettes everywhere. There must be a bakery on every corner. We arrived at the airport and waited for Pat’s flight. It arrived a little late and Pat was the last passenger to walk out of the arrival door. Dennis was getting nervous and thought maybe Pat was having trouble with customs due to all the boat parts he was carrying for us. I greeted Pat with a beautiful flower lei and the traditional Tahiti greeting of kisses on both cheeks. Pat was happy as he could now tell people he got leid in the airport! Dennis exclaimed “It took me 3 years to get here but it only took you 16 hours”. As you can tell we will be having lots of fun together. We are so excited to have Pat here. We decided to stay in Tahiti for one more day and celebrate Canada day at the Marina for ‘Happy Hour’ with our great friends Rick and Kyra from SV Nyon who just arrived and with Carol and Livia from SV Estrellita. On Tuesday July 2nd we will leave Tahiti and head for the sister island of Moorea. We are so looking forward to doing a little sailing and spending a few weeks with Pat!
Monday 6/17/2013 14:00 16 31.403 S 145 28.408 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:16%2031.403S%20145%2028.408W Fakarava, Tuamotu Posting by Dennis: We have been here now for six days. The first couple of days we spent exploring the little atolls that are just off the bow. We had a fire on the beach one night with Dreamtime and Estrellita. The next day while I was trying to repairing the grill, which I failed at, Barb added to the graffiti and added the signature ‘Land Fall 2013’ on the floating bar that was there along with other tables and benches that the cruisers have built around the fire ring. At night by flashlight we searched for a glimpse of the elusive coconut crab that lives on the atolls, with no success. I went and tried spear fishing. I think that I am going to try to buy one when I am in Tahiti. It is a lot of fun and gives you a purpose to go out and explore the coral heads that litter the lagoons of the atolls. Some of the coral heads that we have gone out to are four or five miles from the boat so one needs a good dingy and motor. You use a lot of gas running around. The last couple of days we have been snorkeling the pass which is the channel that you go into and out of the atolls. The snorkeling is incredible; you just fly along over the coral that is alive with all kinds of fish. You get used to having all the sharks around. A lot of the time you can see four or five at a time. They said that a couple of weeks ago a six meter hammerhead was seen in the pass with a five foot gray shark in its mouth. I would love to see that. The reef sharks we see are only five or six feet max and are pretty skittish if you try to swim much closer than three or four feet from them. It is like fling through an aquarium, with the unbelievably brightly colored fish. We are trying to take some under water pictures without much success, they just will not hold still long enough. So don’t look for many focused pictures to show up on the blog. Last night we were watching a movie and all of the sudden we hear a hard clunking noise, so we went on deck to check the anchor and the chain was tight straight down, which meant that it was snagged on a coral head. So at eleven o’clock I put on my snorkel gear and went over the side. With the dive light I could see that it was wrapped around the coral head so I had Barb start the engine and let out some more chain while I dove to the bottom and untangled the chain from the coral head. It took me several dives before I was able to get it all unhooked. Then I had Barb back down on the anchor and reset it. I turned off my light and it was really neat snorkeling around by moon light. It gives the coral heads dark eerie feel against the white coral bottom. Shortly I was back on the boat, rinsed off and we resumed with the movie. I love movie night, we have popcorn and lay and watch the laptop. Tonight we had another bonfire on the beach. There were probably eight dingys anchored just off the shore, you never run your dingy onto shore, the coral eats them. It was a great time chatting with people from all over the world and all heading to new and exciting places. Everyone is sharing information about different islands and were to go and were not to go. I find it very enlightening and I learn so much. Tomorrow we will be leaving this anchorage and heading to the West end of the atoll, it should be an easy forty mile sail.
Monday 6/06/13 16 39.422 S 143 23.590 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:16%2039.422S%20143%2023.590W Makemo, Tuamotu Posting by Barb: It was a fast sail from Raroia to Makemo. We even had to reef the main to slow down the boat. We arrived at the channel entrance at 4 am so we still had to heave to for 2 hours before we could motor through the pass. This pass was a ‘piece of cake’ now that we have the right time for the low and high tides. We headed into the small town and noticed that Rick and Kira on their boat Nyon were still there so we anchored nearby. It was a rolly anchorage and at times the boat would rock so much that the bow would take a dive and disappear into the water. We only stayed there a day and night to explore the town and pick up supplies. A couple of Baguettes, 2 small packs of Velveeta cheese (to use for Dennis famous bean dip) and a six pack of beer came to $30. We will not be stocking up the boat much in the Tuamotos. The next day we followed Nyon, navigating carefully through the hundreds of coral heads hiding inches below the water surface. It took us 3 hours to go 10 miles. We arrived safely at our new anchorage and we were greeted by white coral beaches, palm trees and teal, blue water. We were the only 2 boats there. Sitting on the boat and taking in the surroundings I realized that this is what I would picture as the dream vacation place! Hopefully the pictures we took will bring out the beauty of this anchorage. The flat dry, atolls are so different from the Marquesa islands. As soon as we were anchored, the four of us headed out to explore the islands. Dennis wandered off, as he usually does, and joined us back at the dingy to inform us that he had bumped into a local man who, in French, had invited us for dinner at 6. Rick, Kira and I were skeptical of the plan as we weren’t sure Dennis had interpreted the message correctly. Dennis insisted that we go. So at 6 we took the dingy to shore. We were greeted by the local, Otto, and his 2 friends. We were escorted to their home which was a 12X14 hut on posts and corrugated metal for a roof just a dirt floor. They sat us down and served us coconut milk straight out of the coconut. They were drinking some kind of alcohol drink straight out of a large plastic jug. It was obvious that they were getting drunk very quickly. Despite that, they served us a fine meal of Parrot fish served as Sashimi (raw fish), Poisson Cruz and deep fried. To go with that they had a huge pot of cooked rice. They stood over us and made sure we had everything we needed. With each sip of coconut milk they would come running with a new coconut for re-fills. Otto actually just tore the top of the coconut with his teeth and handed the coconut drink over to us. We asked that they sit with us and eat but they told us it was their custom to eat after the guests were gone. Kira could speak great French so she had to do the conversing and translate for us. It was an interesting night and of course we had to thank Dennis for that adventure. Otto invited Rick and Dennis to come back the next night to go Prawn fishing but that never happened as for the most part the ‘local boys’ seemed to be intoxicated every night. We gave them homemade banana bread as gifts to thank them for the fine welcome they showed us! We went snorkeling for the first time since we landed in the South Pacific. There were lots of coral heads to explore and an abundance of reef fish. Getting to the coral heads meant going in the dingy and heading out miles away from the shore and the boats. We would find a reef, jump in, snorkel for a while, get back on the boat and search for the next reef. I will have to get a ‘Coral Reef fish’ book so that I can start identifying all the fish that I see. There were of course a few 3-4 feet sharks swimming about. They were more interested in Rick and his spear fishing. Even though the sharks didn’t seem to be interested in me, they still made me nervous. Rick managed to spear about 5 fish in total. Dennis seemed to be very interested in the spear fishing so that may be a new toy for him. On our last night we were invited to have a fine meal of fish and chips on Nyon. It’s been so long since I have had ‘Fish-n-chips’, although it was the healthier version of Newfoundland’s Ches’s battered fish and deep fried French fries. After 4 days of hanging out together and spending the days doing boat chores and snorkeling, we said our goodbyes to Rick and Kira and motored out of the atoll on to our next island destination, Fakareva, a 20 hour sail.
Monday 5/30/13 16 02.419 S 142 28.284 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:16%2002.419S%20142%2028.284W Raroia, Tuamotu Posting by Dennis: We left the Baie D’ Hakahau on the May 30 and headed for Raroia in the Tuamotu atolls. The sail was very fast and we covered the 450 miles in just over three days. We caught another tuna the first day out, which Barb was not that excited about because she was a little sea sick. It was the first time she was sick since we left Chile 78 days before. I admit it was pretty rolly having twenty plus knots on the beam will do that. Having the wind on the beam gives you amazing speed, and at night it seems even more so. The first night the seas were at least twenty feet and were often breaking into the cockpit. The wind howled around in the rigging which just adds to the total sensation. We had the yankee out and the main triple reefed, it was a great ride! The tuna we caught just before dark and we made poisson cruz for dinner. The next day we had fried fish sandwiches and then the rest we made tuna salad. Fresh tuna makes the best tuna salad sandwiches. It tastes nothing at all like canned tuna. When we got to Raroia we plunged through the out flowing current, because Dennis didn’t figure the tides correctly, I had the plotter set to UTC time. Once inside the pass we motored along the islands and anchored in front of the village. The spot was very tight with coral heads all around us. We even scraped up against one as we circled around. The anchorage turned out to be terrible because the wind blew across the entire atoll and the boat bounced around badly. We blew up the dingy and got the motor on it, in spite of the back of the boat leaping up and down three feet. Then it was off to shore to explore. We had hardly gotten off the pier when we were approached by a woman who greeted us warmly and insisted that we come to her house for dinner. We were both taken back and basically just said ok. Barb was pretty nervous about it and very suspicious. She also told us about the town. From where we were standing we could see the entire town, one block south was the airport, one block north was the pearl farm, one block west was the stone church, and the pier was behind us to east. The airport was kind of funny because it had a huge parking lot and with only a half dozen cars on the island, it seemed pretty ridiculous. It is surprising just how many pickups there are on these little atolls, from what we can see it is more of a status symbol. There is nowhere to drive to. Anyway, after walking every street in town we headed back to the boat. After a couple of hours of rocking and rolling it was time to head back into the village for dinner. Barb was coming up with every excuse she could, she did not like going to someone’s house she did not even know. But off we went pounding the dingy through the waves. When we reached the pier Tatiana was waiting for us. Let’s just say that Tatiana has a gift of gab. So we learned all about her family and all the things that went on around the town. She cooked us a wonderful meal of steamed jack fish and some fresh poisson cruz, which is raw fish in lime juice and olive oil. By the time we finished that it was ten o’clock and we needed to head back to the boat. So we promised to stop by in the morning and look at some black pearls she had to sell. The next day was so windy that we ended up not leaving the boat at all. We just hung out, read, and did a few little projects around the boat. The next day the wind was not all that much better but we were tired of sitting on the boat and we were ready to leave. So we took the dingy to shore wearing our rain coats, not that they did that much good, walked over to Tatiana’s house were as soon as she saw us we had to have lunch. After lunch we watched her daughter do her traditional song and dance and then Barb was ushered into the other room to look at all the pearls. After her big purchase we said our goodbyes and headed back to the boat. The wind was still blowing twenty knots but we decided to leave, it is always blowing twenty knots. As soon as we started pulling the anchor up the wind went to thirty and it started to rain. By this time we were committed to leaving and the wind picked up even more. Barb ran the windlass and I was at the wheel. I did not realize that the anchor was free and the wind grabbed the bow and pushed it hard to the port. I yelled to barb asking if we were free and she nodded her head yes, so I gave it full throttle and spun the wheel hard over then Barb yelled that there was a coral head just ahead so I threw it into reverse. As soon as I did the wind grabbed the bow and spun it down wind. I tried to back us out of this little hole we were in but couldn’t back against the wind, we were slowly heading for the beach. So I put it into forward and slammed the throttle wide open and spun the wheel hard over and prayed that we did not hit the coral head that was right in front of us. I did not know whether I would have enough power to push the bow around into the wind, but we cleared the coral head and the bow came around and we headed out toward the pass to the ocean and safety. By now the wind was blowing over forty knots and the rain was coming down in sheets. I just headed us for the pass. It was raining so hard that at times I could not see the markers and the wind was on the beam pushing us sideways toward the beach. I just watched the plotter screen and at times we were crabbing sideways at a forty-five degree angle. I was shaking so badly, not just from the cold but from the adrenaline rush and the fear of knowing how close we came to losing the boat. As we entered the pass the current was blasting out and it met the current that was trying to come in it created a very messy sea with waves four feet high and eddies that were pushing the boat this way and that. Once we cleared the pass the current settled down. We raised the triple reefed main and rolled out the yankee. Soon we were doing over seven knots toward the next island, Makemo.