The problem was a trough... a big mass of low pressure air full of moisture that was spearing south west right over our path between Bora Bora and Aitutaki. It didn't look too bad, actually. Boats west of us who weathered it were talking about heavy rain but only 20 to 30 knots in squally conditions. Honestly, we've been through considerably worse in the past few months. On the other hand, who wants to go through that kind of gunk if you don't have to? So we started looking for alternatives. Fortunately, about 130NM west and slightly south of Bora Bora is a speck of an atoll known in English as Mopelia. The pass report in Charlie's sounded a bit horrifying but reports from recent visitors in the Soggy Paws compedendium suggested otherwise. Since the weather conditions were as yet quite mild, we thought we would do a drive by. If pass conditions warranted, we'd go in, drop the hook for 24 hours to allow the trough to blow south and past, then continue on to Aitutaki.
Except, I am not entirely certain we're going to even go to Aitutaki now. We might skip Niue as well. Hell, we might just sit here as other boats have reportedly done until we run out of water, fuel, propane, and food and are forced west. Because Mopelia IS the postcard of a South Seas paradise island. It is deserted -- about a decade ago a hurricane blew through and scraped every living soul and all their worldly goods into the ocean. It is beautiful -- a crescent shaped motu now regrown with lush vegetation dominated by coconut palms swaying in the nor-northeasterly. There is diving in the pass, coral fields everywhere you look, sharks, rays, reef fish, a white sand beach stretching from the turquoise reef to our left as far as we can see to the right. Our anchor is very well set in 20' of sandy bottom with nary a snag or a bommie to worry us. Even as we sit here feeling the trough blow over with 20 plus winds, there is no fetch, no swell, and a feeling of solid anchor-not-moving-ishness that only another cruiser can truly appreciate.
Today, we are having a cappuchino and scones and helping the girls do school. Then we are going to hand them a machete, a screw driver, an enormous bottle of tang, and a baguette and put them ashore to rove like wild creatures fending for themselves and feeding off the land. After relaxing and being adults on a boat in the middle of paradise, we may or may not load the dinghy with sundowners, meat slabs, more baguettes and some potato salad and join them ashore for a bonfire this evening. There are no mooring balls, jet skis, or customs fees. There is no one to tell us we can't walk on the beach. There is no one to stop us from gathering coconuts and cutting down mangoes and bananas. If we get really inspired, we might dinghy a few miles to the south end of the motu where apparently there are a few families still clinging to a rocky islet. These families we are told live 500 yards apart, do not speak to one another due to a long standing feud, and will trade canned corn beef for fresh lobster. All of this remains to be proven, however. I'm not reporting it. I'm merely idly speculating on how I might spend my day.
Or I might rummage around to find a book I've only read five times, take a beach blanket and a cold drink, and go lie on the beach. I think we finally found paradise.