We actually managed to leave today!
I felt a bit emotional about leaving. This has been my favourite place so far, in no small part due to the people we have met and being able to experience the community of people from all walks of life. We would also have loved to stay a bit longer to get to know the place more, but as I’ve said before we’ve got that ever-ticking clock counting down the weeks until we have to be back at work (and the ever-dwindling bank balance telling us we can’t put work off any longer!). It was very easy to get used to life with no phones, no internet, no TV – living simply, catching fish for food (mostly thanks to Mike, but had we stayed longer we would have fished more ourselves). It was very relaxing.
About 40 miles out we hit a squall. This is nothing new, and they are quite common in this part of the world due to the ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergance Zone), which is the area encircling the earth near the equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together. Squalls can be nasty but usually only last for 10 or 20 minutes – as Stu puts it they aren’t dangerous but they will find weaknesses on the boat. During the day they are easy to spot on the horizon but obviously at night they come with little warning and it’s usually all hands on deck to reef the sails quickly.
This squall hit around dusk and it wasn’t bigger or wilder than any others we’ve seen, however this time our furler jammed as we were reefing the jib and we were stuck with our sail half way, not able to set it or furl it. Luckily in this case we had managed to furl it enough to ride out the squall reasonably comfortably and it was over quickly, however now we were in the precarious position of not being able to do anything with our jib – frustrating in light wind when we would want to let more out and dangerous in heavy weather when we would want to furl it. We couldn’t drop the sail as it was, and there is no way that I would be able to hoist Stu up the mast to do anything. Also, the foot of the sail had torn leaving it weakened and not as reliable as we’d want. Stu managed to roughly wrap the sail by hand and we made the decision to go back to Fanning.