Tuesday 4th June 2013

Very breezy when we woke up so we agonised on whether to head off for Ille de Pines or not. The route involved leaving the protection of the Lagoon with big seas forecast. However, the wind was westerly backing to the SW forecast to be 18 knots. As the course is basically SE, the direction of the prevailing SE Trade winds, a westerly was a rare opportunity. We went! We were reassured to find 2 other boats visible and heading in the same direction as us. Double reefed Main and Genoa. Wind was about 14 knots W so we shook out the Screecher. Wind died a little so we pulled out 1 reef. That was what the wind Gods were waiting for, immediately we were hit by a strong squall. Had to bear away to screen the Screecher with the Main both to protect it and allow us to furl it, putting us on a heading straight for a nearby reef. Got it all sorted, pulled out the Genoa and got back on course before ploughing into the reef.

It was then a bucking sleigh ride beam reach for the next 20 Nm down to the Ille de Pines. We passed our friends in Gypsy Lee who encountered the same squall we did and measured it at 38 knots. We were doing between 8 and 12 knots often wishing we had that 2nd reef back in.

The last leg was a dead run into Baie de Kuto so we dropped the Main and ran in under Genoa alone. The sea state was building and the swell was running directly into Kuto so we headed round to Illot de Adventure for a more protected anchorage. Gypsy Lee and the other Cat joined us a bit later.

It was a spectacular sunset that night

Wednesday 5th June 2013

The swell was up (forecast to be up to 6 metres outside the reefs)as was the tide so waves were reaching us over the reef. The solid 20-25 knot SW was beginning to back to the South ( wind here is very dense and heavy, probably due to over 80% humidity). Once the tide went down a bit we ventured out following Gypsy Lee heading for Kuto. The first Nm was like a crossing a rough bar.

The above photos were taken by Gypsy Lee ahead of us.

It was a relief to get into the shelter of Kuto , although the swell rolled in for the next 3 days.

We anchored in front of a yacht already there called Miami. They kept looking over and we got the feeling they thought we were too close. I had a deja vue moment and recognised the boat as one I had had a previous issue with about anchoring space 2 years ago in Bums Bay on the Gold Coast. To keep the peace we re anchored a bit further away.

As it turned out when we met them, George and Uta, on the beach later they were not worried at all. They confirmed that they were at the Gold Coast in 2010 and were amused that I remembered them from the incident. Anyway, they turned out to be delightful people and we spent the afternoon with them walking up the local peak a somewhat more serious walk than we expected, but great.

Ille de Pines has a colourful history including being a prison for political prisoners from the first socialist revolution in Paris and remnant of the prison and other infrastructure remain.

This was the water cistern and has been well restored.




We returned to the surf still crashing in on Kuto Beach and retired to Gypsy Lee for sundowners taking George and Uta with us. There we also met a French couple Patrick and Agnes who have sailed all the way from France. A great night was had and new friendships formed.