January 17

The night passed easily with us motoring East with the current making 6.5k average over the ground. Winds remain light at 8-10k from the ESE. We have increased our RPMs on the engine a little bit and are now making 6.5 to 7k over ground, averaging a good 6.4 easy. It is now 8am and we have 41.5 miles to reach Ant Atoll and according to the Nav-O-Computer we will do so at about 2:30pm. If the wind increases however we may lose a bit of speed, but, we can pour on more fuel still and not have any problems. We have about 50 gallons remaining now, more then enough to reach Ant and then on to Pohnpei, 20 miles further East.

Of course, returning to Pohnpei will be bittersweet. And we will have to endure customs clearance, again. And have to explain why we are back when we left a week ago to go to Palau. The question of whether we will ever reach Palau is now strong in my mind and after being spooked twice by El Nino weather (we both swear the wall of rain and clouds we were in yesterday seemed a lot like the Tropical Storm we were in on our passage to Pohnpei from Majuro in late November. And, another Tropical Storm had just come through Pohnpei, or rather formed just Southwest of it, last week and walloped our friends on “Ultimate” who were at anchor at Lamotrek Atoll in Yap State, about 800 miles West of Pohnpei. So we are thinking perhaps the sea gods are trying to tell us something and we may just cut and run to the South and avoid the whole North Pacific this year.

At 12:30pm we are about 14 miles from the entrance to Ant Atoll. We are exhausted (the skipper is anyway). The skies are partly cloudy with about 45% cloud cover, most of it a thin, wispy layer which gives everything a bit of a milky look. The wind is about 13k from the East and we are motor sailing at about 6 – 6.5k over ground with the Equatorial Counter Current still pushing us along an extra knot and a half. We expect to enter the pass at about 3pm.

Right now our plan is only to anchor and relax . Eat something and then sleep. Basic human needs. After that, we will probably hang at Ant if the weather is nice, which it might actually be for a few days, then we will have to head back to Pohnpei,

We entered the pass as expected at about 2:40pm and were anchored at 3:40pm in a beautiful cove behind a little motu. Peace at last reins.