June 1

We motored directly into a building wind of 10-12k and after passing through several rain showers we cleared the reef at the SE edge of Baie du Prony and started making our way SE through the lagoon. The wind grew to 15-20k but did come around a bit more to the North, though it didn't reach East. We also cleared the cloud cover which enveloped Grand Terre and are in sunshine. We raised the mainsail and motorsailed into the wind making between 4-5.5k, depending on how often the waves slapped us back. Seas are between 2-4ft but with a very short period.

The Southern Lagoon is a huge area bounded to the East, West and South by barrier reefs. Inside the lagoon reefs from a few hundred yards long to several miles are sprinkled about. Navigation through the lagoon is simple though with a good chart and GPS (I can only imagine what a nerve wracking experience it must have been even 20 years ago).

It is now 10:30am and we have between 15-18k from the ESE and are making about 5k over ground motorsailing to windward (we have about 11 degrees apparent wind angle off the bow). We are on a heading of 199 degrees Magnetic with about 7.5nm remaining on this leg. We have approximately 20nm to go to reach Kuto.

Most of the day we sailed into the wind with an apparent angle of 3-12 degrees. The mainsail did a remarkable job steadying us and providing a boost. Sometimes we could make only 4k and a big wave would slow us to 2.5k. Other times we would sweep by at 5.5k and a good wave would slow us only to 4.5k.

At 1:45pm we turned to port onto the final leg to Kuto. We have 4.8nm remaining to Kuto and the wind remains brisk at 15-19k from the ESE. We are on the starboard tack now motorsailing at 2100rpm and making a good 6k over ground. Our wind angle is a much more generous 16 degrees.

At 3pm we anchored off the beach in 14ft water. The Island of Pines is every bit as beautiful as promised, and the big bonus is the weather is much sunnier here then on Grande Terre. Kate says she wants to stay here two weeks. I still want to get up to see the Loyalty Islands, especially Ouvea and Beautemps-Beaupree (a small coral atoll just NW of Ouvea).