August 22

So, its been a week or so since I wrote in my journal. Writing the Ship's Log on passage kinda uses up all my writing energy so I usually don't do both the log and a journal. Today is our second day at Suvarov, our first full day. We arrived here yesterday morning around 9am in blowing wind and rain squalls and it's the same today. The wind blew last night up to 20k and is now steady around 16k with gusts to 20 and above. The anchorage, like the Tuomotus, is on the wrong side of the lagoon and thus we have 2-3ft waves in the anchorage. Since the wind and waves are coming from the same direction we are pointed right into the waves and there is no side to side rolling, only a fore and aft bouncing. Fortunately our boat is large enough that the motion is subdued, but some of the smaller boats here are really riding wildly. One small German boat next to us is regularly burying their bow in the water.

Suvarov has held a magical appeal for me since I first read about the island 10+ years ago in a book by the famous French sailor Bernard Moitessier. Moitessier used to visit Suvarov often and spent time with the recluse New Zealander Tom Neale who made this island his home for several years in the 60s and 70s. Neale lived here in seclusion in an abandoned coast watcher's hut built during WWII by NZ to watch for Japanese aircraft. Neale also built some other crude structures on the island and a stone jetty, by hand, which was destroyed each year in storms and rebuilt by him, alone, each year. His book "An Island to Oneself" is a fascinating read and has nothing at all to do with Sailing or boats, except that his only visitors while living the hermit life were cruising sailors who would occasionally stop by. Moitessier was one such sailor though his visits were often more lengthy then most. He even built a little hut on one of the other motus where he spent months with his wife and child. In some sense Moitessier and Neale had a lot in common, both lived on the fringe of society and eschewed modern culture and convenience. Of course, Moitessier's books are all about sailing and not about being a hermit, but even non-sailors would find his writing interesting.

So, it is with both of these characters in my mind that I developed a desire to visit Suvarov. One of the great attractions is the lack of people here. Uninhabited islands are few and far between in the world and this one is blessed with a natural beauty and abundance of wildlife (below the water of course) which rivals any place on earth. Unfortunately, the same modern age which brought us the GPS and satellite telephones has also given courage to dozens of more sailors who might otherwise never venture forth to this corner of the earth. So it is not surprising that Suvarov now hosts dozens and dozens of boats each year whereas 30 or 20, or even 10 years ago the island might see 5 or 10 boats a year. Today there are 10 boats here, including the Queen Jane, and more are on the way!

Meanwhile, we have not really been able to enjoy the island since we arrived due to the high winds and rains, but we are hoping it clears in the next day or so and the calm, clear water will surround us as it should, not these whitecaps and pouring rain.