Other Pages & Links
About Brec's Art
About Brec's Reports
List of Reports
Block Island Times articles
17, 2003-front page
New London Day
Links to friends
Link to SV Karma
(a companion vessel during much of Brec's Journey)
for John Morgan
Phone for John Morgan
c/o John R. Morgan
P. O. Box 1982
New London, Conn.
Please use the following AOL account in the
event the e-mails are returned from the above addresses --
Report Sixteen from the Otter: The Passage from
Niue to Tonga
Monday, October 25 --
I did last chores and went ashore for a last farewell visit. I have a tea,
fishcakes, and sausage at a small luncheonette that is open for snacks for the
church members on their way to a second day of church.
11:00 a.m. I’ve folded Runcible and lashed it down on the
cabin top. Raise the main and slip the mooring line through the eye on the
pennant and sail away. No motor. Unfurl the Genoa. We’re running downwind.
Away from Niue. It’s 250 miles to Tonga. A short hop.
The day goes gray and rainy and the wind picks up to over 25 knots apparent
– dead astern. We’re moving fast.
Later that afternoon Dee and Kosta on Savoir Vivre sail by. Kosta
doesn’t like running downwind so he is always off by 15 or 20º. He only has
a bit of his Genoa out and in these seven foot seas he’s like a sled.
As he passes I alter course to get some photographs. Later when they are
developed it’s hard to see the noise and wind and seas – it just looks
like a normal gray afternoon. Seldom do my storm photos capture the feeling of
the height of the waves.
It’s going to be another gray, windy passage.
I read The Shark that Ate the Sun.
Tuesday, October 26 --
The wind and seas are still high. We’ve been surfing all night. The moon
came to say, "Hello" for awhile around 2:00 a.m. But by 7:00 a.m. it’s
dark and raining again.
Noon I record Otter’s best day’s run yet: 150 miles.
It’s only 95-100 miles to Tonga and I don’t want to arrive too early.
So I furl the main to slow us from 5.8 knots to 4.7 knots.
Nap and check position all afternoon and evening.
More squalls roll by.
Wednesday, October 27, a.k.a. Thursday, October 28 --
This is the day that wasn’t, thanks to the International Date Line
crossing. It’s the day I give back in exchange for all the individual hours
I will pick up going westward around the world. Sailors going in the other
direction get to repeat a day.
So, in my life, October 27, 1999 will be forever lost. Even though the
International Date Line is on 180º longitude, Tonga, at 174° West longitude,
wants to be in sync with New Zealand, so pushes the line over a bit. When I
arrive this morning it will be Thursday, October 28th.
I’m up all night with rainsqualls blowing through and checking our
position as we close land. I hear thunder and see cloud lightning for the
first time since Panama.
I hear Morvin and Savoir Vivre on the VHG. They are hove-to
in the lee of Tonga but still getting hit hard by the squalls.
3:15 a.m. I sight land. A darkness under the gray clouds. This gray
night, totally overcast, has a dim backlight from the moon. The radar shows
the headland where it should be – eight miles away.
7:30 a.m. We are in the lee of Tonga and the nine-foot seas are
down to two feet. The day is becoming brighter, the clouds are blowing away,
and early sunlight costs long shadows across the gusty water. In the shadows I
can see long, empty beaches beneath tall cliffs.
8:30 a.m. I start the engine and turn left between some small, high
islands and left again up a long sound before I finally arrive at the town of
Neiafu on the island of Vava’u in the northern group of the Kingdom of
It’s been a fast two-day run.
End of Report Sixteen