Date: July 30, 2016, 4 a.m. Position: 10 25.71 S, 105 40.12 E

We hare safely anchored down at Christmas Island! Our 1,025 NM passage from Ashmore Reef took us almost 7 days, with our 12-hour heave-to stop included. Not bad! All under sail with no motoring. Heaving-to in the gale was also good for our battery bank, as the wind generator pumped out the amps once we stopped running downwind.

Daybreak revealed 25 knot winds and squalls–the first solid squalls on this passage. We knew our weather luck would run out at some point on this ideal passage… Taz was still sleeping soundly at 6 AM when we let the staysail sheets fly, jibed the boat around, and got under way again. We quickly accelerated and set up our downwind sail configuration again. The seas were big, but the electric pilot gave them everything she had, and thankfully spared me from 6 hours of what would have been tiring hand-steering. Geez I’m such a wimp on the hand-steering now! But really, I’ve had my hand chained to a tiller for years, and I’m happy to give the autopilot some practice now 🙂

As we approached Christmas Island the seas built to sharp peaks and the swells sort of “zippered” together from 2 different directions. The color of the sea and the leaping foam at the wave-tops looked exactly like that famous Japanese painting of the wave. About 15 miles away, a bright-green Christmas Island emerged from the waves, and as we sailed toward her coast we watched massive plumes of spray as the swells pounded into the cliffs. Blow-holes shot plumes of vapor hundreds of feet into the air, like dragons breath.

The ever-present Australian Border Force aircraft swept in from out of nowhere as we neared the island, buzzing overhead and asking for our details yet again. This is now the 4th time we’ve been buzzed.

We quickly rounded the lee of the island and struck sails as we glided into Flying Fish cove, aptly named as we’ve had more flying fish on this passage than any other that I can recount. Remarkably, the anchorage is the one calm pocket amid the boisterous trade winds. The Island looks completely fascinating and we can’t wait to explore. We are definitely in a foreign land now. It feels like the Marquesas almost, with the vertical volcanic cliffs. The waters are crystal-clear and we can see at least 150 feet down to the bottom. There’s a mosque nearby with a loudspeaker broadcasting ghostly prayers every few hours throughout the day and night. More to come soon… For now, sailor’s rest. Another passage successfully complete!

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