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Goodbye Chagos

28 June 2007, at sea

Ocelot, early morning in Chagos.
Ocelot, early morning in Chagos.

Dear Friends and Family,

About noon today we pulled our anchor out of the delightful sand-patch that has held us so securely for the last few weeks and motored out of the pass at Salomon Atoll, Chagos Archipelago.  Why, you ask?  Well, we asked ourselves that as well.  (Actually, we asked ourselves that a month ago and decided we were crazy to leave).  We're in a paradise of fish and coral, protected waters and delightful swimming, pretty trails and several islands to explore, meals together with good friends, why leave?  OK, all the fresh fruits and veggies were finished some time ago, but our canned stores would last for weeks.

Part of the answer is bureaucracy - our permit expires at the end of the month and it's UKŁ100/month to extend, payable over the internet.  But the truth is that after 10 weeks here it's time to move on.  It looks like we have a good weather window and all but 2 boats have either left or will leave tomorrow.  We'll even have a full moon!  Besides, our May 20 newsletter said we'd be leaving in a week or so... 

Another beautiful Chagos sunset
Another beautiful Chagos sunset

So we said goodbye to all our friends and set sail for the Seychelles, 1,024 miles west of us (our 4th longest passage to date).  The winds are good (15‑20 knots) and from well aft of the beam (120° apparent).  The sky is mostly cloudy but they're the fluffy white sort, not the angry grey sort.  The main problem is that we've been in a very protected anchorage for long enough that we're not used to this bouncing around.  The winds in the South Indian Ocean are quite strong and they've kicked up some 10' (3m) swells that continue NW long after the wind dies, so we're sailing through a bit of a washing machine.  The forecasts are for these 15‑20 knot winds to continue, but the winds south of us are still strong, so I guess we're stuck with these swells.

We probably won't sail a straight line to the Seychelles.  There are some contrary currents along that track, so we're planning to sneak south a bit to catch some better currents and then hook NW the last day or 2.  Think of us when you're in your nice, solid bed tonight, as we'll probably be bouncing around out here for a week or so... 

Fair winds and calm seas -- Jon, Sue and Amanda Hacking

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