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Kjell O. Stave


Almost loosing it all.


   Prelude:   At sea when the seas are rough I feel safe, simply because there is no land to crash into, the boat can rock and squeal and might even capsize but because of the massive keel it will always erect itself and I would survive. On a mooring close to a reef being held by ropes I don't feel safe at all. The boat will be pulling on the rope and fighting the waves instead of riding them like it is meant to and after a split rope it is straight on the reef. The warning would be maximum 20 seconds. 

 This letter might seem a bit tacky, I had a lot of fun pretending to be a writer when I made it  :-) 


Never have I been closer to loose the boat.

      When I arrived in Niue the storm's were brewing and it was pitch dark. I knew it was going to be a night arrival but I was counting on the full moon and the stars to guide me. The night before I had problems sleeping, it was like daylight outside, but not tonight, tonight it was dark. I flipped open my laptop and connected the gaps hoping the c-map would be correct enough to use for navigation but it was no use, the computer was showing me two miles out as I could hear the waves braking on the reef half a mile ahead. The navigation light's on the pier was out too, probably dismasted in the Hurricane Heta two years ago. The only light on the pier was a light post for the dingy crane. It was shooting a beam of light out towards the sea. That's it I thought, I went back and forward along the reef using the beam looking for moorings, creeping ever closer to the reef. After what seemed like an eternity I finally caught glimpse of one and headed for it, grabbed it and tied on. I was safe for now but the weather seemed to be getting worse. That night I did not sleep very good and could feel a flue developing.

     The following morning Paul and Andrea arrived and despite the surge and waves we headed for land to clear in and get a cup of coffee. The trip was short though because the seas was mounting and from up here the boats looked like they were about to tear the moorings apart and break loose. That night the already high sea and bad surge got worse, Paul decided to head for open water and motored off to sea, I was not to meet him again for two day. I realized that my propeller was too small to get me out to sea and that I physically were not up for it anyhow. I now had a toothache, small fever, motion sickness and a severe lack of sleep that gave me a headache. The night was long and I never slept more than 15 minutes because of the tossing around. I tried to protect myself by laying a mattress down in the middle of the boat and jam myself between the table and the couch. It did not work. I had to keep the radio on ch. 16 in case and if I ever fell asleep the radio would spark and come to live, they were trying to save the fishing boat next to me from going on the rocks. The captain could not get out to the boat because of the weather so the police had to get involved and a mobile crane with a big boat was launched at 4 in the morning. All this commotion going on around me was not helping at all but at least I knew that help was close at hand if I needed it. From time to time the boat would make a big toss or jerk that pulled so much on my ropes that it made a gigantic 'bang' and I would jump into action with the flashlight trying to figure out if the rope finally broke free or not. Luckily it never did but I will never forget the noise it made, it is indescribable  but my hart stopped every time and I swear that I was up front looking at my lines before it started to pump again.

     After that second night of pure shit I knew I had to get away. With or without the boat. Thinking about how good the mooring had been I decided to abandon the boat and launched the dingy, I removed everything that was loose, even ores because it would surely go overboard anyway. It was not raining now but the surge and waves were massive, at the pier I could see the waves sucking away the water before slamming into it again and agian. Between waves there were about 3 meters of concrete pier that disappeared when the next wave broke. I knew there were a ladder about one third down the pier and headed for it, I was lucky and managed to time my arrival at the ladder between two waves and therefore avoided being crushed against the concrete. When the ladder was within reach I jumped to it and rapidly climbed it bringing the long dingy rope. I was so happy to be at land that I almost forgot that I was alone and would never be able to get the dingy up!. Lucky for me the waves were good for something, I were holding on to the dingy rope trying to think of a way to get my dingy up when a giant wave lifted it so high that all I had to do was give it a little jerk and it got flushed on to the pier by that wave, it was the most amazing sight, if I only had this on video...  

     I  did not know how bad I looked but after the first two cars I met stopped and asked me if I were feeling 'all right?' I knew it could not be nice. Keith in the second car was the Commodore of the Yacht club and drove me straight to a hotel that he personally paid for and gave me a hot cup of coffee before ordering me to rest.    



     Keith came by every day and checked on me and after three days of heaven with cold milk from a fridge, hot showers and best of all a big soft bed with fresh sheets i was feeling good enough to check out. Paul and Andrea arrived after two days of riding out the weather on the lee side of the island and what we have done on Niue will be the next letter.

NB! Don't forget to take a look at Niue Yacht Club's homepage. 'The only Yacht Club without a boat?'

Kjell O. Stave

'The anchorage After the storm'


'The roof of the Yacht club's toilet block was ripped apart by hurricane Heta'


'Happy Sailors'





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