Trip to Pukapuka is smooth sailing

Friday February 09, 2018 Written by Published in Outer Islands
The Lady Moana heads out of Avatiu harbour on Wednesday evening on the first leg of a voyage to Pukapuka. 18020803 The Lady Moana heads out of Avatiu harbour on Wednesday evening on the first leg of a voyage to Pukapuka. 18020803

The Lady Moana departed for Palmerston and Pukapuka yesterday afternoon with 22 passengers aboard, ahead of warnings, later dropped, that Rarotonga could encounter heavy swells and high winds severe enough to require evacuation of the harbour by today.

 

One passenger bound for Pukapuka opted out of the voyage after hearing that the boat was likely to encounter very heavy swells, but Taio Shipping Services director Josh Taio said when he’d last communicated with the vessel’s captain this morning, the Lady Moana was sailing in smooth seas and the weather was fine.

“It’s looking clear all the way to Palmerston.”

The vessel was scheduled to arrive at Palmerston at 11am this morning.

It will take on two medical patients who will need to be transported to Rarotonga before making a side trip to Nassau to pick up another patient with dental problems.

“The boat will only be there about 10 minutes and they’ll be off again to Pukapuka,” Taio said.

While the threat of an evacuation notice still looms over Avatiu Harbour this coming weekend, the weather gods seem to have granted something of a reprieve for now.

A poor forecast for the weekend – including waves in excess of five metres and strong northerly winds, meant evacuation looked like a real possibility for yesterday, but subsiding swells have led harbourmaster Saungaki Rasmussen to put off any decision about whether the harbour will need to be evacuated over the weekend until sometime later today.

Yesterday afternoon the Taio Shipping Services vessel Maungaroa II was being prepared to tow the Ocean Fresh-owned fishing vessel Golden Country out to sea, leaving only the Tiare Taporo and the General Transport cargo ship Layar Mas 291 in port.

CINews understands arrangements will be made to tow the Tiare Taporo out to sea if the weather worsens over the weekend. 

            - CS/SB

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