The hairy reef pass awaits us. The Captain circles around the entrance a few times to make sure we are perfectly lined up in the middle of the pass. I stand on the deck watching for stray waves and making sure we keep to the middle of the pass the whole way. My heart is hammering in my chest.
The Captain makes the call, I brace myself gripping the mast behind me tight, my eyes fixated on the middle of the pass. It’s go time. We start to motor down the blown out reef pass ,I can see the broken coral fragments just under the boat, the bottom so close to scratching our keel, the current starts to pull us offcourse and closer to the edge, I move my right hand slighty to give warning we are shifting to the left, we drift closer, my arm stretched out 90’, our course still hasn’t been adjusted, I am tempted to turn around and scream to the Captain but I mustn’t take my eyes of the pass. I wave my right arm frantically as the reef juts out at us getting closer, then finally the boat moves and we get back in the middle of the channel.
I can see the turbulent water ahead of us, small waves breaking in every direction, the waters visibility down to nothing. We are now lined up well in the middle of the pass ready to hit the turbulance and hope not to hit the bottom or the reef. The Captain slams the engine into turbo drive, we hit the turbulence, I hold my breath while we chug along at 2knots against the currents. I cant see the reef I start to panic, then the waves suck the reef dry and we are metres from it, I throw both arms into the air above my head, wait a second and then throw my arm out to the right, the Captain moving us immediately to the left and then in a split second we are spat out the back the deep ocean, so calm.
I run back to the cockpit, my heart still in my throat and we do high fives all round. We made it no sooner are we in the clear a 35knot squall hits us on the nose with sideways rain and an instant swell. This seems like nothing compared to that pass. Nanumea shall be forever known as the worst reef pass. Off we sail to Kiribati and beyond