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Stay calm and look them in the eye

  There haven't been many days of plain sailing and indulging in travel brochure perfection since we started this Pacific adventure. Everyone we speak to, all the old timers who sail up here every year to escape the Kiwi dark winter, has said the same thing. This year has been weird. It was weird in Tonga (so cold the country sold out of hoodies) and it's been weird here. Some cruisers we've met have described the Trade Winds as "reinforced" this year, which is the sort of minimising nautical term every decent sailor aspires to (like the Beaufort scale describing a 22 to 27 knot wind as a "strong breeze"). Yesterday though was as close to perfection as I can imagine. Idyllic. We woke up to absolute stillness. The huge hot sun, alone in a cloudless sky. Fortaleza's shadow cast through the oily, canary blue sea onto the ripples in the sand 15m below us. Absolute silence except the odd lap of water hitting the underside of our tethered paddleboard. Peak

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