Sunday, 22 June 2014

Yahoo, it's a Wahoo -17-19 Jun ... slowing down and catching up

We are still on passage to Tahanea in the Tuamotus close reaching in winds varying from 12 to 15 kts TWS. Fluenta is bounding along with at 6.5 to 7.5 kts with a double reef. A nice change from the variable weather yesterday with the winds down to 2 kts TWS. We motored for about 90 minutes until the wind came back. A chance to top up the batteries and check out the various band-aid engine repairs.

Max

Latest Liz Letter from Last Night:

Greetings,

This feels quite familiar: we are on passage, it is just after midnight, and I am sitting feeding Benjamin at the chart table in an otherwise quiet boat, typing with one hand and holding him with the other :)

After some hectic days, I have a minute to slow down and catch up with our doings over the last few days.

It is a glorious night. We ate dinner with complete cloud cover and total darkness except for our red head lamps, and I was braced for the conditions to be poor as I started the evening watch, but the sky began to clear almost right away, and for the last few hours the stars have been out in force. It is so clear here! We are on a heading just west of south, so the Southern Cross, our friend from the PPJ passage, is back in place just to the left of the mast. There are little patches of darkness (high patchy clouds) but otherwise the entire bowl of the sky is awash with stars. The moon will rise shortly, and the added brightness will help us to spot squalls, but in the meantime, the view from the cockpit is spectacular!

{We are sailing, as we often do at night, with a double reef in the main. I have been rolling the genoa in and out depending on the winds, which have varied between <7 and >14 kts ... of course, I am doing this with Benjamin's help, so it has kept me on my toes, but I have enjoyed the challenge. I haven't had to wake Max yet on this watch, which is a first!}

There is a funny story to our dinner tonight. After Nancy's good influence on me, I generally try to be in the galley prepping for 6pm dinner shortly after 4pm. This schedule means that we can tidy/prep the boat for overnight and eat before the tropical sunset (no long evenings for us, even if it is June!) and start watches shortly thereafter. Our plan was to eat the skipjack we had caught yesterday (which we kept, unlike the three that we caught today that we returned to the sea) along with some rice and some vegetables ... a proper fancy passage menu. Despite my best efforts, by 6:30, I was just *starting* to cook (something about babies and squalls that kept me out of the galley...). The "old me" would have pressed on with the planned menu: after all, the skipjack needed to be eaten, and I had a plan to execute, even if this meant not eating until 9pm. The "new me" decided that the skipjack could wait, the rice could be cooked for tomorrow, and we could eat the huge can of pork & beans that I had picked up in the Nuku Hiva grocery store! We were eating within 20 minutes, and on watches on time!

Our last few days in Nuku Hiva were spent on provisioning to leave "tomorrow", and then provisioning some more as tomorrow slipped to the next day. How long does it take to prepare for a 5-day passage followed by several weeks of not much in the way of grocery stores (if any)? How long is a piece of string?! We finally were fueled up, loaded up, food stowed (our fruit & veg crates are back in a neat stack in the pantry), and boat ready yesterday morning. The up side of spending a week in a rolly anchorage was that stowing for sea was pretty straightforward! We traded rolls at anchor of -15 to +15 degrees for rolls underway from 0 to +30 yesterday afternoon, as the seas next to the island were quite steep, but they have leveled out to quite pleasant conditions for much of today. We seemed to get our overnight squalls during the day today; they were much easier to deal with in the daylight!

{An aside for those looking to do this passage down the road ... I am *very* thankful for the three carloads of canned goods that I bought in Mexico. Over and above fresh food, all I had to do this week was buy a few things that we were running low on and a few treats for the month. Provisioning everything here would have been both challenging (quantity and selection were limited) and expensive. I shopped for 6 months of canned goods in Mexico, and despite the challenge of finding room in the boat for everything I brought back, it is an effort that paid dividends now.}

{Another funny aside - after days of asking for and not receiving eggs at the grocery store, I was there when they were delivered on Tuesday morning, so without any trouble at all, I was able to buy three dozen. This will stretch our freeze dried supply from Nancy quite nicely!}

We are finding our rhythm on the watchkeeping front - during the day, I sleep when Benjamin sleeps, and at night, I take the first & last watches while Max takes the middle watch. Of course, I had to wake him for an hour this morning to bring in our (first) wahoo (!). As we brought in the wahoo, Max had a running commentary from Victoria, "That's it Dad. They don't tend to jump once they are on the hook. They like to fight. The meat is white and a bit dry. I'm glad I read up on wahoos a few days ago." I am slowly learning that Victoria and Johnathan will both read and write when they see the purpose to it ... and reading the fishing book is a favourite pastime for both of them :)

Max will tell you more about this on the blog [more to follow another time], but his rescue tape and JB Weld fixes seem to be holding their own in the engine compartment. We have another leak near a pump [raw water pump - leaking a small bit of oil at the flange between the pump and the block] in the engine, but we have a spare. We have heard back from Vesper, and our AIS will be sent to us in Papeete. Our list of things to do in New Zealand is taking shape ... as ever, cruising is maintaining our boat in exotic locales!

We are just over 300 miles to go before we turn towards our first atoll. With boat speeds ranging from <3 kts to >7 kts, it is hard to say when we will arrive, but we will keep you posted!

Much love,
Elizabeth
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At 6/20/2014 4:38 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 11°32.00'S 141°39.00'W
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At 6/21/2014 1:31 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 11°35.42'S 142°48.42'W

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