Friday, 11 July 2014

Back across the lagoon

Greetings!

After our campers returned home this morning, we did engine checks and left right away for the other side of the lagoon; the wind is expected to clock around to the NE tonight and tomorrow, and the pass-dive anchorage is better protected in these conditions. Our anchor is within a few feet of our last anchorage; when Max dove to check the anchor, he could still see the trench from the last time we were here. Guess the water doesn't have much movement in this part of the atoll. [We left in the morning while the sun was at a good angle for spotting the coral heads. The water in the lagoon goes from being over a 100 feet deep to about 3 feet deep in about the two boat lengths so we always have someone on the bow with polarised sunglasses looking for reefs.]

Having met the coconut crab just before bedtime, and having watched the little rats scurry around all evening, Johnathan decided that since his head was the size and texture of a coconut, perhaps he would like to sleep in a hammock, and not on the sand! [I think he would have still slept on the ground again but when Victoria decided to sleep in the Belgian tent with the other two kids I suggested that he could have the small hammock which he agreed that the hammock would be more prudent.] Max slept in the big hammock, Johnathan slept in the little hammock, and Victoria slept in the Belgian tent. I believe I use the word sleep rather loosely, as I am not sure how much they got :) [No rain this time but more rats scurrying around I think.]

Our wind generator is happy, which makes us happy ... it is producing a constant amps in 15 kts of wind, yet the motus (pieces of the circumference of the atoll that we anchor beside) protect us from the swell, and the boat is pretty steady. {We have seen lots of boats with two wind-generators, but we only had one pole to mount it to, which would have made the second one *very* expensive). We haven't walked around this motu yet, but we poked our nose out into the ocean when we snorkelled on the pass last week. It is very pretty, but not quite as pretty as the SE corner.

Our passage (approx 1.5 hrs) was uneventful, but we are always relieved to have made it safely across the coral field. There are just enough reefs that are not marked on our chart to make us appreciate the ones that are!

Our Belgian friends also changed anchorages, so they took Johnathan with them when they went snorkelling. When I snorkel, I am still at the stage of saying, "oh, what pretty fish," and that is about the extent of my discernment for one type vs another. On the other hand, Johnathan came back today describing his trip, and named about a half dozen species by name that he had either seen or noted by their absence! It amazes me what they have learned just by osmosis. On the same vein, Victoria stayed back on the boat to help Max install some lights. Before she started, she asked me to help her draw a diagram for a solar light she would like to build whenever we have a house again, then she proceeded to help Max with wiring and crimping of a little light above the winches in our dodger. Once back from snorkelling, Johnathan helped Max put the buoys on the anchor chain, then free-dove with him to help him clean some of the underwater surfaces of the boat. He was quite proud to be able to say when he came back aboard that he had cleaned a good part of the rudder! "I like doing hard jobs" he told us :)

Benjamin is neither re-wiring the boat nor identifying much in the way of wildlife; however, he is very nearly crawling, and is making lots of "language sounds" (gurgling in the back of his throat and jabbering on in conversation with himself are two of his favourite pastimes). Every stage is cute, but this one is very cute!

I have yogurt on the boat again! The Swedish family brought some to our goat roast, and when I asked her about it, she was kind enough to offer me some starter. We made our first batch yesterday. It had a bit of an unusual taste, so I will tweak the recipe next time (the trick to good cruiser yogurt seems to be lots of full-fat milk powder; I used 400 mL of milk powder to 900 mL of water, and it perfectly filled one large (1L) mason jar. I sat the jar in my pressure cooker with a water bath to help keep in the heat, and then wrapped the covered pot with two towels. The yogurt cured while I went to the beach, but it probably took about 6 hours (and I could likely have taken it out sooner, as the taste is a bit sour). The next step is to make granola without heating my oven (ie in my pressure cooker), and then I will really be set for breakfast! BTW - I am basically using the pressure cooker as a large heavy pot with a tight-fitting, but steam releasing, lid for yogurt and granola.)

I have been hearing about some of the effects of "Arthur" in Halifax; here's hoping for quiet winds in everyone's "anchorage," wherever that may be.

[The cockpit lighting version 2 seems to be a sucess so I will wire it in properly now. Max].

Love to all,
Elizabeth
PS We are UTC-10
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At 7/4/2014 8:49 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°58.00'S 144°35.00'W
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At 7/10/2014 7:52 PM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°50.83'S 144°41.77'W

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