Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Passage to Tahiti

Hello!

Saturday morning. We have had a bit of everything so far - winds as forecast ([6-10 kts from abaft the beam]- my watch) and winds *not* as forecast (25-27 kts - Max's watch, thank goodness). We are rollicking along now at a boat speed of around 7 kts [in fact I need to keep reefing to keep the boat speed under 8 kts. Max] (much faster than when I was on watch last night, and we were barely doing 3 kts!)

Will write more later, but thought you might like to know that all is well. We split the night in half - I took the 8pm watch, Max came up for a squall at 1245 and stayed on until 6am. He is sleeping now and I have the kettle on for hot chocolate for the kids, both of whom have also been awake since just after 6am. Must be getting soft...

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 7/26/2014 6:28 PM (utc) Fluenta's position was 17°07.00'S 147°05.00'W

Hello!

I started this email last night, around 9:30pm, having enjoyed benign conditions throughout my watch. In fact, it was so lovely that I decided to go back up to the cockpit to enjoy the tranquility, planning to write more later. At about 12:45, we were approached by a squall that stretched as far as the eye could see [in fact, as far as the radar could see as well. I had just finished shaking out the reefs in the main from the previous squall and checked the radar to see a big squall at the six nm scale. I was debating if I had room to avoid it under sail when I went to the twelve nm scale and saw that behind the first big squall was a squall line across the entire radar screen. Interesting in that the behind it did not ease and there was no barometric pressure change behind the squall line but it certainly did change the wind for the next 30 hours. Max]. This marked the beginning of what turned into a 24-hr "squall": even after the clouds went by, the winds stayed up around 18-22 kts, peaking at 27 kts during Max's night watch. Not so tranquil anymore!

So here we are on the evening of day two of our passage to Tahiti. After big winds all day (higher than forecast), they finally dropped around sunset (as forecast), and we are actually motoring now because we don't have enough wind to sail! We expect to arrive tomorrow around mid-day. We all found that our sealegs had gone walkabout during our month at anchor, so no one was doing anything extra today. (Everyone was fine, but we were a bit out of practice). I will do even more baking-ahead before our next big passage (muffins, soup, rice bowls, etc)

The seamanship award of the day yesterday went to Johnathan. He noticed a funny sound in the aft cabin just after the engine was started. Not long after we had come down to investigate, the boat gave a crazy lurch: we think that somehow the engine had put itself into gear, and drove hard onto the anchor chain. Everything seemed to be fine [other than a broken anchor roller and bent axle for the anchor roller], and we weighed our anchor shortly thereafter, but it was a bit unsettling to say the least!

Max & Johnathan had surveyed our exit route, but it was still dicey leaving the anchorage; there are coral heads all over the place. We escaped without harm, and left the atoll during a slack tide. It was delightfully anticlimactic :)

Johnathan also got the "proud mama" award nomination for yesterday: after the boat lurched forward, I left a crying Benjamin with the kids and went up to the anchor. This turned into weighing anchor, which meant that Benjamin did not get his "mama fix" before I left. No worries - Johnathan was there. He took him in his arms and jiggled him for a few minutes, and he went to sleep. He was so proud of him self when he came up to tell me about it a few minutes later - and I was proud of him!

Other than feeling a bit off because of the strength of the wind/seas (a good excuse for KD and other treats) today's passage has gone smoothly. Our autopilot is doing really well, both on wind-hold and course-hold. I am so grateful that Max installed all these new electronics when we were in Mexico!

You are probably wondering what on earth we do with Benjamin during the passage ... for the most part, someone holds him (usually me). Sometimes he is set down on the floor of the cockpit, with constant surveillance and the solid barrel-bolted companionway door in place. We will get a proper tether for him as soon as we can, then he (like V&J) will be tethered whenever he is the cockpit; in the meantime, he spends a lot of time in my wrap! Right now, he is sleeping on the starboard setee in the main saloon, so he is close if he wakes, but I have my hands free.

We haven't caught anything but our lures yet (not recommended - over an hour to detangle the lines!), but we are hopeful for tomorrow.

That's about it for now - love to everyone,
Elizabeth
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At 7/27/2014 2:19 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 17°17.00'S 148°00.00'W

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