Friday, 28 November 2014

On passage to Opua (Day 6) ... almost there


There is no doubt aboard SV Fluenta that we have left the tropics! I woke up this morning to the sounds on deck (right above my head in the aft cabin); of Max cleaning the first of two Albacore tuna (we released a third, as it was smaller, and our freezer is full). These are the tunas of tin-can fame, and they are found in sub-tropical and temperate waters (as determined by Doug & Johnathan's review of our fishing book). Brrr. As if to confirm our arrival in colder climes, the forecast for Opua is a low of 6C overnight. Obviously, this complaining is all a bit tongue in cheek, as we are willingly flying home to winter in 18 days (Victoria has made a cross-off chart, and she keeps us regularly updated. She has had her carry-on packed for about a month).

We motored for much of the day through grey skies and flat seas. It wasn't sunny, but it was dry enough to take the damp out of a bucket of diapers that I washed this morning...

Johnathan, following on his reading of the fishing book with Doug, commented today on the various fish that we have caught in various places .. it was neat to see how he is combining geography, climate, species, etc to make his own conclusions. We have come from mixed fish (Mexico) through Wahoo/Marlin/Dorado (French Poly) to Rainbow Runner (Suwarrow) and (lots of Dorado) Tonga/Minerva. Now we have arrived in Albacore land. Neat.

Victoria has focused a lot of time on this passage making a wardrobe out to painter's tape for one of her tiny dolls. She has made two dresses, a little jacket, and a pair of slippers for "baby Jessica" (who joined our family when I was younger than she is now...). She has even used some cardboard, a wooden stick, and some foil to make a wardrobe with hanging rod and hangers. As ever, proud mama likes to see what she does when she has nothing but time on her hands and materials around her...

I spent a couple of hours during my evening watch (after Victoria went to sleep and before Benjamin woke up) feeling like a bit of a single-handed racer: the wind had come up after being too light to sail for much of the day, the sea was flat, and my task was to keep the boat moving at least as fast as we had been motoring (6.5 kts). It was so fun to sail even faster than the engine had been pushing us. All too soon, the wind backed too far around (from West to South), and instead of being close hauled, on course, and making good time, we were 20+ deg off course and moving too slowly - time to start the engine again.

The reason for this "need for speed" is not just that we are a horse whose stable is almost in sight - there is a front forecast to move through the area tomorrow, and the sooner we arrive at the "Q" (Quarantine) dock, the less we will expose ourselves to its higher winds and seas. We have had a good passage so far, and it would be nice to be tied up snuggly at the dock when the front passes :)

We weren't too sure that we were impressed with catching Albacore, but we tried it for dinner. Fried in oil with soya sauce, chili flakes, sesame oil, and rice vinegar, and accompanied by pasta and the last of our fresh veg (carrots & green peppers), it was quite tasty. We had some set aside to try as sashimi, but everyone was so full by the time they had eaten the hot food that we left it for tomorrow!

Now we are motoring again with the wind (and the swell - it has built a little bit) on the nose, and counting down the miles. We have less than 45 nm until we turn to go into Opua, and we expect to be tied up sometime on Friday afternoon.

Love to you all,
At 27/11/2014 5:51 PM UTC SV Fluenta was at 34°44.17'S 174°15.20'E

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