Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Enroute Tuvalu under the Super Moon


I had a long-overdue "catch up" email started before we left Fiji ... but it will continue to be long overdue, and I will use these few moments between the everyone going to sleep and the (likely) squally period to send a quick update on this passage.

After a lovely visit with Max's parents in Taveuni and a few days of the usual pre-passage maintenance and provisioning, we cleared out of Savusavu late last week and are now making our way towards Tuvalu.

Our first day out of Fiji saw us motoring and then sailing on glassy seas under a brilliant blue sky, which gave us a chance to use the last of our Internet for phone calls and music downloads before we had to hunker down and reestablish our sea legs the following day. Let's just say that no one (especially me) really felt like spending much time down below either at the chart table writing emails or in the galley cooking. Thankfully, I had prepared extra food during the calm period the first day, so we had rice and pasta as well as the usual crackers and cheese. Today was somewhere in between (the sea state has calmed and not only did I manage to cook dinner, but I used some of the ripe-all-at-once bananas we have aboard to make dessert as well).

We are back into squall territory, so I suspect that the lovely 8-11 kts and calm seas will be disrupted after midnight as it was last night, but for now, it is the sailing that I love - calm seas, light winds, and the brilliant moonlight to keep me company. We have started a pattern of Max taking the afternoon watch and going off-watch at around sunset, so I had a nice evening chat with each of the kids before they went on their own time to sleep. Even Benjamin is below, sleeping on the port bench with a lee-cloth (although I went down at one point and his head and one arm had found the only gap between the cloth and the frame of the bunk. Yikes! He is scooted back into a better position now, and there is a fan over his head to keep him cool.)

This is our first long passage since our Niue-Tonga leg in 2014 that we have just the family onboard. As much as I like standing 1:3 watches more than 1:2, it is really nice to be just the five of us. Victoria and Johnathan are really capable, and they regularly give us catnaps during our watches; it won't be long before they have an official "watch" of their own. They watch for traffic and squalls, grind the winch (especially when we need to furl the genoa for squalls), play with Benjamin, and keep themselves occupied. Victoria has been crocheting an afghan, square by square, following instructions in a book that was in my grandmother's cupboard and that Aunt Margaret passed along to her when we were home in the summer. Johnathan has been continuing to research and write his book (a project begun out of the boredom of six weeks in the van when we were camping in NZ last season). Benjamin has divided his time between asking for turns on the iPad so he can build things in Minecraft (yes, really) and asking for turns with Johnathan's Lego. Did I mention that the big kids are really patient?! We bought a little DVD player when we were home in Canada, and I have to admit that I am grateful for the amount of time he will spend watching Octonauts and other little shows that we have put on a memory stick for him. I agree with all the research that says screen time should be limited for little people, but I sure appreciate the quiet time when he is occupied!

We are loving the full moon each night - it was about 99% and still waxing our first night out, and we think we have one more overnight after tonight, so we couldn't have timed it better. We will enjoy the stars at anchor as the moon wanes, but (especially since we haven't been off-shore in a while) it is really nice to have the light of the moon by which to see the squalls this week!

We wound in the fishing lines at dusk tonight because we caught one of the biggest fish we have seen last night and had to throw it back - we caught a barracuda that was well over 50 lbs. We would have eaten it in Mexico, but in the South Pacific, they are risky for ciguaterra, so it had to go. Barracuda seem to be the only fish biting in the dark, so now we will just bring in the lines after sunset. We are still waiting for something tasty to bite the hook. We snagged a beautiful mahimahi on our way out of Savusavu, but it didn't have the hook in its mouth, so it got away when we tried to bring it aboard. We have had them come back for the lure, but this one was obviously a bit smarter than our previous catches and it swam well away from us!

We are all well and looking forward to arriving in another day or so at Funafuti, Tuvalu to start our north-bound cruising season.

Love to all,

At 2016-11-15 1:02 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 11°01.33'S 179°23.48'E
At 2016-11-15 1:02 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 11°01.33'S 179°23.48'E

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  1. I have been following your journey since being posted to Halifax three years ago, and always like to hear about your new adventures. Such an amazing family and an incredible way to raise your family. Safe travels. Jim M, CFB Greenwood


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