Monday, 17 December 2018

Fiji to Marshall Islands - Day 1 - Glad to be back at sea

Not a lot of wind


The flurry of preparations have been completed, the last phone calls have been made, the last treats at the grocery store obtained (extra butter for Christmas cookies, via the paddle board!), and at last we are at sea. After a busy season that culminated in a surprise trip to the boat yard, there is something to be said for the simplicity of just sailing the boat.

I am not generally fit to sit at the chart table on the first night, but the combination of Bonamine and flattened seas have made for a pleasant first evening watch. This is usually the busy time, with squalls expected throughout the night, but today (thus far) it has been Max and Victoria with the busy afternoon watch instead. We had a forecast for single-digit winds, and instead, they had up to 22 kts behind us, which was an exhilarating start for the father-daughter team while I took my first off-watch sleep. We had some steeper seas earlier (wind against current, perhaps) but now they are just rolling powerfully behind us as we sail on a broad reach.

I am having one of those evenings that people visualize before they sell their house and sail away: the sky is a high and bright dome covered in stars, the moon is reflecting off the water lighting up the whole area, the wind is steady at around 12-15 kts, we are moving along at anywhere between 6-7+ kts, and the motion of the boat is pleasant. Benjamin lay down on the aft bench of the cockpit and just fell asleep with no drama. Johnathan poked his head up through the aft hatch and we had a conversation about how beautiful the evening was (and about whether he might enjoy army or air cadets more when we got home). Lovely. I am sure we will have all kinds of conditions as we make our way towards Canada, but so far, this evening is one for the memory books.

This afternoon, Max and Victoria had a much busier watch, with shifty winds and eventually a gybe. I have to say that it was pretty nice to be laying on the aft bunk, off-watch, while the two of them completed the maneuvers; a few years ago, I would have had to come up on deck to help, but with strong and capable teenagers in our crew, the grownups can get much more sleep! At times, Victoria and Max were surfing down waves at 8-10 kts! There is a unique sound when we have the waves at just the right angle behind us and a wave comes surging powerfully under the hull; we heard it regularly this evening!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... Victoria and Benjamin decorated our little tree yesterday. Most people at home have to lash their tree to make sure the cat doesn't knock it down; in our case, it is lashed to the bulkhead so that the boat's motion doesn't send it flying! This afternoon, she made my mom's Sunbeam Cookies while I was asleep. For me, these are a taste of childhood, and so good!!

We already caught our first fish, but it was a barracuda, so we sent him back from whence he came. Barracuda have a stronger likelihood of passing along siguaterra, so we don't generally keep them.

We don't know where we will be for Christmas - but we will keep you posted on our wherabouts, or you can track us via our blog or YIT.

Love to all,

PS - The night-watch layers report: Seatemp is 29.6 deg C. Air temp is about the same. I was comfortable in the cockpit with a light hoodie, shorts, and no blanket (of course, the rain enclosure was closed).
At 2018-12-16 10:38 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 16°05.66'S 177°18.82'E

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