Light winds, big seas

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Lat. 28.46 S Long 160.24 W Course 30 T Speed 5 knots Wind NW 5-10 knots Waves SW .75 metres Cloud 100% Baro 1014
Distance in last 24 hrs: 110 nm  Range to Rarotonga 453 nm

Day 16 December 12, 2016

06:00  

Got my flat white sitting beside me and two eggs on the boil. Got my wakeup call at 05:00 am just in time to catch a full sunrise chase away the stars and me with front row seats. The wind has turned light and with a bit of a sea still running. It’s difficult for Fleming to steer our course and keep wind in the sails so I woke Perkins up and asked Auto to take over the steering and we are back on course with sails filled and doing a respectable 3 knots and charging the batteries as well.

I stood in the cockpit for 45 minutes watching the new morning appear and the sky and high wispy clouds change colour. There is a big sky this morning with low and high billowy cloud guarding all the horizons. A new day! I feel optimistic and looking forward to drying things out in the warm sun.

I had a nice breakfast in the cockpit, lowered the main down to the third reef, and rolled the jib all the way in.  The triple reefed main gives some stability against the beam on a seaway, which rolls us from 15 degrees to port then 15 degrees to starboard. A little hard to stay in my bunk with out the lee cloths up.

The sun’s rays have chased me down below now for the rest of the day unless I get my big hat on and lots of sun screen. I’m drowsy now after my late night and early morning. The full moon last night was amazing, what a show.

We have 465 nm to go to the Island (Rarotonga) and we are powering along at 2.5 knots. I will keep this up for most of today and see if any wind comes up at all.

 09:00

Just got up from nice rest, about an hour. Still motoring, speed just over 2 knots. There is some wind, maybe 5 knots from the north, right on the nose. The sky is now almost completely cloud covered. Saw a beautiful white bird with long tail feathers, definitely a tern of some sort. Very curious bird, reddish colour on or near bill. Only one that comes close according to my reference book is the crested Tern but in the reference there is no red about the bill and no long tail feathers. Still nice to see, and I imagine as I get closer to Rarotonga I will see more.  The motion back and forth in the swells is bad for chafe so I’ve been on deck checking the main sail. On my rounds I discovered one of my lifeline turnbuckles had come undone in the night so I screwed that back together and taped it up.

Going now to make pancakes.

noon

All’s well, light winds, low sea, good boat speed. Full main and jib.

03:15 pm 

Over cast sky, sun trying to break through, squalls all around on the horizon. The sea is down no big swells only small gentle ones less than one metre, wind light and variable from the North West, not more than 10 knots, sometimes only a whisper. We have full sail, main and jib and we’re on the wind. WW II has been making the very best of even the slightest zephyr of wind, sometimes racing along smoothly at 7.5 knots, foam bubbling off the stern quarter, and other times barely keeping the wind in the sails, but always forward, always moving towards home. Sometimes Fleming will join in, then he falls asleep at the switch and Auto takes over and then Perkins helps out when needed. We are quite the team. We have been through several rain squalls and are now squeaky clean. I have enjoyed sitting shirtless in the cockpit whittling for several hours.

A very exciting event will take place in the next 24 hrs. and that is we are sailing off one chart and on to another. The new chart is Tonga to the Tuamotus, one of my favourite charts. I have sailed across this chart three times previously and this time I am going north back Home. Sailing north across this chart will be challenging because of the variable winds, so very similar to today. I like these conditions as it is always harder to sail through variable winds than steady strong winds, but with the help of Fleming, Perkins and Auto we will get it done. This chart will take us to 07 degrees south latitude which is about 400 miles south of the equator. At the bottom it is 28 degrees south latitude about 400 miles south of Rarotonga. The distance across is about 2400 nautical miles so just over three weeks. Say around the beginning of January. That will bring us half way home from where we are now. Victoria is 5000 nautical miles from where I am now on a bearing of 22 degrees True.

Several Gadfly-Petrels around this afternoon, I think they maybe Cook’s petrels or Tahiti Petrels. Nice to see more birds. No Albatross for several days now.

The motion in these light conditions is very peaceful and gentle with no water over the deck AND things are drying out down below. I hope it’s clear tonight with the full moon. Back to the chain. I’m almost ready to start carving out the first link free.

 

Comments

  1. Melissa Anderson says:

    Reading of your encounters with sea birds, you might enjoy this story of the world’s oldest banded bird, a 66-year-old albatross who is hatching an egg, making her also the oldest known breeding sea bird. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/10/worlds-oldest-known-seabird-lays-an-egg-at-age-of-66
    AND …This is a link to a more detailed story on the old albatross. http://www.livescience.com/57177-oldest-mother-albatross-expecting-again.html

  2. Hi Glenn,
    The new bird is the Tropic bird, or Bosun Bird.
    Mike

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