Day-to-day life aboard our yacht.

 

 

Vanuatu to the Marshall Islands

 

 

At 10/9/2011 and 18:59 UTC (GMT) our position was: 0035.06'N / 17230.51'E.

We were traveling 354T degrees true at 3.0 knots.

Fourteen days this morning and all continues to be well. We celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary on October 8th and it was a lovely day together as a family with bright sunshine and brisk sailing. Who could ask for nicer gift?

Everyone is sleeping soundly though there is never enough time for that. Without a doubt, the hardest thing of all is to wake up after only three hours of sound sleep to assume watch. It's hard to fathom exactly where time goes on passage but it simply evaporates, especially while bashing when the time required for every chore is extended due to the boat's motion. As for maintenance, we've had to replace bits of our Monitor windvane control lines due to chafe and our PSS shaft seal was chattering yesterday - that was a concern - but Philip seemed to get it fixed by snugging up on the collar a bit.

We crossed the equator at 1925 local time last night for the sixth time. Didn't make that big a deal of it (Leslie slept through the event) but Philip dutifully offered a dollop of (ni-Van) rum to Neptune and asked his blessing.

Before we're done our slow passage will be at least 1500 miles. It's been a great exercise in sailing though - every little tweak to optimize our performance really shows when you have light winds and about 1.5 knots of current setting you 30 degrees west. Thankfully Carina likes windward work. GRIBS, if they can be believed, show SE winds coming up over the next few days...here's hoping they see us all the way to Majuro.

To be honest, we've had wonderful weather and the moon should be full in a couple of days, so the waxing moonlight of the last week or so, has been glorious.

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At 10/6/2011 and 17:39 UTC (GMT) our position was: 0303.92'S / 17226.34'E.

We were traveling 023T degrees true at 2.7 knots.

The sky is just beginning to show a soft glow to the east at 5 am local time on Friday the 7th of October, 2011. The stars are beginning to fade and with them, the constellation Carina to the SE. A non-threatening black blob of cloud streams up into the sky from the horizon. The predominant sound is the shooshing of the waves on the hull as we are pushing gently through the swell, seemingly dragging the current with us as we move along slowly with light winds. Approaching 03 south and 11 days out of Sola, Vanuatu, it feels as if Majuro is still a great distance away, and at this speed it is. The equator, at just over 180 miles distant, seems like a goal we can better envision achieving that should give us at least a smidgen of satisfaction.

Philip is asleep on the port settee behind me, safely snuggled in behind the lee cloth while Jake is resting on the rug nearby, looking for me to stroke his back while he has a snack. The coming of morning at sea always seems to bring about in me a sense of contentment. It's hard to explain why this is so, but it's the reason the dawn watch is generally mine.

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At 10/3/2011 and 23:44 UTC (GMT) our position was: 0652.00'S / 17154.18'E.

We were traveling 017T degrees true at 3.4 knots.

It's been a challenging passage, mostly because it's all to windward with side-setting currents and very confused seas. All is well, though when the winds get up in the 20s, it's a challenge to cook or move about while bashing. We're all sleeping and eating well, even Jake. The motion of the boat at the main salon settee, where we hot-bunk, is minimal. The wind generator and solar panels are keeping up with our dying batteries and we're keeping the frozen food frozen to boot.

The boat is encrusted in salt; hopefully we'll get a good soaking rain soon. Carina is doing very well, she likes to go to windward, thankfully, though we are continuing to struggle to not concede any easting while keeping her reefed down in preparation for the possibility of another 40 knot+ squall. We lost a bit of our easting last night making a wide circle around a seemingly-stationary factory trawler (of which we've seen four so far).

We've had mostly fine weather though squall clouds come by at least several times a day or mostly at night, making things challenging. The wind is beginning to get warm as we approach the equator again. We're thinking of possibly stopping in Tarawa. It's not a garden spot but it's might be a good spot to stop for a rest and tour a few historic sites before pushing on.

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At 9/30/2011 and 22:16 UTC (GMT) our position was: 1159.44'S / 17101.00'E.

We were traveling 036T degrees true at 4.9 knots.

 

Real wind found us last night and we made great progress north and east to shoot through a slot between Fatutaka Is. and Pandora Reef.

The sun is out and everyone is doing well, even Jake who is venturing out into the cockpit for the occasional belly rub.

In about 17 miles, we'll fall off and head towards Tarawa about 800 miles NNE and east of Majuro by about sixty miles. Here we could stop for fuel if we needed it, or to wait out NE winds, should they develop.

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Wednesday Sept 28, 2011 (local date)

At 9/27/2011 and 23:40 UTC (GMT) our position was: 1243.45'S / 16901.96'E.

We were traveling 051T degrees true at 3.0 knots.

We left Sola, Vanua Lava in Vanuatu two days ago and are heading to Majuro (Marshall islands) to meet an ocean shipment of batteries. It's about 1300 + miles north east into the wind and across currents. It's been a slow couple of days of light winds and moderate but confused seas. We've been slogging hard to weather (such as it is) against a NW setting current so we can get as far east as Tarawa as soon as we can. The reason being that by the time we reach 10 S, winds are expected to be strictly E or NE with a west setting current for the rest of the trip. We've had only a couple of squalls, only distant lightning, and are hoping for SE trades to fill in.

Everything is working fine, now that we got air out of our engine fuel lines, but our batteries are seriously toasted. Shut off the fridge last night and this a.m. the amp usage monitor (Link 10) indicated we were down only 17 amps but the voltage of our house bank was 11.3! We can charge via the portable gas generator or the engine (in addition to the solar panels and wind generator) but we have to be conscious of every drop of gasoline and diesel because it could be a long trip.

There is no moon but the starlight has been lovely. Sirius is especially brilliant, shimmering bright colors that are visible without magnification.

We've seen no ships, fishing vessels, or sea life, though we had a lovely charcoal colored sea bird land on our solar panel for a rest the first night out. Didn't seem afraid of us at all. After a few minutes, Jake somehow knew it was there and came out to stalk. We had to shoo the bird away so Jake wouldn't jump over board trying to get it.