Tales from the Pacific Day 21

Friday 1st April

April Fool Thoughts
So day 21 -three weeks at sea. It doesn’t seem that long in many ways yet in others it is hard to recall not doing this! April Fools Day- we are probably the biggest ones around here. No correct that we are the only ones around here!. Are we foolish bobbing around in a lump of plastic literally a thousand miles from anywhere?

This is one of the longest if not the longest tradewind passage anyone can make. It is probably made by fewer boats than people make ascents of Everest each year. Captain James Cook sailed this very route in the eighteenth century as we are made well aware of every time we look at the chart with all names he gave to islands etc. Not a lot has changed since those early voyages; improvements in navigation with GPS rather than a sextant so we actually know where we are rather than waiting for days on end for the cloud to clear, tinned food rather than saltbeef and ships biscuits and reverse osmosis water makers rather than rainwater catchment.

Rough Seas
The seas are rougher in the ESE F5 that has been blowing more or less constantly since the early hours of yesterday morning. Two nasty new movements to keep us on our toes.In the first a larger than average swell(ie around 2m high) catches Temptress’ beam as she rolls back to windward coming off a previous one resulting in a huge slap of water on the hull; it is a two second warning for whoever is in the cockpit then they are spattered in salt spray at best with the dodger and sprayhood taking the brunt, or soaked in a deluge that comes over the top as well as along the side deck.

The second is a large top to a swell higher than the rest which if it meets Temptress’ port quarter lifts the stern and pushes us over to leeward a la broach so that the rudder & keel no longer have a firm grip on the water and we skid off madly over on our ear before violently rolling upright and beyond to windward as the errant swell having passed under us rushes onward to the north east. Woe betide anyone who has a locker open or is poised to take a step with something in one hand as it hits. George the autopilot seems to take it all in his stride!

As of noon today another small step in the right direction- today’s plot on the North Pacific Ocean South Eastern Part admiralty chart was a pencil lead width from the fold which is at 120 degree W. The paper chart has now been turned over and Temptress is making progress along the lower left hand quarter with the Marquesas situated approximately halfway across, centered on 140 degrees west. We also bore away to 260greemagnetic to be pointing more or less at our Hiva Oa way point. It is all downhill from here!

PS: the coconut ice is a sickly sweet treat though the use of coconut flakes rather than the usual dessicated stuff gives it an interesting chewy texture. Crew moral is much improved as it makes a change with our afternoon tea.

Noon to noon: through the water 151nm over the ground 164nm
Noon position: 09 01.92S 119 57.95W
Distance to go: 1112nm