Tales from the Pacific Day 23

Sunday April 3

Birthday greetings from the Pacific to Brian! Hope you had a great day.

The days really are starting to merge into one another. On the 4-7am watch this morning I made bread to be thermal cooked by lunchtime, seems to be part of the routine on alternate days when I’m on this watch. Had a bit of a mad moment later though after breakfast with a sink full of dirty dishes; first when moving the thermal cooker from its usual in use in a rough sea safe perch in the other galley sink managed to knock the tap on with the spout over the work surface. Doh!
Flooded the place in just a few seconds and it leaks into the cubbyhole behind the stove.

Then, having wedged the aforesaid cooker on the floor between the saloon seating with a beach blanket, Temptress gave a fairly violent roll to starboard and the cooker fell over behind where I was standing at the sink spilling its contents – near boiling water. Fortunately most of it was soaked up by the blanket or disappeared down between the boards into the bilge, my feet somehow avoided a scalding. Sorted it out with a few impolite exclamations, reboiled the water and the eventual loaf was fine if a little damper than usual as its baking tin is not completely water tight. Washing up got left till it was cooked and the galley floor had an unscheduled clean.

Overnight the wind backed to the East and dropped off a bit so now F3-4
E’ly. I headed up 20degrees or so during my 10pm-1am to keep some pressure in the sails, otherwise the skipper calls out from his bunk instructing a sail trim! So have been making a course of 240 rather than 260 – the sailors dilemma sail well in the wrong direction or bob around slower in the right one! But hey ho Hiva Oa still bears 257 degrees magnetic as it has done forever. This is partly because as we sail west the magnetic variance has been increasing by one degree east with every 50 degrees or so of longitude. Now at 10-11 degrees of variation which will remain like this as we approach The Marquesas according to the Admiralty chart. The noon run was a bit disappointing after the last couple of days but it is still progress in the right direction. The skipper described the distance left to run as like a Fastnet plus a bit! Certainly it seems to be reducing fast.

Later we poled out the genoa so Temptress is goosewinged (a sail on either side) and managed to make around 270 degrees. Nice to have a relatively flat boat as the seas have gone down with the easing wind. Speed varied during the day from five knots to six and back again then to well over six. Starting to plan our arrival – needs to be in daylight as though Baie Taaoa (Traitors Bay) is fairly straightforward the anchorage Baie Tahauku lies within it on its eastern side and has a narrow unlit entrance. All our pilot guides advise that we will need a stern anchor to hold the bow into the swell.And we need to spot the yellow markers that indicate the boundary of the no anchoring zone that gives the island’s supply ship room to turn into its berth on the wharf. All of which predicates a daylight arrival so we may need to slow down to ensure one but it will almost certainly be Friday or Saturday.

Stock take
Have made an inventory of all the tins remaining in our “month 1” crate and used that as a basis for the coming week’s menu; the aim is to eat reasonably balanced meals and spread the more favoured items like olives out through the course of the remainder of this passage. Hopefully we won’t end up with a meal of a Fray Bentos pie (there are two only a tad out of date) and haricot blancs a la tomate; for one thing I don’t think either of us could bear having the oven on in this heat (around 30 degrees both above and below decks).

Very conveniently caught our first fish in days in time for tonight’s supper. Had just commented that the boobie that flew around us was the first we’d seen in ages and therefore must mean there are some fish around, the reel screamed out. Blue fin tuna straight from sea to pan; much more inspiring than the tin of chicken in white sauce planned. Pan fried fillets in garlic butter then made a citrus sauce with the juices plus a splash of white wine and some lime juice, served over mash with steamed cabbage. Even our cabbage stocks are dwindling – just one and three quarters left.

All well on board if getting a little tired as sleep has been difficult these last few nights due to the rougher seas.

Noon to noon: through the water 138nm, over the ground 149nm Noon position: 09 41.82S 124 48.89W
Distance to go: 797nm

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