Tales from the Pacific Day 27

The weather gods aren’t letting us off lightly or making the final days of this passage easy. At the point where we expected to be counting down in hours Temptress is desperately trying to achieve over 6 knots over the ground despite a half a knot current. A tedious night altering course or tending sails or both. The wind has been light and variable; we shook both reefs out in quick succession yesterday afternoon which we should have realised was a sign of things to come and the wind has been anything from F1 to F5 from the NE to SE overnight.

By 06:30am we have 233 nm to run to the anchorage in Hiva Oa. The optimist would love to arrive tomorrow but the realist says with the present wind conditions Saturday is a better target. However our old friend the South Equatorial Current or his close relative the South Sub-tropical Current is back giving us a 0.75knot push westwards.

The battery monitor must have overheard our mutterings as mysteriously during yesterday afternoon it sorted itself out and decided the batteries are 100% charged after all. A relief for the skipper who worries about these things; the first mate has a more ostrich mentality to things beyond her ken and doesn’t fret at all.

During the afternoon and evening the fickle wind dropped off to an only just F3 from the E or ESE and Temptress struggled to make even 5knots under full sail. We resigned ourselves to a Saturday dawn arrival ,slightly piqued that at some point we’d have to heave to offshore and wait for the sun to come up before approaching the land. The south coast is clearly marked on the chart as unsurveyed for at least half a mile off shore so we need to be able to see where we are!

A large mahi mahi took our lure late afternoon and after some struggle we reeled it in close enough to see its large greeny yellow head. It spotted the stern of the boat approaching and in one last struggle took flight leaving us empty handed. No idea of its true size but if that head was anything to go by our little icebox would have been packed full of fishy suppers.

The Pacific knitting project is coming on in leaps and bound; even faster now I’ve virtually read everything on board. The central triangle of my half hap is now complete, the edge loops picked up and the foundation rows for the Shetland Old Shale lace pattern are done. I have even completed a few rows of the lace itself though as I’ve done so changed my mind yet again about the order of the colours for the stripes several times!

Noon to noon: through the water 129nm over the ground 145nm Noon position: 09 37.01S 135 44.25W
Distance to run: 178nm