Passage making monotony

Thursday was grey and overcast with some occasional rain. By now the routine of ocean passage making has taken root; the three hour off watches are being slept soundly through and we take turns to doze or nap during the day to make up for any lack over night. Passage making is tedious, two people only awake together at meals and a few hours during daylight. There were moments early in this one when I felt like never again my body wasn’t settling to the rhythm of the seas, mainly because this being the Pacific the swells were all over the place; my head felt fuzzy, my stomach queasy for hours on end. I’d go to bed, sleep restlessly and awake the mal de mer gone temporarily but tired beyond exhaustion and by the end of a watch feeling as rough as ever.

Eventually I got through a watch and realised I felt tired but finally still clear headed. The seas had been calmer, I’d managed to read a little and finally my body was learning to fit in with the rhythms of life at sea again. The little tasks like bread making, cooking meals became less of a challenge and I even cut out the two sets of six stars for the Aussie courtesy flag. It had taken four wretched days to get to a state of enjoying life on passage. 

The biggest decisions are what to eat partly to ensure AQIS have little to confiscate and partly because having tuna for supper every night has lost its appeal. Lunch was sweet corn fritters (one can of creamed corn mixed with some flour and seasoning to form a stiff doughy batter, a simple recipe gleaned from Hannah and Wendy during our time on Makogai) served with mango chutney and fresh tomato. Supper a mutton curry made from a tin of Fijian corned mutton bought in Vanuatu; interesting meat very tasty but with all the visual appeal of cat food. Hopefully AQIS won’t deprive us of the other tins.

The only event of the day was half an hour on the foredeck sorting out the spinnaker halyard that came loose the other night. It had managed to catch itself across the top of the furling gear and posed a potential threat if we needed to put the gennie away in a hurry. Kevin slowly furled the sail with me on the foredeck keeping an eye on progress at the top of the forestay, it went away without a problem. We left the pole out. I took the halyard end from where it had ended up on the starboard side and passed it around the front of the forestay. Looking up as I started to secure it in its rightful place at the bottom of a port side shroud I realised it was still the wrong side of the pole uphaul which stretched out from some twenty feet up the mast over the sea to the outer end of the pole. Kevin came forward and released the uphaul a bit so I could reach it and pass the halyard over. It all sounds easy but in a 2 metre swell the crew need one hand for themselves so only one free hand for the job. Once sorted the gennie was reset goose winged on the pole and Temptress settled down to a more balanced rocking and rolling once again.

At supper time not one but two large ships crossed from north to south just ahead of us. The first really big shipping probably since Panama, a quick peek at the chart by the skipper and we guessed they were enroute from China to southern Australia or New Zealand. Neither responded to our radio calls.

Friday dawn the wind was still blowing F4-6 occ 6 from the east or east south east but yesterdays clouds have gone, blue skies and sunshine are back. Temptress is averaging almost 6.5 knots with the jib poled out so the miles are tumbling by. We could shake out a reef or unfurl more gennie and go faster still but the boat and her crew are comfortable as it is and making better than planned progress so why worry. There are two hundred miles to go to our Sand Cay waypoint but before we get there we need to gybe (turn the boats stern through the wind so it is on the starboard side, meaning the sails have to swap sides) as currently Temptress is on a course of 250 degrees magnetic heading into the maze of reefs and shallows south of the waypoint. 
Ships log Thursday 8 September: noon position 16 18.21 S 155 23.46E 758nm