Crossing the Coral Sea Thurs/Fri 5/6 July07

Thursday was a real 'ambling' day. The wind, having filled in strongly over Tuesday night, gradually died down over Wed ... & kept on dying, so most of today has been really light - - motored twice for a couple of hours, when speed got down to 2.5-3.5 knots!

Gave me the chance to play with storm staysail on newly-positioned inner forestay - getting prepared for possible use in Indian Ocean, if not before!! Was taken aback to find a split pin lying on deck beside the foot of the stay - had come out of a clevis pin... how?? Needed to knock clevis pin back in place with hammer before replacing pin. Then I had to fiddle about with the sheet leads rather.... in the end, abandoned the cars and lead the sheets instead via block on midship cleat to jammer
& block on quarter & thence onto cockpit winch - works fine. With the wind just abaft the beam, the apparent wind is just for'd of the beam - so keeping stays'l up for time being to see how it goes. First time I've sailed "Nereida" with cutter rig! With full genoa and full main in 14kn of breeze, we were making about 6 knots - so was better than earlier in the day. I've also been thinking that Trades in Indian Ocean could well give same point of sail as I'm getting on this passage. Strikes me
that I won't be poling out the genoa on this passage... wind is too far forward and likely to stay so.

Been looking over food stores, thinking of Aussie Quarantine regulations - have pate (3 tins from Tahiti), meat and cheese to finish or get confiscated. So it's pate to have with fresh bread bought in Luganville for lunches (with cheese & biscuits when pate finished), had duck a l'orange (Tahiti) for dinner Wed night, have 2 tins of beef - to make curry or stew, with lime & mango pickles I still have, and will make a chilli con carne with the tin of mince still left... easily enough 'lazy' dinners
there until I arrive in Cairns and that's not touching the eggs I have and a bit of fresh meat I've still got in fridge - I'll be forced either to chuck excess overboard (before reaching Aussie waters!) or let them feel good and confiscate it from me..! Think I could well put on weight over this passage.....! Enough pamplemousse for three more b'fasts - they're gorgeous! And christophene for munching on between times....as in Mexico & Caribbean - light green pear-shaped object, white & crunchy
inside with very big flat 'seed', normally cut and skin peeled away. Can be cooked as veg, but I prefer it raw - makes a nice salad.

Have already contacted Aussie Customs by email to give notice I'm arriving next week! (You have to let them know of imminent arrival at least 96 hrs in advance)

I'm looking forward to Cairns - but I've so much to do boat-wise, I'm just hoping I'll get to enjoy the place itself before I must leave on the 24th for Darwin!! I've been emailing my cousin & people in Cairns trying to organize so many different things in advance of getting there, to make sure they all stand some chance of getting done within the time-frame I've set!!

Been chasing minute ants from Vuda Point, Fiji, again - had hoped recent heavy rain and seas crashing onto deck would have drowned them - but they obviously found a couple of protected places - and with sun today and yesterday, they've been out & about foraging...

Well, the wind suddenly picked up again just after I wrote my midday Friday log. I'd noticed an incresed southerly swell had suddenly appeared, it having been pleasantly smooth over the morning, so I had to reef the mains'l (just one reef at present in F4-5 winds: 17kn, gusting 20kn) and furl in the genoa a touch - may put a 2nd reef in mains'l if wind increases any more towards nightfall - but in meantime we're making much better speed than overnight and this morning!

24 hr distances run to midday (by log): 128/130 n.ml.

Friday midday (EST) posn: 16 10'S, 158 02'E Distance to Cairns: 728 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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