Friday 25th May 2012 (GMT)
Daytime saw the wind slowly back into the SE from SSW. With the genoa poled out, we were sailing nicely, goose-winged overnight and into morning - but with the wind backing, I soon had to take the sail over to our port side, off the pole, and not long afterwards, took the pole down and stowed it. Looking at fresh grib weather files, we were clearly not going to need it again for a time.
Really mixed wind tonight - just had a squall to 29knots from 17kt ...and then down to 12 kt .. more rain & wind...... wind died .. now up again - 22kt... all from a passing raincloud close by ... and all in a matter of minutes! Shortly before, I'd suddenly realized that the wind had died right away - to less than 8 kt... we were drifting around until I got to the wheel, but up the wind came up again, soon after.
It's been quite a rough day - seas up slightly but lots of wind waves on top of the main swell - so moving us about a lot with the occasional bigger wave knocking into us...
There was a lovely sunset below gathering raiclouds... and this afternoon, I saw a pair of white-chinned petrels sgain - as yesterday. No further sightimgs of the juvenile albatross of the other day - too far N , I suppose - and the sea temperature is 30C now - way up compared with the Southern Ocean.
Tonight I had my usual contact with Meri of Bluff Fishermen's Radio - I heard they're having an Oyster Festival this weekend - sounds delicious!! (Bluff is right down at the S end of NZ's S. Island, just N of Stewart Island - storrmy weather seems to be the norm there!)
The forecast Low ahead of us is definitely developing... My main worry is that it will move SE so quickly that we'll be left without much time to head East in the NW-W winds it will produce and we'll end up almost becalmed next week, later being headed, once the SE Trades re-establish themselves.. Can't afford to get too far N just now if we hope to reach Tahiti, to repair the autopilot amd genset before continuing on.
DMG today to 0100 GMT was 138 n.ml. - good sailing yesterday and overnight. Present position is approximately 24S, 167W. We're 465 n.ml. SE of the small island of Niue and just under 1100 n.ml. SW of Tahiti (Pape'ete)
Today's weather/position report at 0100 GMT:
LATITUDE: 24-49.16S LONGITUDE: 167-25.70W
COURSE: 015T SPEED: 6.0 kt
WIND_SPEED: 22 WIND_DIR: 125
SWELL_DIR: SE SWELL_HT: 2.5m
SWELL_PER: 10s CLOUDS: 30%
BARO: 1016 TREND: -1 SEA_TEMP: 30.0C