Day 276 Fri-Sat 5-6 July 2019 GMT Tropic of Capricorn crossed - we're in the Tropics - but big, rough seas and strong Maramu wind continue.
Friday 8am LT (1800 GMT) Took a couple of photos in quick succession, and a video, of the big , impressively rough seas that keep picking us up and throwing us about as they come onto our beam.
3pm Every so often, it has calmed down a bit and I wonder if I should unfurl some more genoa - but then it soon gusts up again to near 30kt and I realise that would be a bad idea.
During a short lull in the wind, I got out some nice snacks to celebrate reaching the Tropics - crab pate on crackers, black Kalamata olives and (Saltspring!) feta cheese. All enjoyed seated safely on the leeward settee/bunk ...while the sky clouded over and it rained after a morning of bright sunshine. It's been rough now for so many days, I've lost count... and seas are set to continue tossing us around at just over 4m for another two days at least, with E-SE wind of 25-30 kt, as well.
The best, safest place to be is on or in my bunk - moving around the heeled, ever-lurching boat in these very big,rough seas is difficult, so kept to a minimum.
We passed Rurutu 15 miles off at mid-morning in bright sun and very big seas that regularly broke over the decks and washed over the hard top. I tried to avoid crossing directly over a seamount that was exactly in our path to the SE of the island because they usually generate rough seas in any bad weather - so maybe the seas were that much bigger around there, despite our detour.
We're now on our way towards Tahiti and Moorea - 2-3 days away.
About to have a short nap before Pacific Seafarers Net check-in at 0310Z (5:10pm LT)
Sunset Soon after dark, just caught a glimpse of the setting crescent moon as it peeked out from behind low cloud in the W.
Was thinking, yet again, about unfurling the genoa some more - but then the wind gusted up, so changed my mind... It's been really gusty today - and not obviously due to clouds passing overhead.
Finally discarded the last fleece tops! Even felt warm enough this evening to switch on a small fan at the chart table to cool down a touch. We're in the Tropics for sure now, with sea temperature well up and nearing 30C/86F - a lot higher than air temperature.
11pm It's just possible that the wind might be lessening. Boat speed has been down a lot this evening, although wind has still been gusting up to near 30kt from time to time. Tempted to unfurl just a small amount more genoa. (Later - wind well up again with rain - glad I didn't!)
Have had a nice celebratory evening - relaxed to music, with a ready-prepared meal plus a tiny amount of red wine and some chocolate afterward. Also enjoyed chatting to quite a few different people on ham radio (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and USA) and cruiser Nets in Fiji and French Polynesia.
Really pleased with the main batteries - not only are they now accepting plenty of charge when I run the diesel generator (which I've not needed to do for three days now) but also, with Superwind wind generator's big input in present strong wind, voltage is regularly over 13V - excellent!
Saturday 5am LT (1500 GMT) Wind is still up around 24kt or more, and we're making 4-5 kt under a dark sky - no moon to light up the scene just now. Bouncing around with occasional wave breaking onto starboard side deck - a lot of noise and a lurch to port...
6:45am Daylight - just before sunrise with quite a lot of cloud around, some of it a thin layer. Seas are impressively big at over 4m - a lot of them at 4-5 seconds interval with a few at 8 seconds interval. Most seem to be coming from E, with some smaller ones from ESE-SE, so making for rough seas, moving us around a lot and still occasionally washing the decks as one catches our beam. Wind is from E - still mainly at well over 20kt, gusting to over 25kt. We're heading just E of N (009T) so rather heading into the seas and apparent wind, which slows us down. Sea temperature has risen to just over 30C/86F and cabin/air temp is 23C.
7:15am Sun has got out from behind low clouds. Seas have frequent large foam patches on their surface from where a crest was tumbling and breaking a little - nothing too threatening. Pressure has been slowly dropping over recent days and has now reached 1018hPa - well down on the high of last week.
Unfurled more genoa - finally! Wind is around 20kt mostly and speed has been nearer 4kt than 5kt - now making 4.5kt. If wind stays down will shake out the third reef but will check latest weather forecast first.
Was pleased to see the main halyard is not caught around a mast step, as I thought yesterday - either I was mistaken or it freed itself. Either way, it's good news and a big relief.
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.
It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!
1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 276. We made 111 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.
Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 276 (by daily DMGs): 22,536 n.ml.
Distances (at 1900GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 1887 n.ml. to SW; Tahiti: 202 n.ml. to NNE; Honolulu: 2562 n.ml. to NNW
Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 20-53.56S LONGITUDE: 150-46.28W
COURSE: 009T SPEED: 5.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 24kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 4.2m CLOUDS: 80%
BARO: 1018.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 24.7C SEA_TEMP: 30.2C
COMMENT: Seas still impressively big and rough. Sunny despite cloud.