Sunday 11am LT (Sun 2100 GMT) A lot of cloud around still but sun getting out well - cabin temperature is now 27C/80F. Seas still big - but they're expected to die down slowly over today and tomorrow, with the lighter wind. Still getting decks washed by occasional tumbling wave.
Changed course slightly a short while ago - to 011T, to head a bit closer to Moorea in case there's a possibility of making use of its lee for mainsail repair (leech torn near the head, above repaired sections which are looking fine, so far). That depends on timing, since can't easily do the work in darkness (nor in any fair-sized swell) and expect to pass by the island near to, or just before, dawn tomorrow.
About to run generator - really only to run water-maker which runs on 12V and so runs off batteries, but I prefer not to run down the batteries if I can avoid it.
Looking forward to more sleep soon...
5:30pm Sun is getting close to sunset - bright but hazy deep yellow glare of sun behind low cloud in W. Seas are a little less than previously - nearer 3.5m/11ft than the 4-4.5m/14ft of yesterday - and they're not so rough, so a little bit easier to move around now.
Got really busy in galley earlier - eventually finished clearing everything left over from last few rough days. Got going on preparing a meal - and then suddenly remembered - no propane coming to galley burners just now - need to change propane tanks over for gas to supply line to galley - so hurried change of plan... Ended with quick and easy shrimps with mayonnaise, having had to throw overboard a can of tuna I'd opened but quickly realised was no good - so I fed the fishes!
Had a good nap and have just changed into shorts and T-shirt - Yay!! I'm definitely feeling warm now and often turn on the small fan over the chart table - nice to get a slight breeze there with cabin at nearly 28C/82F.
8pm The HF/SSB radio is so good for making contact with people! Tonight I was delighted to be able to chat to friends from two different boats - one of which I'd not seen for 3 years or more but suddenly heard their boat name mentioned by someone else - so we ended up making contact. Another friend sent greetings from California via a boat on a cruisers' Net I'm checking into daily just now, having heard I was here. All would have been impossible without the radio on board - no satphone could have possibly enabled those three unexpected contacts! I'm also chatting daily to amateur radio friends... Am I lonely? Not at all!
10pm Cloud has mostly cleared away to give bright stars everywhere... The moon is shining brightly over the sea - its path of silver light leading to Nereida across the waves.
I've been trying to slow us down while heading more towards Moorea - a contradiction since either we can slow down but not get as close or we can go faster to stand more chance of making our upwind course and getting closer in - difficult both to slow down and still sail close to the wind to a point just NW of Moorea... So I'm not very optimistic that my plan to repair the mainsail leech tear in the lee of Moorea and Tahiti will work out - 50/50 chance at best, maybe. I'll know better come dawn - not just from our position then but also from seeing both the sea state and also the wind direction and strength.
If the sail can't be repaired now, it will have to wait for another time when the wind will have died down along with the seas - in or close to the Doldrums/ITCZ perhaps? That's some distance away.
Time to sleep with alarm set...
11:30pm Really being thrown around by seas - wind has died down a bit but seas take a lot longer...
Monday 6:15am LT/Tahiti time (Mon 1615 GMT) First light before sunrise. We're stopped 9ml SW of NW corner of Moorea and just over 10 ml due W of S end of the island. Wind 4-5kt from ESE - not enough to keep sailing on course... About to furl in genoa and lower mainsail to try to repair tear(s) - sunrise shortly - will cover up my legs and arms from the sun...
6:40am Sunrise over Moorea to E... Drifting and going around in circles with wheel lashed, looking over sail - a couple of more small tears seen on sail stowed on boom near cockpit - easy access to patch them but sail damp at present.
7am Wind has got up again - 8-10kt from ESE. Unfurled genoa and have just got underway again in direction of point well NW of Moorea, hoping for less swell and less wind, so a better lee than here - not very good so far, with quite a good swell running, making it very rolly. Making around 3kt. Fingers crossed...
8:30am Wind didn't last long - died again and we're drifting a bit too close towards to the reef for comfort while only 3-4 ml off. Can't possibly get on with work until I'm sure we're clear of the reef... Creeping at under 1 kt so will take a time...
Maybe I can begin to get other, smaller jobs done in the meantime.
Just not feeling at all comfortable although I think we'll clear it OK if our course stays the same - but just a bit too close for comfort... keep thinking: what if our course while drifting 'not under command' changes more towards the E...?
Can see small fishing boats on AIS outside the reef - mostly moving very little while they fish. A lot of hazy, thin cloud spreading out from Moorea's interior and high mountains but fairly bright. Warm and humid.
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 278. We made 96 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Slow for several hours this morning.
Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 278 (by daily DMGs): 22,744 n.ml.
Distances (at 1900GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2047 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 23 n.ml. to E; Honolulu: 2372 n.ml. to NNW
Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 17-32.60S LONGITUDE: 149-59.36W
COURSE: 030T SPEED: 1.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 5kt WIND_DIR: ESE SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 50%
BARO: 1015.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 33.0C
COMMENT: Drifting W of NW pt of Moorea, 4 ml off.