Wednesday 20th June 2012
We kept sailing quite well over the day, although overnight I'd had to use the motor for a time in light ENE winds to keep us heading NE rather than NW... We can't afford to lose any Easting just yet - in fact, I'd like more. With the ENE-E wind, I had to accept heading N at times, but we mainly managed to keep sailing NNE at ~ 5kt, albeit in slowly lessening wind. From E 10-12 kt at midday, it went down to N-NNE 4-5 kt near midnight .... definitely time for the 'iron sail', so we're now motoring again - a luxury I shan't be able to use in the calms when I head S later this year, when it'll be 'sail only' allowed!
We managed to avoid any strong convection. As sunset drew close, there was a dramatic band of rainclouds in the W, very close by, which we managed, despite being very close-hauled, to steer clear of - just! With the sun dropping behind the towering cumulus, it made for some great photos, especially with a slim, crescent new moon just visible for a very short time above a cloud top. If I can, I'll get a photo or two posted here - but that might be impossible just now - last time I tried my Iridium data connection, I couldn't get it working and I need it for the bigger files involved.
Saw several birds - a solitary Frigate bird, several boobies near sunset and a small land bird - on migration, I wondered? - seems an odd time of year for that, so maybe just a young one that had got lost? The atoll of Karoraina was 175ml away to the W, the Marquesas are just over 400 mls away to the ENE and the nearest Tuamotus just over 200 ml away to the SSE - so plenty of possibilities for land birds losing their way!
I enjoyed my cold leek and potato/Vichyssoise soup & had some Kudu biltong (dried S.African antelope meat - very tender and tasty!) with the soup later in the evening.
I had several contacts on the radio over the day. In the morning, I made contact with Tony's Net, on 14315kHz at around 2120GMT (11.20am here!), and during & after the Pacific Seafarers Net, on 14300 kHz at 0330-0415GMT, I had enjoyable chats with several people. I hadn't realized that 'Charisma' with four people on board, were also on their way to Hawaii - met Chris in Taina last week.
Thursday 21st June
Seas have slowly calmed down as the wind has died away.... Makes for a much easier life on board without the perpetual lurching in big seas, heeled over! It's calm enough that I decided to do a small wash of clothing - easily dried in cockpit in no time!
Found a goodsized flying fish on deck this morning -so they are around ... just not seeing the numbers in flight from predators that I'm used to seeing... Also spotted a shackle pin - fortnately not critical - came from shackle holding end of staysail pole in place on deck, so quickly and easily put back in place.
The downside of running the motor is the constant noise and heat generated, but there are definite bonuses - lots of power to run fans, for instance! I've one above my bunk and one at the chart table, partly directed on to the AIS to keep it a bit cooler - seems to be working in that it hasn't gone down since yesterday evening. I also don't have to keep my eye constantly on the computer power level nor on the battery-bank voltage reading, to make sure they're powered up OK.
Ofen, I've sat up in the shade in the cockpit, enjoying the fresh air - especially overnight... the stars are amazingly bright and I suddenly realized I could see the Great Bear well above the northern horizon (but not the N. Star!) and, turning my head just slightly, the Southern Cross, high up.
Honolulu weatherfaxes are showing fairly clear skies ahead for now.... no nasty convection or squalls to worry about...
DMG Wed: 104 n.ml ; Thurs: 97 n.ml.
Honolulu: 1982 n.ml. away at 2pm LT Thursday/0000GMT Friday.