Friday 30July Nereida on passage north - with red-footed booby as overnight hit

Friday 39th July 2010

Left Nawiliwili yesterday near sunset - after visiting Hokule'a - a polynesian double canoe (built 1974-75) visiting Kauai looking for future crew members.. No engine and only traditional navigation using sky and waves (but a transponder run by solar panels on board to keep track of them!) Got a very nice, big send-off (shell being blown!) as I passed by on my way out of harbour.

Departure was delayed by need to mend tear in sail where top batten broke on way north from NZ and by need to re-position and tighten nuts holding autopilot drive arm in place on rudder post. Only when inspected closely did I realize it had risen up on way from NZ - just when I thought that particular problem had been resolved. Also winches were checked over and one greased (it was dried out and squealing).

I'd refuelled and provisioned with Tom's help (K4XV) (he and his wife Suzanne have been very welcoming during my time here) and other help was given by nearby cruiser Charlie and Kauai 'ham' Jane (NH7TZ) - all very much appreciated by me. I must also mention help freely given by friendly Carl Andersson - a Swede who took my start battery up to Napa for charging when I found it flat on arriving back from a quick visit to UK. Once I'd changed the genset seawater pump (not as difficult as I'd feared it might be) and the engine start battery was replaced fully charged, I was then able to run the main engine to charge the domestic battery bank sufficiently to start the genset - which was then run for a long time to charge the batteries - and all because the 110V input to the boat from shorepower was not working in my absence as it should have been ... grrr!! Carl also kindly did an 'emergency epoxy repair' on the hull where I'd found bare concrete on the dock edge on coming in to Nawiliwili the previous time in the dark .... Thanks a lot , Carl.... And also Tom, Jane and Charlie.

Sailing conditions just now are highly variable - with occasional large rainclouds, we're going from light wind to strong wind - and I'm constantly having to resist the temptation to let out more canvas in the light winds and resulting very slow boatspeed...! I think I might finally have learned that lesson.... at least overnight....

Three weeks' passage is what I'm expecting to the Strait of Juan de Fuca which separates Canada (B.C.) from USA (Washington State) at the S end of Vancouver Island. But timing will be rather dependent on the position of the N.E. Pacific High pressure area - I have to sail around that, with maybe some motoring through or around the 'no-wind' middle if caught out by that.... Time will tell...

I thought I'd lost a red-footed booby which had decided to rest on the pulpit and preen itself at sunset - no mean feat keeping its balance on the metalwork in the big swell knocking us about. But I just noticed it had moved to nearer the cockpit (where the boat's motion is slightly less). It's quite handsome with all-white plumage, except for broad black wing tips, blue beak, black eyes and bright red legs & feet.

Written by : Mike

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