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Tim and Cath's most excellent adventure
3,650 miles sailed since Panama, 365 miles to go!
04/24/2013

Can't believe we're about to make landfall on our first South Sea island. Hoping to be in by about Saturday. Fact is, we like Pacific sailing. It's been mainly gentle but useful breezes, mainly sunny, mainly reasonable amounts of swell and mainly from regular directions, and, best of all, mainly squall free.

And look - I even caught a decent sized skipjack tuna! I'd been catching mainly 3 or 4 portion sized mahi-mahi, and so had down spec'd my gear. Then this bad boy and his mate hit the 2 lures I was trolling simultaneously. His mate exploded the rig instantly and made off with my favourite rapala. This one did a back flip and got the line round his tail. That meant he was able to apply full boost to his run directly away from the boat. Finally came to a reluctant halt 350 yards out with about 15 turns left on the reel - and flatly refused to come back. We had a 2 hour stand-off, which only ended, as you can see, after dark. However, we've now had him BBQd (it was very calm that evening), fish fingered, and the rest I've confit'd in oil in kilner jars, processed in the pressure cooker (you can get so much more done while sailing in the Pacific!).

Few jobs to do on the boat, but nothing really. The old shed has stood up very well indeed - and I think she'll have turned in an average of 120 miles a day across the 4,000 miles of Pacific, including crossing the equator and the doldrums, so not too shabby for an overweight old girl. Mast still right side up and nothing waving about - thanks yet again to Andy P of Allspars. Helicopter landing pad still ready to receive incoming aircraft - thanks as usual to Jase, in spite of calling the Great Ship a shed (only I'm allowed to do that!)

Pics and arrival confirmation within minutes of dropping hook, I promise.

04/25/2013 | Al
Not bad - you were bound to catch one fish somehow in the Pacific. Must have been dazed and confused after hitting the keel of your shed! I guess Tuna is a move upmarket from Mahi Mahi. Enjoy the next few days to N H.
04/26/2013 | Pierre & Hazel
You're looking very rosy-cheeked, Tim Is that in anticipation of your impending man-sized slurp of a cocktail served in a pineapple-flavoured bucket? Incidentally - do the girls on Nuku Hiva wear grass skirts by any chance and if so, did you remember to pack the lawnmower? Pleased to hear that you are enjoying the delights of sailing the Southern Seas - you lucky bxxxxrs. Just so you two can really gloat, the temperature here today is half of what it was yesterday. Deep joy. Have fun.
04/26/2013 | Jase & Son
Are you both taking metamorphsis drugs? Cath no longer likes like the one we remember (peroxide blonde hair) and you Tim - actually you now look a hell of a lot like Richard Branson in this picture. xx
Completely exhausted!
04/17/2013

After the best part of two weeks sitting/lying in the position shown in the last photo, I decided it was time for a change, so I moved to the other side of the cockpit for a while......that was enough activity for one day.
Since we've "come off the wind" (a technical term for having the wind a bit further behind us for our non-sailor, which is much more comfortable) life on board has improved. We still need to be strapped to the sink to wash up, but I'm pleased to report that the loo situation has improved. We don't need the ropes, winches or pullies anymore..... We can sleep better and have been able to lie in a more normal position now, as opposed to the well known ocean-sailor "starfish" pose.
The trade winds are well established with a light to moderate breeze pushing us along and hot sunshine to power up the solar panels. Its been a real treat not to have to run the engine to charge the batteries every day like we had to in the grey Atlantic crossing. It seems every 3/4 days is sufficient which saves us a lot of fuel.
It's about this sort of time into a trip that we are at most risk of developing cabin fever and I'm afraid to report a sudden outbreak just last night. Every evening at about 5.30 we settle down for a sundowner and discuss the day's activities (this doesn't take too long..) Last night we were talking about winter evenings in the UK and this lead me on to Strictly Come Dancing. We then spent the next hour discussing who would be the best person to replace Sir Brucie if he didn't come back this autumn.... I told you cabin fever is dangerous..it can lead you anywhere..
Anyway we recovered quite quickly but it was a stark warning. We got out our cruising pilots and guide books to the Sout Pacific to refocus and our equilibrium (and sanity!) was restored thankfully.
As I write we should only have about another 8 days, hoping to arrive next Thursday/ Friday, obviously wind dependent. We've opted to go to Nuku Hiva which is supposed to be the most beautiful island and spend about 10 days there. We'll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary ( good lord..) exploring the island and generally sorting out the boat and fixing a few things. Tim is particularly looking forward to his first cocktail served in a pineapple with an umbrella in it. I can taste it already.......
So there you have it. At present all seems well on the great ship HM (my fingers are firmly crossed) Tim has caught two good size Mahi Mahi and I've lost count how many books I've read, so we're both quite content! Will blog again when we have some photos of Nuku Hiva ......bring it on!
TTFN xxx
ps we never did decide who would be best to take over from Brucie....

04/17/2013 | Al
Talking about winter evenings in the UK - are you home sick???? A brief summary as you seem to have forgotten:
Traffic jams on school run; freezing cold for weeks on end but no mountains to ski on; appalling television programmes (such as Strictly) with the obvious exception of MasterChef......... Fortunately my very own MasterChef makes up for the rubbish TV with some exceptional cooking.

If I were you I would concentrate on what lies ahead in Nuku Hiva on those sultry evenings....!
04/18/2013 | SUE
Glad to hear you're still okey dokey. I've just finished The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - which was really good if you are running out of things to download. Life after Life by Kate Atkinson also a good read. TTFN xxx London Marathon on Sunday so fingers crossed for good weather - certainly don't want any wind!
04/18/2013 | Pierre & Hazel
Sounds incredibly exotic, slurping a cocktail served in a pineapple with an umbrella in it. Don't know how big the pineapples are on Nuku Hiva, but if it helps Tim enjoy a real man-sized slurp, we have a moth-eaten golf brolly going spare which you are very welcome to have! As previously questioned - where on earth does Tim find all these leggy blondes? Seems life on HM has certain advantages! If Bruce Forsyth has become your topic of conjecture and conversation, then you must be in a bad way. Stick to the fishing! Take care. Oh, and a very happy 25th. anniversary.
04/19/2013 | Jane
Philip Schofield!
04/19/2013 | andy P
Well you guys are clearly struggling with all that hard work everyday...
Not jealous, honest!!
I cant believe Tim has only caught 2 fish with all the kit he has in the aft storage cabin. We are very glad all is going well on board with the great ship Helena May. Keep chewing those miles up... and enjoy every minute of it.

Lots of love Andy & Lisa
04/21/2013 | mum
Just to let you know that Sue finished the Marathon five minutes ago in time of 3.53hrs so that's pretty amazing!!
I get quite tired thinking of you both.xx
04/23/2013 | Jane Millest
the eagles on the one show tomorrow bet you really wish you were here happeee dayzz xx
About 1,500 miles from anywhere. Bothered?
04/12/2013

Well does she look bothered?
Shortly after the last blog, we came off the wind a little, the sun came out and we've been romping along at over 6 knots in 15 knots of breeze for the last 4 days. Still a bit heeled over, but really mustn't grumble. We've made over 150 miles every day. Haven't touched a sheet or tweaked the Aries wind-driven self steering (doesn't need any power to drive it, unlike an autopilot) in all that time.
However, first time we came to tighten in the jib, we found that the starboard primary sheet winch had seized solid. Not its fault - it had been on my list to service them all before we left but, oh dear! They hadn't been touched since new 10 years ago. I was terrified that one of its little parts would go "ping...splosh" when I stripped it down in-flight. But it seems to work again OK now, so I can't have lost anything much.
Forecast looks fair for the next 8 days, although the doldrums might be moving south again to meet us. Hence plan to continue making as much southing as we can now - in spite of moans from the commodore of the fleet that she'd rather we came a bit further off the wind. But, as you can see, she's really not that bothered!
Starting to dare think about when we'll be in. Should be almost half way tomorrow... Maybe arrive middle of the week after next?

04/12/2013 | Jase & Son
Tim - I have had a feeling for a while since the last photos posted on your blog of the blonde 'bilge bunny' on the great shed HM that you have killed and desposed of Cath. This confirms it - confess once and for all - this is your old secretary from Kites Croft is'nt it?
XX
04/12/2013 | Al
Tim would have had a much younger secretary Jason and not one who lazed around while he did all the work!!

Great progress - keep it going!
04/13/2013 | mum
Lovely to talk yesterday. Sent long e-mail you may get one day! Found wonderful website with videos of sailors arriving at Marquesas, crossing Atlantic, cruising the Pacific. Everyone smiling all the time!!!
Enjoy the rest of the trip to Nuku Hiva. xx
04/15/2013 | Frances & Colin
Wow! You look good Cathy, maybe I should sail half way round the world to get fit and tanned!
Thank you for the email I will reply to that today as promised by Colin, we have been to France again only a six hour crossing, that just seems so small compared to your journey but enough for us! Didn't lie on deck with bikini bottoms and tee shirt reading a kindle I can tell you. I hope you get vertical soon and able to flush the loo. Keep the blogs coming as they are great to follow xx
04/16/2013 | Jen
Full of admiration . i have just returned from a cruise to Cadiz and endured 2crossings of Biscay in force8gales. Sick, injection etc but no more probs. thoroughly enjoyed it. Off to Norway in 3weeks time. Got the bug now.
6degrees S, 100 degrees W: 600 miles SW of the Galapagos. 2,400 miles to go to French Polynesia
04/08/2013

Sorry about the blog issues. All OK to blog now. Photos will be restored once we're ashore with wifi again (maybe 15 to 20 days time!). Conditions have not been rough at all, but rather trying. We had 2 days of doldrums weather getting south of the Galapagos and motored quite a bit. Since then we've been beating (but at least not close hauled) into a slightly blustery 15-20 knot SSErly. The worst thing has been that it's been unremittingly cloudy. The forecast is for us pop out from underneath this massive swathe of cloud quite soon though. We will also shortly have made enough southing to reach the steady SE trades, and can then turn W and put the wind further round behind us.
Life on board has resumed our normal passage-making routine: eat, sleep, read, sit (in a fairly random order). We're both only now recovering from a nasty touch of man-flu. Strangely, Cath's was worse than mine. We don't get colds in the UK - we must have had a south American strain sneak aboard. Only annoying each other with sniffles now (and Cath's night-time coughing!)

From Cath: thanks for that, Timmy! Its been weird sitting here in the middle of the Pacific drinking Boots cold and flu remedy! However, Tim has worked through his bug by adding a good glug of rum to the mixture and now feels quite cured.....I should mention this fact to Boots perhaps..? As I write this the skies are producing more and more blue clouds, which is a welcome sight indeed. Most conditions are more tolerable when the sun shines. It's not been a barrel of laughs so far, heeled over in a steep sea, especially on port tack ( wind from the left for our non-sailor, pushing HM onto her right side), which means that the loo won't flush properly, the galley sink won't drain and we're using the strap again to hold us up close enough to it and the cooker.... Deep joy! Everything of importance is up in the air on the left hand side of the boat and I can hardly reach the cooker at times........I won't tell you about our tactic for using the loo....
However, we're making good progress and at our current speed we should be there in a couple of weeks. Will blog again towards the end of the week with a "life onboard" update from me, and Tim will, as usual, give you the science bit. TTFN xxx

04/08/2013 | mum
So glad you whipped the blog into shape again!I'd been imagining another 20 odd days with NO NEWS. I hope the colds are less virulent than those in the land of your fathers. I've been coughing for weeks but as the sun is now out the bug is on the way out.
Can't really deal with all the technicalities in your blog but can well understand the domestic problems..hope they pass as the sun comes out to settle the weather.
Once this long haul is over you'll have little stops to break the journey to Sydney so just hang in there,mes chers!
04/08/2013 | Jane
Glad to hear all OK. Shorter stop in Galapagos than expected? I probably missed something on the blog to explain this. Anyway, not interested in Tim's science bit - just dying to know how you use the loo at that angle! Do tell all in your next posting. Hope the sniffles have stopped. Jane xx
04/08/2013 | Al
Well you are getting on with it. I assume Galapagos got expensive or tricky and you decided to do a bunk.....! It could be May by the time you reach French P.

I think Jane is asking for too much information and there is no need to tell us everything!

Keep the science bit coming Tim.....
Don't worry!
04/04/2013

Blog's gone a bit funny, but we're still making reasonable progress. Proper update on the passage before long (blog system permitting!) TTFN xxx

Don't worry - this won't go on like this forever
04/02/2013

Tomorrow we're taking a trip to Kicker Rock, off Isla San Cristobal, to swim with hammerhead sharks. However, we're panning to sail for Isabella as soon as we get back here tomorrow evening, but don't expect to go ashore there (more about that once we're out in the Pacific). It means upload of any photos will be mercifully delayed. TTFN, as Cath would say.

04/02/2013 | Al
The sun has been seen here in the UK since the clocks changed and we are all starting to get sun tanned however the wind chill takes the edge off sunbathing at minus 10'c - it will take another two years though before we get as brown as you guys - you are looking like the locals more and more aside from the obligatory tourist hats.

Sailed all day on Friday and Sunday - fingers still tingling from the onset of frostbite.

Some amazing photos - you look totally at home with all those youngsters Cath! Talking of youngsters Jane has ordered two kittens yesterday (Miffy and Jynx) to arrive on April 20th. So I will be left home alone to look after them.........wonder how long before they have to sit on the naughty step!!
04/02/2013 | mum
Wish I could somehow get a hard copy of that lovely photo of you two for the wall. The blog is a wonderful thing but ephemeral.
Swimming with SHARKS! I hope they are very old, well trained and toothless and in a Marina's "Shark World".
Some family pics from the weekend are winging their way to you from Derek or David .
I hope you get them before your next long haul.
The Spring is here today..AT LAST!
Love xx
04/03/2013 | Dave
We stopped in Isabella without an autografo, a large propina to the port captain and we got 4 days.

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