28 October 2011
Have you ever played the card game cheat? Having spent the last 7 or so years teaching my children that telling the truth is good, playing cheat with them is hilarious - they find it impossible! The wind has just picked up to 20 knots which makes such a difference to Pegasus, given that we don't have a light weight sail any more. So, we're heading in the right direction, with full sails and it's a glorious day. It's amazing what rain and no winds can do to morale!
We've just passed Palmerston, but not within seeing distance and the next island is Nuie. We really hope the winds will continue to be favourable so we don't have to stop, much as we would like to see Nuie, we need to press on.
Lost a lure yesterday; what with our line having a 50lb breaking strain it must have been a big fish. I hope we catch something today because grateful as I am for Jacolette for sending us tofu recipes we're not converts yet! I don't remember snapping any line in the Atlantic. The line then was thinner and we caught more too. There must be bigger fish to fry here in the Pacific.
Curr pos: 18.28S 163.31W
27 October 2011
I remember Alan asking me, when we were 'interviewing' him for crew if we had any shore support. To which my answer was 'no.' Then when we went from Panama to Galapagos we used Karsten as a passage planner and it was really helpful to have some advise from someone who could see the bigger picture, weather wise and with whom you could check in daily for position reports. For this passage, we are giving daily updates to Mike from Yolo, who is now back in Australia and keeping an eye on the weather for us (we also download GRIBs) which has been really helpful. And then there's Jacolette - my shore support for my soul! Whether it's sending tofu recipes ('cause neither of us have used it before and I inherited some from her when she put Goody on the hard before going back to SA) or telling me not to forget reading the barometric pressure, or generally just snapping me out of my whinging mood (it could be worse, you could be back at home in meetings with ridiculous politics going on) she's e mailed me every day, which gives me something to look forward to when I go on to the SSB. So, thank you Mike and Jacolette for all the invaluable info you've been giving us whilst we make our penultimate leg to NZ. And things I am enjoying about this trip?
Lochy doing kung fu for hours on end on the trampoline, Harry Potter being replaced by Karate Kid for a while.
Reading a family story with the kids every day - Tarka the Otter at present.
Baking with the kids. OK, I haven't done that yet, but I will tomorrow!
Sitting at the helm with Mark for a hug.
Current position: 18.13S 160.54W
25 October 2011
I've been trying to work out why I am not enjoying this passage quite as much as previous passages. I normally love being at sea, but I've just realised. We've always had crew with us for longer journeys and those extra four hours a night? They make a difference, let me tell you! Normally, skipping a few islands on the way wouldn't bother us as we actually prefer longer stretches, but now I realise why everyone responded with a "New Zealand? Really? But you're so late in the season." We're actually not late in the season for getting there; I don't think the other boats will have left by the time we get to Tonga, but we can't really stop off anywhere on the way unless we were to stay a week or so. Firstly, Mark and I find it impossible to stay one night only in an anchorage. It just can't be done. By us. Secondly, it's a whole other country we'd be checking into, which involves cost, customs, border control. Which is a whole load of fuss when you only want to catch up on a snooze for 24 hours. Thirdly, people are so friendly here in the Pacific that in these smaller islands it would be considered an offense to only stay a night when their hospitality is so huge.
So, we'll just press on. It's good to know that we could drop into these islands if we needed to, but this season we'll be passing them by, and we'll come back to them next season. So yes, we're late in the season for cruising through the Pacific but not to get to NZ. We even toyed with the idea of skipping Tonga and pressing on to NZ, but I think we really would be wise to stop by Tonga, re-provision and wait for a good weather window. So, we have about 8 days to go. Dig deep, dig deep! Curr Pos: 17.43S 158.31W
23 October 2011
Not much to report; we're just getting back into the routine of being back at sea. It's half term holidays so we're not doing much in the way of school, though Mia is excited to have finished her first history course and wants to start the next one straight away. Lochy now wants to do the first one. Getting back into chess and cards and lots and lots of reading. The wind has been a bit flukey the last couple of hours and so Mark and I have done a few sail combinations - not like the lovely trade winds where you set your sails and that's you for a couple of weeks! Also, we're weaving between huge underwater mountains which probably explains the changeable swell too. We've made OK progress though so we're happy. Curr post: 17.16S 154.50W
23 October 2011
Well, it's been a beautiful first day's sail - a stark contrast to last week's little expedition, but then again, it's not a Friday. We could have left yesterday but neither Mark nor I felt easy about the old sailors' superstition about never leaving on a Friday. That may sound silly, but after our two Friday departures being rated as the worst passages to date, we weren't going to make it a hat trick. The benefit of our last windy jaunt was that the sea legs have obviously been shaken into us and have remained - so all happy on board the good ship Pegasus.
For our last night in Polynesia, we decided to put on our glad rags and head to the Pearl Lodge resort for a night of Polynesian dancing. We were going to anchor outside the resort, but the winds were going to push us on shore so we opted for the safer Bora Bora yacht club buoy on the other side and a 35 minute dinghy ride across. This was fine on the way there, and we enjoyed much hip shaking from the girls and knee knocking from the boys and then the obligatory lets-laugh-at-the-stiff-hipped-western-tourists-dancing whilst they dragged me up on stage along with many other tourists. A lovely evening only slightly hampered by a very wet dinghy ride home - the kids were fine as we had taken along a ground sheet for them to shelter under, but the same could not be said for Mark and me!
We've just stuck a second reef in the main for the night and Mark has headed to bed for 3 hours sleep, so, I'm going to sign off and check the sails and see if the booby is still sleeping on our port bow! Curr Post: 17.06S 152.51W
20 October 2011
My, my, the tooth fairy has been busy. Two visits in 4 days and now Lochy has finally lost both of his top teeth, much to my amusement! After checking Goody made it safely into the boat yard, and then a play date on another French Cat (the kids not me!) we left Raiatea today for Bora Bora. It seemed such a shame not to go now it was so close and it is unlikely we will be coming this far back next season. And of course, then there is the Wales-Australia rugby match which Mark wanted to see (never mind the NZ-France - foregone conclusion!)
The sail over was a lovely 6 hour 25 knot breeze trip; the kids enjoyed putting together the starwars lego AT-AT walker again, a favourite gift from last Christmas. Having seen how well organised the French boat's lego was, I came back to our boat to whip our lego collection into shape - about 6 hours later and we have instruction manuals with correct lego pieces. I don't think it will take the kids as long to put it together as it did me to sort it, and I am now realising that when you find a tiny bit of lego, you should really put it back in the lego box rather than chuck it in the bin which is what I had been doing. It's pay back time now though as the kids ask "mummy, will you just help me find this one little piece?" and I have to sort through a tray of light gray, dark gray, black or white pieces - why can't the star ward lego have just a splash of colour?! Current position: 16.30S 151.46W