A Hot Night to Samoa
20 July 2010
Last night I wrote that it was hot.I was premature. We hadn't yet met today. This must be the hottest of our journey. The fans don't help that much because they just blow the hot air around like hairdryers. Not sure why the change, but Eric pointed out that the sea temp is a surprising 87 degrees!
The moon is high in the sky, bright and lingering a bit longer than last night. This is helpful. After the close encounter with the fishing boat today we need every bit of light to see what is coming on the horizon. Without the moonlight, it is virtually impossible.
Today I've been thinking about the joke about the guy who jumps out of the airplane without a parachute. He falls so many thousands of feet, and says that once he got to just ten feet from the ground he could simply jump from there. That is how I feel about this passage. We are within jumping distance after 2,000 miles.
Eric and I just switched watches. We are both so exhausted that he is sound asleep already and I'm only on this paragraph.
We must constantly manage our fatigue. There isn't a way to eliminate it, despite the naps we each take during the day. We just can't get enough hours at one time. It effects us in ways we sometimes don't realize. For example, I might start crying in the middle of the day while I am cranking in a reef on the headsail. No other reason than just being bone weary. Every hour we make a log entry, noting the wind direction and speed, weather features, lat/long, etc. There is a comments section where we write "saw a ship" "squall passed by" or something like that. Eric came on watch last night and was reading through my previous 3 hours of log entries and asked, "what does 'mugs of water' mean?" How should I know? I have no idea why I wrote that, but I do clearly remember writing it down. This is the kind of bizarre behavior that fatigue brings about. The log entry goof up is benign, but when it comes to managing the sails, making decisions about course line in relation to ships and squalls, we've got to make sure we are making logical choices.
In preparation for Samoa, Sophie has been a cleaning busy body. Finn however is breaking down. He needs to run around and get the energy out. It is bottled up inside and explodes from time to time. Freya has tried on her various bathing suits (most of them hand-me downs and that is why she has far too many) over and over again.
For those of you who heard us talk about our travel plans, you may recall we included French Polynesia, the Cook Islands and Niue on our agenda at first. We would have loved to visit these areas but when it came down to it, we just don't have the time. When we explained our itinerary to sailors who'd traveled the South Pacific before they'd say, "you've just described a 3-year trip." And they were right. There just isn't time enough to cover the great distances and find time to spend in port long enough to make it worth a stop. The leaving again is such a chore. So, we decided that given our personal time frame we needed to take a short cut and head directly for Samoa, getting the major ocean miles out of the way first, allowing us to take 2-3 weeks in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia each before heading to Bundaberg, Australia. It was a hard decision to pass by so many beautiful islands, but we think this will give us time to linger, relax and make friends in the places we will visit.
Specifically, we are headed to (Western) Samoa. It is just called Samoa now, but is to be distinguished from American Samoa to the East. There are two major islands, Upolu and Savaii. We will first head to the town of Apia on Upolu where we'll check in with customs and hang out for a week or two. We'll visit Robert Louis Stevenson's house, hike to some waterfalls, etc. Then we'll head over to Savaii, which is less touristed, and anchor is some bays and hopefully meet people from more remote villages. From what we've read, the port of Pago Pago (pronounced Pango Pango) in American Samoa is not such a great place so we'll take a pass on that port and forgo the western supermarkets.