Lukunoch to Kosrae
27 September 2011 | 32 miles from Kosrae
From Chuuk we headed to Lukunoch Atoll - a trip of a 156 miles. We opted to aim for a 4kt per hour average so that we only had to spend 2 nights at sea instead of three. However this proved harder than we though as we had the wind on the nose and were hard on to the wind the whole way and on the morning we arrived in Lukunoch (18th Sept) we had 2 hours of storms with heavy rain and winds gusting up to 35kts which was not nice at all. We finally anchored inside Lukunoch Lagoon at 10.45am. Shortly after arriving we had the Chief's advisor, Simon come and welcome us and advise us of the protocol etc. and the anchoring fee was $20 but as we had originally only planned to stay 2 nights he made it $10. The only thing he asked if we had was some books to read. As we were tired we were left alone and so agreed to go ashore the next morning which we did and we walked around the village with him and the four of us were like the Pied Piper of Hamlin with children holding on to our hands. It was a lovely island with it all laid out beautifully and Simon gave us both gifts, papaya and a nice flax fan. It was so nice to receive as well us being able to give (rice, flour & sugar). We ended up staying four nights as our batteries are getting in need of replacing and on the second night Dave did not give them enough charging time so the next morning they were completely flat so we were relying on wind and sun to charge them up but unfortunately it decided to rain all day so we could not start the motor. A few weeks ago Dave actually discovered that our starting battery is linked to the house batteries so it is being used for the house as well and the morning we left Kosrae we had the same problem but with sun we were able to get the motor going within four hours. However we have now opted to disconnect the positive lead on the starting battery each night when at anchor. Also our drum on the genoa furler has been a problem since the Philippines and I have lost count on how many times we have had it apart. However on the last day in Lukunoch Dave and Dave did some drilling work to put in screws to stop it lifting and it appears to have done the trick so will get us home okay. So we finally left Lukunoch on 22nd September at 6am and were heading 210 miles to Ngatik Atoll but with slow going which seems to be the norm here soon realized that we were going to arrive at night which is a no-no so decided to make the decision to carry on to Kosrae which from Lukunoch is a distance of 560 odd miles. The weather has thrown us a mixture of conditions, mostly having to motor sail and we had hoped to arrive today but on Monday for nearly 24 hours we had 20kts on the nose, big seas and we could only sail north or south and we were wanting to go East. Pied A Mer was hard to steer and felt like we were driving a very old army tank without power steering. By midnight things started to change and we could start to head in the right direction. We have had lots of storms and I have been on the helm for my fair share of them. My hand steering skills have improved greatly and at least I have not done any 360 degrees which Dave has done quite a few of - maybe he is more tired than I am but I think I am better than him at steering to compass. By the time we get to Kosrae we will have hand steered for 1470 miles. That autohelm in Kosrae is looking pretty good. We have had to slow down today in order that we do not arrive in the dark so are chugging along at 3 kts so at this point we have 32 miles to go. We will probably be in Kosrae for a week.