05/05/2012, South Pacific Ocean on Passage from New Zealand to Fiji
We changed course this morning. Now we are headed direct north as we have enough easting "in the bank". This means that the wind is hitting us from behind the beam. It is a subtle difference, but the effect is dramatic. All of the hard work and bouncing around of yesterday had suddenly calmed considerably. Is it now a nicer ride, relatively speaking. The air is getting warmer. It was 21C in the cockpit this morning. Another nice.
Our speed is around 7 knots, the wind is about 25 knots, the sky has plenty of blue, so your crew is happy and thankful.
I think it is time now to talk about food and life underway. We new some people once who went cruising, kept a blog, and the only thing they ever wrote about was what they ate. "He had the salmon, I had the salad, etc, etc. Beyond boring. Well then, may I present: The Food Report, done in "Your Rock and Roll Argonauts" style. Elisabeth is German, and in Germany, life starts with bread. Not the white pillow style bread popular in the US and Mexico. No sir, proper bread must have weight, heft, and substance. All of the German yachties we have met bake their own on board. So then, for this morning's breakfast, I had a slice of Elisabeth's boat-home baked bread with English bitter marmelade. Mmmm, mmmmm.
Now you must remember that we are "on passage". This means that we are on the high seas on a small boat that is bouncing around, especially now. We are dealing with some pretty big and rough waves, so cooking is a pain. Bring in the camping food and dog bowls. Lunch was a nicely warmed dog bowl of Watties spaghetti in the can. Watties is kind of a Kiwi version of Heinz. I say dog bowl because we have some boat bowls that resemble dog bowls. Dog bowls are hard to knock over, so are boat bowls. They look similar.
Dinner. It's still rough, so no nice veggie stir fry. No, dinner was Frito pie. How does the star chef, who didn't grow up in the states, become familiar with Frito pie, you may ask? I confess. I told her about it, she liked it. It is easy on a bouncing platform. Say, remember the carnival ride "Tilt-a-Whirl"? Try cooking on one sometime. It will make you a beliver in Frito pie.
And since we are in the rough stuff, our preferred dining area is on the cabin floor, wedged in between the nav desk and the galley sink. Stable, and not a drop spilled. This then, is the truth in cruising and dining at sea. The challenges are real, and not at all like the photos you see in the glossy magazine showing couples having a wine in a long-stemmed glass, usually dressed quite elegantly, etc. Think expedition, think Volvo Ocean Race. For us it is quite a blissful life. Out here having grand adventures with our best buddies.
05/04/2012, On Passage - New Zealand to Fiji
This has been a seriously rough day. The wind has been moderately high, but reefing the sails takes care of that. What we are having to deal with are the waves. If you click on the little map to the right of your page, you will see our track. We are heading north but also trying to get ourselves east. This need to get east is due to strong easterly winds forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. If we can position ourselves far enough east, we can ride these winds north and west to our destination Fiji. (They will help push us along rather than have to fight our way upstream. So then (are you still with me? Good!) the wind is now easterly, but not as strong as what's coming. We are shaping a northeasterly course that results in the seas being on our beam. It's these waves that are a menace. They have been bigger than forecast, and are knocking the boat on her ear. Seas on the beam can be dangerous if they are big enough. Again, the need to get east before they really pick up. We made about 148 miles today.
Our day has been reduced to hiding down below getting rest, etc. We spoke to s/v Jenny on the radio. They are doing the same thing. Just hanging on. For example. My navigation desk is equipped with a safety belt. I am being held with this wonderful belt as I type. We are managing to eat hot food, although when it is this rough, it more resembles camping food. Just add hot water, stir, and voila! You now have Thai red curry. Easy peasy. Oh, and then we sit on the galley floor to eat. It is the most stable part of the boat right now! A nice little picnic!
Ok then, this is "Your Rock and Roll Argonauts" sending tidings and why not, wishes for world peace! Oh, and the name Rock and Roll Argonauts? It is precisely these conditions that inspired the title. Ha! And you thought it was about music! Love to you all!
05/03/2012, South Pacific Ocean, on passage from New Zealand to Fiji
We covered 182 miles in the past 24 hours. For us, this is amazing. Although we can go fast, in order to be easy on the equipment, we, most often, slow the boat down. But our conditions have been gentle enough that we let Proximity run. The temperature was 18C both in the morning, and just now. The sky was grey all day, but early in the evening, I got to see the moon and stars. Beautiful, and the Southern Cross is legendary. We saw no other boats/ships today - only us. There is a rally with about 15 other boats headed to Fiji, but didn't see anyone. So not a lot to report. Things are going well, and I'm sure the remaining 1000 miles will click along nicely. A boring sea log is good!
05/02/2012, On Passage from New Zealand to Fiji
We cast off this morning, Wednesday at 10:30. It is now 12:00 midnight. It was amazingly rough to get out of the channel. The wind was directly in our face while the tide was ebbing. Makes for lots of big waves. Then outside the river channel and off shore near the coast, the swell and waves really grew bouncing us around and often we had lots of green water on deck as well as the boom in the water - twice!!
Jenny was with us, and her boom also got wet. It's just New Zealand. Once upon a time we would have been alarmed, but not now. Things settled down as the afternoon wore on, and eventually the wind dropped such that we were wanting more. We are steering with the wind vane, and are doing our routine of three hour watches. I just came on - Elisabeth will sleep until 03:00am.
Ok then, another post tomorrow. It feels good to be out, even if it is a bit rowdy.
"I sailed the seas to Whangarei, New Zealand, cruising capital of the Pacific...
Along the way, we saw dolphins jumping, penguins sunbathing, girls dancing, whales blowing, fish flying, sailors singing...
...After painting the bottom, straightening the keel, emptying the bilge, changing the batteries, mending the sails, seeing some beautiful sights, stocking the pantry...I'm cruising again."
This is written on the Whangarei Town Basin T-shirts. It is a truth for all of us, from many countries, all over the world. We have all fallen love with this wonderful country, and it's people. We sail out of here in the next few days, and our eyes will be a bit moist as we say good bye to our home of the past year and a half.
But as the last sentence on the t-shirt says, we are cruising again. On our way to Fiji, and it feels good to get going. The nights will start out cold gradually warming up as we get closer to the tropics. We are looking forward to needing one less layer of clothes here and there until we are in t-shirt and shorts all night long. The moon is a crescent and growing, setting at first early in the evening gradually staying up later and later lighting the night.
The fish gear is rigged and ready. Elisabeth did catch her elusive snapper, by the way. We will steer with the wind vane, a quiet device that uses no electricity - only the wind to hold our course.
We were set to leave tomorrow, but the forecast showed gale conditions at the last minute, so we will wait until next Wednesday. This is where patience pays.
04/17/2012, Marsden Cove Marina, NZ
First of all, here is Elisabeth's catch from the other day. This was about half way between Auckland and Kauwau Island. We arenow back at Marsden Cove making final preparations for our voyage north to Fiji. We expect to leave within a week depending on the weather. It is getting chilly here, and we want bare feet!
We will miss this great country and its lovely people very much. Having been here since November 2010, we feel very "at home", and leaving is bittersweet.