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Cruising the South (and North) Pacific
Ace of Spades
03/31/2012, Solomons to Majuro

As the sunset into the darkening horizon, clouds started swallowing up the last bit of sky Rob and I would see for the next three days and three nights. After dinner I went to brush my teeth and knocked over my deck of playing cards I keep next to my bed. All over the floor the cards fell. *&^%$ I cursed practicing my sailing swearing that Rob is trying to help me with. Looking at the cards I gasped as cold darkness penetrated the air. All the cards were face down except the ace of spades, the death card. At that moment a gust of 30 plus winds shook the boat and I heard *&^%$ from Rob who I knew wasn't practicing his sailor swears but was yelling them in full heart. The next three days and nights are only a series of nightmares I wish bury once we land. So much unreality that everything seems like a blur of hell. The black waves only illuminated by lighting to show their blackened soles seem to want to swallow us at every moment. Every second could be our last as I watched Rob brave his way to the front of the boat to try and save the Genoa sail. Not to any avail could we save it for the wind, rain, and fire held us at bay. *^&% Im going to die I thought constantly as we reached speeds of 9.4 knots while getting shook by four meter waves and 30 plus winds. Our Genoa sail eventually tore and played its dying song by flapping maddening into the chaos. The next day our port lower shroud also broke down crashing to the deck. A few hours later Rob stumbled into his room finding the stuffing box spurting out water. Hallelujah thank the baby Jesus and the Lamas were alive and made it through all that. Now we are finally waking up from the nightmare and recovering. All day has been great and we haven't seen a squall all today. We fixed the problem with the main sail by taking the good shroud on the starboard side and putting it on the port side. So everything is good and I'm super grateful to be alive and have nice weather again. Today ended with an awesome red sunset. And a crescent moon is out illuminating the sterling blue waves now with more of a happy dream feeling.

03/30/2012, En route from Solomons to Majuro

Well if you've been wondering why Rob hasn't blogged in a couple of days, he's probably been just a little busy trying to keep the boat together and headed in the right direction. The night before last the genoa partially unfurled itself and got "hopelessly jammed". In the process of trying to refurl it, it was ripped to shreds. Then the port lower shroud snapped yesterday, with a triple-reefed main and storm jib doing 6.5kts. The winds have been 25-30 knots with gusts to 38 (last I heard) due to a tropical low near the Solomons. As Rob would say, "Egad."

He thinks he has enough fuel to motor most of the way to the Marshall Islands.
I'll keep you posted.

Tuna Triple
03/28/2012, Solomons to Majuro

We are on the way! Our SSB has been having trouble staying connected to the sailmail stations so we have been late getting info @ weather and routing etc. But so far, doing ok. This am I got up at 0545, shaved, put the first lure in the water, and within minutes before I could get the second lure out, we hooked a small Ahi ( yellow fin for you non HI types), 5 mins later got another one. @20 mins later, we got a nice little Aku ( blue fin). Now we are all set for the next few days. Its rockin an rollin here but at least the wind is out of the NW and not the NE.

03/29/2012 | ann barber
Hi Rob, I have enjoyed 18 wonderful days with LuLu on wonderful Maui. We had an awesome yoga retreat and had such fun getting caught up. I enjoyed spending time with John as well. We had a great dinner today together. Glad to hear you are safe and sound and catching alot of fish.
03/27/2012, Solomons , Noro , New Georgia

I went to pull up the anchor this am . I found @ 2 million drosophila( gnats for you non bio types) all over the bow of the boat. The snubber lines were black from the huge numbers. I thought in my normal compulsive way,that there was no wind, so a perfect time to spray the bug poison. I thought they would just fly off and die. Egad!, instead they chose to fly all over and inside my precious Rose. I literally have spent the entire rest of the day cleaning up corpses, washing off the deck which was black with all the bodies of the dead. And the survivors are still on the boat climbing on us 8 hours later. I suspect it will be days before we can clear out all the corpses so we can collect water again. Oh, and Lulu, I lost your cute little green brush that hangs on the door under the galley sink while I was vigorously brushing off gnats. We did a man overboard drill and made 2 passes. Even got out the binoculars but no luck- sorry. We joined the Pacific seafarers net today. John just caught a little yellow fin tuna- yeah! Heading for the Manning Straight between Choiseul and Santa Isable I. Still need some wind prayers. Mahalo

03/24/2012, Solomons , Noro New Georgia

Our new favorite food is kingfish. We caught our fifth entering the diamond narrows after leaving Munda. We saw our friends from Lola I there again. Phyllis,the pretty 19 y.o.and her mother Lisa. Phyllis tried to talk Johboy into going back to Lola. I told him we could go if he paid for the diesel. At $SBD15. per liter though, he said no. I dropped $1500. just topping up 5 Jerry cans. I found this huge bottle of red wine ( 2 l) in Noro for $150. after pricing wine in Munda at $ 300. per 1/5th sized bottles. Not the best wine but drinkable. Hope it lasts untill Majuro or Kosrae. They wanted $550. for a litter of gin. Good grief!! Wind is still light and out of N- NE so not very favorable for a crossing. No word from Bob McDavitt yet, so I guess we'll just motor all the way to Majuro. Had a nice squall today, Johboy went for a run while I tried to get some water in the tanks. He bought this huge pumpkin in Munda so we r having it for dinner tonight. Had a nice chat with my mom tonight. She sounded really good. Bunch of kids came out to the boat hoping for lollis. I recognized this one Bettie. Pretty boy that they made me look at his private parts to prove he was a boy on my last stop here. I told them I 'd trade them lollis for coconuts. They brought three of the biggest coconuts I've ever seen. One coconut filled a liter bottle. I gave them $3. and Lollis. This bully came out and hit my little friends and stole there money and lollis. I was so mad at him, I yelled at him, then I jumped in the dinghy and drove to their house to tell the parents what had happened. I've decided I don't care for Noro. At least the flies aren't so bad here. I only killed 25 flies all day today.

"Visa Boy"
03/24/2012, Solomons , Noro , New Georgia

So ,its the 26th of March 2012 and I'm at customs clearing out for Majuro. Only problem is the immigration officer took the receipt book and went to Munda to clear in some helicopter. So at 10:30 am I'm told to come back at 1400 after he gets back and they clear out this other freighter. I found this awesome hardware store and couldn't resist buying some oil in case we have to change the oil en route since I anticipate a lot of motoring. Then I find a bottle of Rum( very rare here) and talk him down to SBD$300. Excellent! At 1400, I'm back at immigration after spending 45 mins at the bank with some rookie teller just to get a US$20. converted to pay the custom fee of US$ 230..The nice officer says Johnboy's visa is only for 7 days and he didn't renew it, so he owes a fine of US $ 760.. Naturally I'm freaking out! After much whining and calling John numerous unfavorable things, the officer agreed to lower the fine to US $ 340. or 60 days in jail. Naturally, I was ready to kill him. Luckily he has $300. so I only had to loan him $40. to bail him out. Lesson: don't trust the immigration officers . Make sure they have the correct dates in your passport or you too could experience an unhappy , expensive delay in 90 degree weather with humidity of 100+ % running back and forth from your boat to the bank,etc.etc. We made it back to the boat just before the skies opened up again. Whew! Johnboy then made this excellent 3 story egg plant sandwich plus an avocado, onion ,watercress, tomato, and capsicum salad which was outstanding so I had to forgive him. We leave at 0800 in am. Pray for good weather, the gribs don't look too good.

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