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Eventually You Have to Make Your Own Decisions
11/17/2008, Minerva Reef Yacht Club

We got up ready to go. Winds were 1.5kts gusting to 2.2kts. Minerva Reef blue is a color both opaque and transparent at the same time. We could see down 65' to the marks in the sand from our anchor chain. K & B brought over grib files, which are raw weather data, not the usual charts we use for decision-making which have been drawn by a meteorologist with a brain. We had expected very light winds, but it looked like absolutely no wind for 36 hours. Although prepared to motor for a while, we were really concerned about using that much diesel and not having it for other critical weather situations and decided to stay. So did everybody else. We all know that we face a challenge, as pretty much nobody gets to NZ without winds to 40kts, but that the forecast still puts it NNE and we can take it aft of the beam just fine. The spirit of yacht clubs and Jimmy Buffett drifted in the pass. We went over to Winddancer, whom we had not seen for some time, who had just arrived at dawn and pretty soon we were drinking beer then rum punch with sides of popcorn before noon. Turns out so was everybody else. People we hardly know called to ask us over for rum shots and fish. Dinghies are going everywhere to dive and snorkel. We set Johan up with K & B to snorkel; they just did a course with Reefcheck under the auspices of OceansWatch. Then he will be off with the savviest spearfisherman of the lot (last job monitoring elections in Afghanistan), who came by to ask how many fish we wanted because everybody wants to spearfish but nobody wants to take more than they can eat or give away. Folks are digging around for spare tips because they have dinged theirs up. Other than make a batch of brownies, there is no work to be done. Just wait lazily in a most exquisite place.

Getting Ready
11/17/2008, Minerva Reef

We are getting ready to go tomorrow am. We have reviewed the weather and Commanders' routing report and talked with them by phone this am. Johan says that Swedes are known for liking to inject weather into everyday conversation, but that he has never ever experienced people who talk and think about the weather as much as the sailors in the Pacific! There is no such thing as perfect weather around here, but we think we can handle the predictions. Johan and Steve took a last snorkel, swimming with white-tipped, black-tipped, and grey sharks, hanging on to a hawksbill turtle, spearfishing, and gathering shellfish for dinner. I did a quick snorkel then spent much of the day cooking meals and pulling down weather stuff. It should take about a week to get to Opua, our port of entry in New Zealand. Wish us fair winds. Best, Tracy, Steve, and Johan

Holding Pattern
11/14/2008, Minerva Reef

We are at anchor in the middle of the ocean. After two days of motorsailing, the winds picked up just as we were advised by Commanders Weather to stay here to avoid a front coming up from the Tasman Sea early next week. We stared at the weatherfaxes hard and cannot really see the front, but Dave says all three models confirm it. So we decided to follow their guidance and will hang out here. Minerva is an atoll mostly underwater at high tide, with reef and breakers at low tide. It is rather surreal now, covered with grey clouds and sheltering a half dozen sailboats. If it is calm we will go off in search of lobsters on the reef. We won't check in to Pacific Seafarers' Net until we get going again; transmission by radio with them has been hard for various reasons, so don't worry if there are some of those dots marking our travel missing!

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Hannah's Crew
Who: Steve Wrye, Tracy Willett, Nolan Willett
Port: Brinnon, Washington, USA
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