Happy Birthday Tyler
16 April 2010 | The Pacific Ocean
We celebrated Tyler's 5th Birthday yesterday morning with a hunt for his
presents which Zoe and Jesse had hidden all throughout the boat. To say
Tyler was excited would be an understatement. I cooked pancakes then all three kids played beautifully together with the new Lego toys and puzzles till lunchtime. The kids have never played as well together as on this trip and I'm proud of the way Zoe in particular has become a lot more sensible as she has a special bond with Tyler and influences his behaviour, good or bad, greatly.
Tyler is very proud of being five. He says he can feel that he is now
stronger (he quickly lost a fight with Jess though) and can eat more dessert
as his "engine" is now bigger and needs more fuel. Helen and Zoe baked a
Birthday cake for afternoon tea and our favourite family dinner - lasagne.
Happy campers all around. Oh, and did I mention that we had the most perfect
sparkling blue sky day with steady 15-17 SE tradewinds?
I'm presently on watch and it is 0445 on Thursday 15 April. I'm sitting in
the cockpit in a T-shirt with a faint breeze blowing over the transom. (For
non-yachties, if you're sailing downwind in a 14 knot breeze and you're doing 7.5 knots speed, then you're only going to feel 14-7.5=6.5 knots of apparent wind over the deck). It is a clear sky so the stars are amazing. We can clearly see the Southern Cross and I must say that it almost brings a tear to my eye to think it is leading us home.
The big news is that we've just reached the halfway point of our longest
(2,900nm) leg of the trip from Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas Islands.
In 10-20 knot SE winds and with a 1 knot assisting current, we've been
averaging 190 nm per day at an average speed of 7.9 knots. At this rate we'll complete the crossing in just over 15 days although we're expecting to see some less favourable winds somewhere up ahead.
The benefit of having had good winds is that we have plenty of diesel left -
we could motor for about 5 days if we had to. Our batteries are charging
well during the day with the new solar panels we installed in Panama City
and we have plenty of water via the watermaker. The only hiccup we've had so far on this leg was discovering that half a dozen cans of Guinness had
leaked in the bilge. The cleanup was awful and the lesson was - do not store aluminium cans in the bilge as they'll corrode within two weeks.
Helen and I are very excited to be in the Pacific Ocean so much closer to
our family and friends. Once we complete this leg to the Marquesas, we'll have only relatively small crossings from Marquesas-Tuamotus-Tahiti-Bora Bora-Southern Cook Islands-Niue-Tonga-Fiji-New Caledonia-Brisbane-Sydney.
Each passage should be no more than a week. We are really excited that plans
are falling into place for family to meet us at Tahiti, Fiji and New
Caledonia and that two sets of friends are meeting us at Tonga.
It is amazing how quickly you forget the tediousness of previous crossings
and all the work that had to be done on the boat and recall just the special
moments we've experienced over the past 8 months. We've talked a lot lately about some further cruising we might do around Australia and the kids said this morning that they only want to go back to Sydney for two weeks to see their friends before we head off again. Somehow I think the reality will be more like knuckle down and work for a while and see what the future holds but we can highly recommend a year off adventuring!!!