PPJ Day 19
19 April 2016 | The Pacific Ocean
We enjoyed sunny skies today! We moved some of the wet clothes that have been hanging in the shower out onto the lifelines to dry in the sun. We took showers on the swim step, and dried off on deck. That's one thing I'm going to miss about being in port...I'll have to start wearing more clothes again. We ate our breakfast in the cockpit. We tidied up a bit. It was a good day.
But while we were enjoying the sunshine, we were not enjoying the wind, because there wasn't much of it, and what there was, came from directly behind us. We have yet to see the fabled SE tradewinds. We could have put the spinnaker up, and gone a bit faster, but I made the case for having a low stress day, after the previous two stress-filled days - and as you already know, watching that rapscallion spinnaker all day in fluky wind is stressful for me. Eric agreed and we went with white sails instead. During the morning, they moved us along pretty well, but around midday, the wind faded further. The mainsail began to slap on every roll; the headsails filled ...and flailed, filled... and flailed. Now, there were squalls looming around, so it wasn't a good time to raise the spinnaker. So we sailed on, slowly, frustratingly, with the occasional assistance of Yanmar the Magnificent.
Going slow wouldn't have mattered much, earlier in the trip, but now, with fewer than 200 miles between SCOOTS and Nuku Hiva, our speed would determine the time of day - or night - that we'd arrive at the anchorage. Daytime arrivals are always better, for many reasons, but this anchorage is wide open, with well-stationed beacons, and the moon is nearly full, so we could enter at night if we needed to. Though we'd prefer not to. And we'd also prefer not to slow down and try to enter at dawn tomorrow. The crew of SCOOTS is travel weary, ready to put an end to the sail slapping, the incessant rolling, the lurching from handhold to handhold, the constant vigilance that precludes either of us from having more than three hours of sleep at a time...we're ready to get somewhere that we can put down our anchor and rest. Plus, we're excited at the prospect of arriving in French Polynesia!!!!
Sailing along at 3-4 knots, which is what we'd do if we didn't use the motor, will get us to Nuku Hiva in the middle of the night; traveling at 6.5 knots or more will give us the chance of arriving at around sunset tomorrow. We're going with option two, even if that means - as it does at the moment - relying on Y the M to help us keep our speed up until the wind fills in enough that it can do the job properly. We much prefer sailing, but we didn't bring 150 gallons of diesel for ballast; we brought it to burn as needed, and we're burning some now.
We're excited to be getting close to land, even though we can't see it yet. Over the past day, we've seen an uptick in the number of varieties of seabirds, a sure indicator that land is around somewhere. Every time I go up into the cockpit, I breathe deeply, hoping to catch a first whiff of land, and wondering how its fragrance will differ from the other first scents of land that I've experienced. Eric and I have a contest, to see who'll spy land first. The winner gets bragging rights. Right at this moment, at 5 am on my second watch of the night, we have 99 miles to go....
Deck Check: no critters Miles in last 24 hours: 140, for an average speed of 5.8 knots Total miles: 2815 Miles to go as of 6 am local time: 91