NZ to Fiji
29 May 2017
Today we're enjoying a lovely sunny day with very slight wind, and (fortunately) very slight swell. The ocean is a vast, blue, undulating plain, that also happens to be about 11,000 feet deep here. Stop and think about that for a minute: two miles of water between us and the bottom.
Yanmar the Magnificent is serenading us with his throaty song, as he pushes us north through the windless middle of a large high pressure system. As NZ weather guru Bob put it in his weekly Weathergram, "The strong subtropical ridge is likely to ensure a slow trip; however, it should also keep nasty troughs at bay." I'm all for keeping nasty troughs at bay.
I'm enjoying having the opportunity to be a weather junky again, receiving via shortwave radio all manner of what Eric refers to as "weather porn," pouring through it looking for trends and seeing what may lie ahead for us, using this to fine-tune our route. Speaking of routes, we still haven't decided whether we're going to sail to Minerva Reef for a few days, or just keep sailing to Fiji.
We sailed through the night with our Code 0 and staysail up, and managed to eke out between 2 and 4 knots, but even that wispy wind fled when the sun came up, and we put Y the M to use. We quickly put the sails up this morning when a passing squall teased us with some wind, but that didn't last long and we were soon back to reliable Y the M.
The NZ fleet has mostly dispersed across the ocean; today we haven't seen any boats, either by eyeball or on AIS or radar, even though we're all heading for one of three places - Fiji, Minerva Reef, or Tonga.
Our generator stopped running under load a couple of days ago. It will run, but it won't run the alternator, which would charge the batteries. This is the first time our generator has given us any trouble. Eric spent a few hours yesterday troubleshooting the problem and trying some solutions. So far, he hasn't solved it. But I'm sure he will. In the meantime, we're charging the batteries with our engine, convenient as we're also using it for propulsion.
Early this morning I enjoyed watching some large dark shearwaters skim across the water and wheel through the air in graceful arcs as I listened to Gustav Holst's "Jupiter" (my sunrise ritual at sea). It was a beautiful and peaceful scene, a nice start to my day.
The numbers Days at sea: 3 Our position: 29 00' S, 177 01'E Miles since yesterday: 112 nm Average speed: 4.67 knots Miles to go (to Fiji): about 760 nm