The Promised Land
26 November 2017 | On passage beween Fiji and New Zealand
SCOOTS and her crew have entered the Promised Land! No, I don't mean New Zealand, though it is a very nice place, and we will be there in just a few hours; I mean the area south of 30 degrees S, where the wind - which now comes from only one direction, the NE wind having vanquished the SE wind - has backed off a bit but is still strong enough to move SCOOTS along at a good clip, and the waves have diminished and become much more sportsmanlike. SCOOTS is racing along on a beam reach, her motion so smooth that I don't know how fast we're going unless I glance at our gauges or watch the water whooshing past her hull. We haven't had to adjust our sails in over a day, and, more importantly, No more saltwater deck washes, hooray!
Our Grib charts predicted these conditions for this part of the ocean days ago, and Eric and I looked forward to them as we and SCOOTS traversed the more boisterous conditions encountered during the first five days of our passage. As the weather router on our boat, I love it when predictions come to fruition. It doesn't always happen, but when it does, it makes me look good.
Another benefit of sailing in the Promised Land, is that life below decks gets easier. As SCOOTS' heel angle subsides and the unpredictable bounces and rolls disappear, we no longer have to walk from handhold to handhold and the activities of daily life - like cooking meals - are easier to accomplish. Think about it...if your boat is heeling, all of the horizontal surfaces in your boat are also heeling. This means that all the horizontal surfaces in your galley are now diagonal surfaces, adding a whole new element to meal preparation: if you put something down on one of your formerly horizontal surfaces (of which I admittedly don't have many, this being a boat galley, not a gourmet kitchen), and you haven't wedged it or braced it somehow, it's going to slide off. Guaranteed. I have some nonskid mats, and they help, but even they were overcome by the conditions prior to entering the Promised Land.
Once entering the Promised Land, I felt that I was up to the task of preparing our belated Thanksgiving dinner. I don't know what the heel angle had been previously, but today it was down to 13 degrees or less; manageable, but still requiring some foresight and careful planning and placement of items. I made baked pumpkin (aka "pumpkin stuff" in our family) from the last two wedges of a pumpkin given to us by our friends in the village of Naseuseu on the island of Beqa, in whose lovely bay SCOOTS was anchored for a few weeks.
And I roasted that chicken.
I was going to make some veggies, and open our can of cranberries, to round out our Thanksgiving feast, but Eric pointed out that we would probably have a hard time keeping all that corralled on our plates, the conditions still being far from horizontal. He also likes to tell people that I enjoy cooking at sea, more than I do when SCOOTS is in port, and much more than I did when we lived on land. He is correct on all counts.
So as the afternoon waned, and SCOOTS skimmed merrily along her course, Eric and I sat in the cockpit - still up under the dodger, in case a rogue wave tried to splash us - plates on our laps, and enjoyed some delicious roast chicken and pumpkin stuff. Truly, this is the Promised Land.
SCOOTS' position this morning....fewer than 20 miles from the Bay of Islands. SCOOTS will be tied up to the Customs dock in Opua by lunchtime. Kelly, we'll think of you as we sail past Paihia. :)