Who cast a spell on us?
11 June 2012 | Underway to Tuomoto, French Polynesia
We're three days out from the Marquesas heading to the atolls of Tuomoto. It has been a very slow passage so far with light winds, but we're comfortable and not complaining about the ease of it so far. I understand from the radio net that there may be heavy squalls ahead of us that might shake things up. I was reading Mark & Judy's log for this same passage and Judy made the accurate statement that you spend a lot of time when sailing trying to either speed up or slow down. Not enough wind (or another sailboat on the horizon) and you're tweaking your sails trying to get another tenth of a knot out of them. Too much wind and you're rolling along like a freight train trying to slow down. This passage we've just let it go and decided we'll get there when we get there since it is too many miles to predict. Part of that reasoning is we have to time the entrance into the atoll with a slack tide and the best window to make it is about an hour or so before or after. Plus you need good light to enter and then travel across the lagoon some 7 miles or so to get to the anchorage. It's just too much to plan. So hopefully it'll work out without too much trouble.
So far we haven't seen anyone or anything out here other than a tropic bird today and a few flying fish. No fish are biting since I think we're moving too slow and it's too calm. We'd sort of hoped to get a bunch so that we'll be less inclined to spearfish at the atolls. I at least do not need another case of ciguatera! The sunsets have been pretty and we're enjoying having the moon. It won't rise until after 11 tonight for my watch but Jon has it for his whole shift. I enjoy looking at the stars and sometimes can't tell if a setting star is a ship's light on the horizon.
We seem to have entered into a period of stuff breaking. So far they're relatively small items but it doesn't give you a warm fuzzy to have a long list of broken stuff when you have no option to get replacements. Fortunately, our friend Tim's brother is coming to visit at the end of this month. As soon as we all found out he was coming, we hurried & got on the internet to start ordering a bunch of must-have stuff. Tim had a wish list a mile long but at that time we only had a shoebox sized amount of stuff we needed. Well that was before we discovered that the 2nd autopilot pump was failing, and also before everything started breaking at a breakneck pace! Now our little shoebox has grown to three times that. We've got the pump ordered (more on that at a later time), replacement headphones for Jon, a new propane pigtail since the current one is now held together with JB Weld, a replacement masthead light, a replacement pair of sunglasses for Jon since his good ones were stepped on and a couple of other things I can't think of. But things we won't be getting until we come home have broken in the past few days. My electric toothbrush (of 16 great years of service) bit the dust the other day. Yesterday, I noticed a pool of water at the galley sink & realized that the salt water foot pump had broken. Then we heard all this rattling in the engine compartment and turns out that the blower fan is busted- maybe the bearings are too worn. So now the fan is off and compartment lid is cracked for ventilation. Then today I was taking a nap and awoke to the same burning electrical smell that we noted on the long passage- turns out it's the fan we use to blow over us in our sea berth. It really burned up this time! Mind you, I did find it in the outgoing trash at our old marina but it wasn't unusual to find brand new stuff there. Problem is we now are addicted to having that fan! The Maretron weather station is broken for the second time but we decided it's time to try a new company for that. We have two pieces of deck hardware that we should have ordered replacements for but forgot so hopefully they'll hold out until we get to New Zealand. I guess a lot of things on the boat are getting old even though it feels like we just installed them. Well that and we're putting a lot of miles on this year. Hopefully next year will be easier on things. Jon re-spliced the broken snubber for the anchor chain so that is at least back in one piece. Here's hoping the spell is broken!
We stocked up on delicious pamplemousse before leaving the Marquesas along with mangos and limes, not to mention the 25 bananas hanging on the stern. I even got to pick some fresh mint from the garden we bought the lettuce from so I've been using that in limeade the past few days. I'd gotten it for mohitos (?sp) but we don't drink on passages so... We also found & stocked up on wasabi so are ready for more tuna, which probably assures we won't get any! And I finally broke down and bought a breadfruit- a Marquesan staple, more of a starchy vegetable than a fruit. What we had at the lunch where it was soaked in coconut milk with the shrimp was so good, I figured I should try it for something myself. I've just got to figure out what. Maybe a curry.
I meant to mention that those lovely Marquesan beaches aren't all paradise because they're generally filled with nonos- the Marquesan version of the noseeum. I don't usually have a problem with bug bites but I see that my skin is covered in bites from them. Every time we went ashore during the day (they apparently lay low at night) they would zero in on my arms and eat the heck out of them. So it's several days later and they're still there like a souvenir.
Well, hopefully in 3 days or so we'll be inside an atoll in clear water, looking at lots of interesting fish with our scuba gear on. If the compressor doesn't break, our routine is to dive in the morning, then come back to the boat and refill the tanks while we eat lunch, then go back out for another early afternoon dive. Also, I've got my heart set on buying some famous black pearls for earrings since the atolls are where the pearl farms are. You can tour some of them and buy your pearls straight from the farmers. It only took me some 35 years to get my ears pierced so now I've got some catching up to do on my earring collection!