Initial Approach to Majuro
30 January 2019 | 8 56'N:173 47'E, Under 200 to Majuro
Well, it certainly feels like i've been out here for a minute - half a month as of right now - and at long last, I am finally approaching my destination. As of this writing, QUIVER and I are just 188 miles from my waypoint into the reef pass at Majuro Island; the most populous island in the Marshall Islands. Based on somewhere between a 5 and 6 knot average speed, plus the additional 15 or so miles upwind to reach the town on Majuro, I am anticipating a day time arrival on Friday. I do not know exactly what the procedure will be, but i'll be trying to clear customs, or at least check in on Friday.
Weather still looks good, I am reaching Majuro at the high point in their season, and I can see why. This is apparently the dryest, nicest, most tradewind-iest time of year in this part of the world, and while I am not quite to Majuro, I can confidently say that this is a very consistent tradewind belt. I have already come to terms with the fact that i'll be surfing in a lot of side-shore wind conditions. When it goes glassy in the squally, grey, morning sickness that it tends to do, that's when i'll be getting on the surf at Alinglaplap AtollÉ. I digress. As you can tell, i'm ready to reach the Marshalls, get off the boat, and surf for a bit.
Last night was quite windy, probably sustained breeze around 22-25 with gusts higher. With just a #3 jib poled out, QUIVER was launching wildly on surfing runs while I enjoyed a book, movie and meal down below. Tanguy continues to steer brilliantly well. Today and tonight are lighter, but just on the cusp to where I start contemplating adding more sail area and getting us moving faster. Making the boat go 7 knots feel like you're really pushing it; hard on the boat and not that comfy down below. Making the boat go 5-6 knots feels pretty mellow; easy on the boat and quite comfy down below. So in these light conditions, considering that they are dead downwind, there is little incentive to even carry the main. When reaching or upwind, it's obviously a different story. But in going downwind to the Marshalls in the trades, I am somewhat surprised to find out that my most common sail plan was a poled out #3 and no main. Considering that this is the most tired, old, next-to-be-repla ced sail in my inventory, it's good to see how important this sail is early on in the voyage. I will certainly be trying to come up with money for a new #3 this year, though i'm currenlty getting great returns on my current one!
I still can't pick up the Majuro morning cruiser's SSB net on my shortwave radio. This thing has proven underwhelming in it's performance, but it's all I have out here, so c'est la vie. I have managed to consistentlhy pick up English-language broadcasts out of China and New Zealand. The Chinese one certainly has a government propaganda feel to it, while the Kiwi one reminds me that come two days from now, I am going to be in a very different place than where I left. I'm traveling again. Out of America. New places and expereinces.
Aloha from s/v QUIVER, Ronnie