ENGINE OFF AND SAILING AGAIN

No wind this last twenty-four hours and the engine has been running constantly.  The diesel bunker is getting low now so I was grateful when the wind finally showed up just after noon.  Since then we have been sailing nicely straight down the track to Opua in beautify weather.

In anticipation of the big blow this evening and tomorrow morning I have hanked on the storm staysail.  A no nonsense robust little thing, built like a brick outhouse.  I hope it’s not needed but better to rig it now than be fighting with it in the dark on a pitching deck and a howling wind.

This morning I saw another yacht ahead and to Starboard.  They are now astern, I can just see the tip of their mast showing above the horizon.  They may catch up later as I usually ease off at dusk so I can rest easy during the night.  They are on the same course as me to Opua so we may meet up at the customs dock.

During my morning walk around the boat I noticed a few small squid that had come on board during the night.  This seems to validate my theory about flying squid.  They were perfect eating size, I wish I had got to them when they were still fresh.  The bird life is back again this afternoon, they came back with the wind.  Good to have company but the albatross has not been back.

DAY 13 ON THE FROM TONGA

This morning the wind finally died at ten, just ripples on the water.  We now have a huge spreading calm patch to get through before picking up the strong north westerly winds that will take us the final step to Opua.

The Yanmar engine has been running since the wind left us. Maybe it will be running for the next day as well – if the diesel lasts out.  So, we are making slow progress and now expect to arrive on Wednesday morning instead of Tuesday night.

I haven’t seen much bird life today.  I think the birds like some wind to play with, just like us sailors.  In the distance I saw another boat this morning, don’t know what it was, not a big ship or yacht so maybe a fishing boat.  The first boat I have seen since departing Minerva Reef on the 15th.

When making pasta last night one of my gas bottle ran out.  One that I had refilled in San Francisco back in June.  Amazing how long these gas bottles last, must be the best value fuel out there.

My food stock is getting low now, at least the stuff I want to eat.  My diet for the next days until port will be boring pasta, noodles, cereal and the occasional tin of something.

Last night we changed clocks to Summer time in New Zealand.  To celebrate this occasion, I am having an extra tot of Mount Gay Rum for sundowners this evening – I still have two fresh limes from Nuku’alofa.

10,000 MILES WITH TRUCE

Banging to windward all last night and today on starboard tack.  Getting to New Zealand is a battle, every mile must be won.  I am not complaining – some are still in the north waiting for a break in the weather and one yachtsman is sheltering at Raoul Island.

The daybreak this morning was beautiful and the day is sparkling but the wind is cool from the south west.  I am seeing more birdlife today, this morning we were visited by an albatross.  The bird circled a couple of times before flying alongside, looking us over with the beady eye of the ancient mariner.  What majestic animals.

This morning I was completing our voyage records and discovered that today Truce and I have just completed 10,000 miles together today.  We did 2,700 plus miles last year between Canoe Cove and Glacier Bay in Alaska.  This year we have done over 7,200 miles across the Pacific, from Canada to New Zealand.  I would say we know each other quite well although I still have much to learn.

Now less than 300 miles to Opua.  But we still have a calm patch and a gale to get through.  The maximum forecast winds for Tuesday have just increased from thirty-nine to forty-two knots.  Oh boy – I don’t fancy that.  I will hank on the storm staysail tomorrow.