SLOW ROAD TO TONGA

Since yesterday the winds have been light from the east.  We have managed to keep the boat moving along, also got a bit of breeze through the boat to cool things down a bit.  Noon to noon run of just over one hundred miles came as a surprise as I thought we had done even less.  We have less than a thousand miles to go to Neiafu.

Rigging Spinnaker pole at sunset
Rigging Spinnaker pole at sunset

Apart from the light breeze the weather is perfect.  Last night Jessica cooked a great pasta dish for dinner after which we watched Dumb and Dumber under the stars in the cockpit.  Good to have some banal humour after frustrations of light wind sailing.

The fishing is not going too well.  I am using smaller lures hoping we will catch smaller fish.  So far, we haven’t caught anything but have two lures smashed to pieces and the triple hooks straightened out.  So, I presume big fish still take small lures – they just don’t get caught by them.  I will persevere in the hope of landing a small succulent dolphin fish.

Next weeks weather is looking a harsh, we have three days of twenty to twenty-five knot winds and four-meter seas.  There is no way around it.  If the wind and seas come from the right angle we can make good time but it will be a bit uncomfortable for a while.  Then, as we approach Tonga the forecast is for very light winds – maybe we will use the engine rather than hang around if it happens.

This morning, during my pre-noon siesta, I was half asleep dreaming of being in a hotel room with a king size bed, clean crisp sheets and bathroom with unlimited shower water.  Then I realised I haven’t slept in a bed since April.  Jessica says we should treat ourselves to a night in a hotel room in Tonga.   Total voyage distance 646 miles.

BREAKING FREE FROM HAWAII

Wind holes, rain clouds and general difficulty in breaking free from the Hawaiian Island chain.  This afternoon we are 145 miles east of the Big Island and still in its wind shadow.  Frustration gave way to action at three this afternoon, I started the engine and motored to the south.  After two hours we had not found any wind – I gave it an extra hour and at six in the evening we found the edge of the wind and started sailing.

The wind is coming from the South South East and not the East as expected and forecast.  This means we are sailing on a close reach but still can’t lay our course south.  Instead of a sailing along parallel to the waves we are crashing over them at an angle.  Since last night we have been dodging to the south through a minefield of large rain clouds interspaced with calm patches and squalls.

I expect the wind will go around to the East in a couple of days and we can make our easting before the doldrums and crossing to Kiritimati.Our days run the last 24 hours was a disappointing one hundred miles.  But considering how long we spent becalmed it’s not too bad.  Three of those hours were on the engine – I will take it.
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Jessica and I are still slightly affected by the dodgy camembert we consumed a couple of days ago.  We decided to have some good food, lunch today was pasta with pesto, fresh tomatoes, basil and dried salami.  It turned out pretty good.  I then had a go at making cornbread.  Its edible and the next batch will be way better.

This morning we had a dolphin fish on the line, unfortunately he managed to escape before we landed him in the boat.  A nice small size – perfect eating.  Not that we are disappointed, now we know the lure is OK and there are fish in the sea waiting to be caught.  Voyage distance 206 miles.