THE PENULTIMATE NIGHT AT SEA

We have both got the channels – even worse than yesterday.  Last night the discussion turned to food again and the dishes we were going to eat in Tonga.  Then Jessica started showing me photos of the food she had been eating in Vietnam.  We both seem to be slightly obsessed with the food thing now.

Well, the sailing has been good if not spectacular.  We have been sailing in beautiful weather, (Inc. occasional rain shower), with the jib poled out for the last twenty-four hours.  The winds have been light overnight and filling in this morning to around twelve knots, a slow night but perfect sailing weather now.  I have not touched the self-steering or sails, we just keep heading down the track.  Almost as though Truce knows the way, like a horse sniffing the stables.

Our arrival time at Neiafu is still Monday evening.  I will slow down as we reach the coast and enter at daylight, hopefully going direct alongside the dock for our clearance into Tonga.

Last night I did have something on toast as predicted.  At the back of the cupboard I have two tins of kippered herring skulking about – they went to Alaska with me last year.  I thought it was time to try one.  It was dreadful and ruined perfectly good toast.  I will try and barter the other tin with some gullible person for something edible.

Fishing is slow.  The smaller lures I have been using are not catching anything.  Another lure has lost its hooks to something.  The small lure strategy is a failure.  I have concluded we have the wrong line and the wrong lures.  I will replace both in Tonga and then start catching fish like a pro.

The wind was light and the sky clear for last nights screening in the cockpit.  We watched ‘Snatch’, a UK film.  Very humorous if not a bit violent.  Not suitable for everyone, having a British sense of humour is helpful.  Total voyage distance 1,470 miles.

ARRIVAL SITKA

The sun rose this morning to perfect calm, water like a mirror and the mountains reflecting upside down.  I had a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit in glorious warm sunshine.

It was a nice easy couple of hours trip down from the anchorage to Sitka where the harbourmaster allocated me a berth for two days.  Once tied up I gave the US Boarder protection guys a call and checked in.  Foreign boats have a cruising permit and need to check in at each major port along the way.

Calm sunrise near Sitka. Photo Ray Penson
Calm sunrise near Sitka. Photo Ray Penson

First stop ashore was the chandlers to get a few spares for ongoing repair and maintenance.  When you have a boat it’s a never ending job keeping everything running smoothly.  I am replacing a toilet inlet hose and a non-return valve in the bilge pump system – not very glamorous jobs but its easier to maintain now than fix if it goes wrong.

I also need a new strainer for the engine raw water cooling inlet, the type on board is quite old and I am not hopeful of getting a replacement.  Anyway I took the old strainer up to the chandlers as a sample.  Ah yes he said, I know it exactly, we had one sitting on the shelf over there for eight years – a guy came in last week and bought it!  He didn’t know the manufacturer, part number or model it had been there so long the records had been lost.  Almost lucky.

The thing I must do this port call is get USA compatible gas bottles.  The guy at the chandlery said he had the same problem as me, he got new bottles as there is nowhere to change out valves in Sitka.  I will hunt around tomorrow and find a solution, also do the laundry and get some fresh food.

This evening I had a nice shower and am ready to socialise with people again.  Tomorrow after my chores I will have a look around town and do the tourist thing – plenty of tourists here with the cruise ships.  Laundry is due again and a bit of shopping for fresh food.  So far I am liking Sitka.  Total voyage distance 1,229.7 miles.

Logged 22nd June 2016