A DAY OF TWO HALVES

As they say in football – today has been a day of two halves.  From midday to midnight we romped along, reefed down, in twenty knot winds doing a comfortable six knots.  At midnight, we had clocked seventy plus miles and all was good.  After midnight we ran into a rain squall (probably a front) and after a brief flurry the wind disappeared.

Since midnight we have been ghosting along and now have the jib poled out to port and doing three to four knots in glorious weather but not much breeze.  The forecasters wanted to give us twenty knots again today – oh how wrong they got it.

It looks like this light weather has blown our planned ETA for the 21st in Neiafu, we will most likely arrive on Tuesday now.  Just another day to wait for a cold beer – maybe I should drink an extra one to compensate.

Last night we watched ‘Men in Black 3’ in the cockpit.  Great movie – they don’t need to make any more MIB’s.  The weather is still hot but absolutely no complaints.  Two fishing boats turned up last night, the first vessels we have seen since leaving Christmas Island.

At lunch time today we used the last of our eggs.  One was a floater so went over the side to Davie Jones.  Fresh food is almost finished now, all that is remaining is a large onion from Honolulu.  It still looks in perfect condition so suspect it has a similar upbringing to the atomic (never go ripe) tomatoes I experienced in Alaska.  Total Voyage distance 1,130 miles.

SAILING INTO THE TROPIC OF CANCER

Looking at the log book for last night I see I was having a hard time.  Sails up and down, in and out, tacking, gybing and engine on.  Sometimes reducing sail as going too fast and others just no wind.  I was surprised to find we had covered 109 miles noon to noon, a commendable effort in such trying conditions.  It must be good for you, good exercise in the fresh air.

Since midday it has been easy street.  Sailing with just the jib poled out to port, making a steady five plus knots in sparkling weather directly towards our destination.  Also, an opportunity to catch up on some sleep from the night before.

Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Photo Ngozi Penson
Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Photo Ngozi Penson

Today we crossed the imaginary line into the Tropic of Cancer.  This line marks the furthest point north the sun will get before heading back to the south again.  If you stood on the line at midday of the summer solstice the sun would be directly overhead at noon.  The word tropic is derived from a Greek word meaning to turn (that’s what we learned in navigation).

The Greeks were quite good at maths and figuring out what the planets were doing.  The ancient Brits were also up to speed on all that stuff – just that being illiterate they couldn’t write it down – they had to explain it in big stone circles

Entering the Tropics. Ray Penson jpg
Entering the Tropics. Ray Penson jpg

This time last year Truce and I were in Sitka Alaska.  Sitka was a really nice place, one of the best towns in Alaska.

What a contrast sailing into Hawaii.

I am getting quite excited by it all now and really looking forward to getting ashore in Hilo, only three more days to go.

A small rum and coke will be appropriate for sundowners today, we are in the tropics after all.

Voyage distance 1,816 miles.

BACK IN NEW ZEALAND

I have been back in New Zealand for ten days now.  So good to see family again, but It’s difficult to transition from being a freewheeling sailor to the role of domestic slave, taking orders from the ‘Boss’ wife.  The creature comforts of home are however a welcome change, having a hot shower on tap is a true luxury.

Milford beach, North Shore City. Auckland
Milford beach looking out to Rangitoto. New Zealand

Truce is sitting on the hard in Canoe Cove Marina.  I put her to bed as best I could as I was hindered by my cracked ribs.  Everything is stowed away but I am concerned about the damp that may get into the boat over the winter.  When on the hard I will get a few maintenance works done so come spring we are in good shape to go again.

My health is excellent after the trip, I feel fit and relaxed but have lost about 6 Kg in weight and now weigh around 77Kg.  (170lbs).  I ate very well on the trip so my weight loss seems to be caused by three things, being overweight in the first place, burning up calories in cold weather doing physical stuff and not eating processed food and sugary snacks.

I suffered from some distress to my hands before they hardened up to sailing and a few aches and pains from using muscles not normally pressed into service.  My fall and cracked ribs I take as a (painful) lesson to plan better and complete one job at a time when single handing.

Now I am back in New Zealand I am looking forward to the summer and some warm weather and catching up with all the little odd jobs and other tedious bureaucratic pains of shore life.  Houses (like boats) need maintenance and there is some of that to do as well.  I also need to do some paid work and harvest some money for the cruising coffers, I will look for some ship delivery work which I enjoy.

Next I will post some thoughts about my trip to Alaska.