Today was dedicated to clean up and chores on board Truce and taking it easy. In beautiful calm sunny weather, I set about tidying the boat. Stowing all the bits and bobs that I had been using on passage and stashed in the quarter berth for convenience and ease of access from the cockpit.
On the passage from Tonga we used the engine far more than usual to get through the extensive calm patches. All the running meant that the scheduled one-hundred-and-fifty-hour oil change became due sooner than expected. Changing the oil isn’t a job I like, it’s always messy sucking the old oil out of the dipstick hole. With a bag full of rags, the job was accomplished and Mr Yanmar now has clean oil and a new oil filter to keep him happy for a while.
Another session at the laundry means that we have fresh bed linen and towels on board. The last laundry session was in Honolulu and the supply of clean sheets and towels had been exhausted – laundry was definitely due.
I don’t know where the day went, time flies when your having fun, but soon it was happy hour and time for some refreshment. I got myself cleaned up and headed down to the Opua Yacht Club – just a short walk away. Nice to sit out on the deck overlooking the harbour as the sun goes down. The sand-flies also enjoyed dining out on my body.
I was back on-board Truce in the early evening as I plan to sail south tomorrow. I checked the weather, tides and put a course on the chart, with a list of available stops and shelters on the way. Not sure yet where I will go tomorrow. I am heading south down the coast towards Auckland, first I need to get around Cape Brett and then have an idea I may stop in Whangarei. We shall see tomorrow how it plays out.
Yesterday afternoon I tacked east and after a few hours the wind started to back around and I could head south again. We are close hauled on the port tack again with the wind from south of east. The motion became quite violent on board as Truce was jumping off waves and crashing into the following one. I have reduced sail to preserve body and boat. We should still make Christmas Island in two days if the wind does not go any more south.
The sunrise this morning was magnificent. Blue skies and high cloud. No more ITCZ. We spent four days in there and had two wonderful nights sailing, dining and watching movies in the cockpit. We also had two not so good nights.
This morning I did my bread making workout. Quite an effort when going to windward. Hopefully this batch will last a couple of days.
The Truce movie appreciation society watched the first ‘Men in Black’ movie last night. Jessica’s choice. I have seen it a couple of times previously, it was a family favourite with the children – but still entertaining to watch again.
Talk is now turning to Christmas Island and what we will do when we get there. Important items include go for a long walk (Jessica), fresh fruit, laundry and cold beer(me), snorkelling, fresh fish, fresh vegetables, sleep and hang out with the locals. Christmas Island is on GMT plus fourteen hours, we will need to adjust a day before we get there as we are currently on GMT minus ten. Voyage distance 1,026 miles.
We are now five hundred miles from Kiritimati. A large area of calms is showing up in front of us and appears to be growing by the day. This is the ITCZ, an area of calms, thunderstorms and variable winds we need to cross before Christmas Island. The current weather is overcast with rain, the winds are getting lighter as each hour passes.
The wind is still on the port bow, aa it has been since the first day out of Honolulu. Truce is still moving along nicely as we continue to work our way to the south with an allowance to the east. I think that by this evening the wind will be very light and the fun starts.
Once again the solar panels are not putting out enough charge to keep us topped up. I have switched off some non-essential items to conserve power until we can get a nice sunny day. The combination of short tropical days and continuous overcast skies is something I hadn’t counted on.
Last night’s fresh Dolphinfish Thai fish curry was excellent. Jessica did a fantastic job of cooking in a galley that was jumping around – not chef friendly. We decided not to have rice with the curry and cooked pasta instead. Neither Jessica or I like cooking rice without a rice cooker (one of mans great inventions) – it always sticks to the pan and needs cleaning off. I am sure the Thai’s and Italians wouldn’t approve the mix, but there are not here. It was good. Voyage distance 695 miles.