REST, RECUPERATION AND TIDY UP IN OPUA

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.

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.

RESORT TO MECHANIC POWER

All through the night and up to one this afternoon we had a beautiful sail.  Steady wind twelve to sixteen knots and running very comfortably towards Hilo at between five and six knots.  Then suddenly the wind stopped blowing.  We went around in circles a few times and then nix, nada, nothing.

By four in the afternoon I gave in trying to sail.  On came the Yanmar engine and we resumed a noisy voyage to the south.

I am disappointed as the wind was forecast to be steady and at this time of year should be blowing trade wind style day in day out.  Oh well, no use complaining, can’t beat nature.  One thing you learn quickly when sailing is patience.  The wind will return in its own time.

In the meantime, life on board goes on.  The usual daily routines and checks.  The usual long debates about what I will eat.  I have no fresh fruit or veg on board now, it’s finished.  My thoughts are turning towards Hawaii, what to do, where to go and fresh food.  Anyway, mustn’t get ahead of myself, need to get there first.

In view of health and safety and the increasingly warm temperatures experienced, beer o’clock has been moved up to midday.  The need to keep hydrated has necessitated this move.  Five o’clock will now be called sundowners or cocktail hour as appropriate.  Voyage distance 1,707 miles.