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.

C’MON, ENOUGH SQUALLS

WeatherWhat a day and night.  Completely unsettled weather.  I have just counted from the log book, we had eight squalls during the last 24 hours.  Sails have been up, down, in and out.  At one stage, we were hove to under triple reefed main for twenty minutes.  I feel pretty knackered from the effort of trying to keep momentum towards Tonga.  The boat is wet through.  A few times during the past day we have been headed in completely the wrong direction.  Another first, the outboard motor is stowed on the stern rain, this morning, during a squall, the propeller was spinning in the wind.

But, its all good since lunch time, we seem to have entered a clear area with consistent easterly winds around twenty knots.  The sky is clearer, the sun is coming through and a few Simpson clouds are starting to appear.  We are making good time towards Neiafu and have less than six hundred miles to go.

Last night we passed south of Tema Reef with Pukapuka island to the north and Nassau island to the south.  The chart says these islands belong to New Zealand.  I wonder if any ministers visit them to check they are still there.

Still no luck fishing – changed the lure today – just pot luck dragging a lure behind the boat.  Can’t be any skill involved.  Total Voyage distance 1,021 miles.

NIGHT OF FLYING SQUID

Ray Penson
Ray Penson

An action filled night on board Truce.  We are into an area of unsettled weather and rain squalls.  Two hit us between nine and midnight.  The midnight squall was so strong and persistent that we stowed the mainsail and sailed on staysail only.

During the second squall I noticed a strong fishy smell.  Jessica had the flashlight and identified the culprit – a smashed up squid in the cockpit.  I also found squid on the side decks.  What was causing the squid to fly I wondered.  The rain at the time was torrential and the wind going crazy.  Did the squid jump out of the water on board or were they caught up in the rain?  I have heard of it raining cats and dogs but don’t really believe it.  But I have read that frogs sometime get into rain clouds before dropping back to earth.

When stowing the main I noticed a fishy smell around the deck and sail – but could not find any squid lying around.  I was also puzzled why the squid had a fishy smell when it was fresh out the ocean.

Daylight revealed the reason for the fishy smell around the main sail and an explanation for the squid in the cockpit.  Some airborne creature had shit all over the mainsail.  What a mess, we tried cleaning it off but had no luck.  The bird must have been eating squid as the excrement is ink black.  I suspect the same bird regurgitated the squid into the cockpit on his way past – hence the fishy smell.

This morning we had three hours of good sailing before the squalls stared again.  They really are tiresome. A very strong one hit us at three in the afternoon and laid on our beam ends.  I simultaneously let go the main sheet, disengaged the wind vane, let go the jib halyard and started furling the jib.  This was a particularly violent squall, I had been watching it come approach, nothing indicated it would be nasty.

This evening we had no movie showing, its too windy and wet in the cockpit.  Total Voyage distance 899 miles.