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Sunday, August 28, 2011

We have lost track of time.

Ship's Log

August 24, 2011
Lat 17 degrees 30 min S

Lon 149 degrees 51 min W

"I am Sorry"

O. M. Goodness, we have lost track of time. When it happened I have no idea. Each day rolls into the next and where are we? Minetta and Nicholas have arrived and we all sailed to Moorea. Hahiti was lovely and we are topped up with diesel, propane, gas, water, all manner of food and fishing gear replenished.

(Coming through the Tuamotos)there was a wild night of storm as we approached Tahiti followed by a sleighride south to Cape Venus (on the island of Tahiti)"full & bye" in brilliant Trade Wind breeze. All the Tuamoto Transit has faded, the Papeete Marche (Public Market) has been traversed several times.

Scuba diving is the present task and Moorea's Baie de Opunohu is our current abode. "On the hook" in 40 feet of water with not a boat in sight. Papeete has everything minus fast internet. We had hoped to send along pictures and videos however not to be - yet!

Lost in Paradise


Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Moorea and Paradise continues...

Oh my goodness how time flies - we are now definitely into 'island time' and the days fly by and suddenly we realize that we have not posted to our blog for days and days! 

Just to give you a quick recap - we arrived in Tahiti safely after night of squalls, heavy rainsand winds that couldn't make up their minds regarding direction.  We sailed into the safety of the Papeete inner reef channel a week ago in a beautiful sunny afternoon. 

We were able to tie up to a mooring buoy at the Marina Tiana just a quick bus ride away from 'downtown' Papeete. 

We picked up Minetta and Nicholas (our daughter and her boyfriend) at the airport on Saturday, August 20th, spent a couple of days exploring the island (including a few trips to the Papeete Marche (public market) and out to the beach where Billabong Surfers were having their international competition.

We then sailed over to Moorea with the approach being in heavy rains and fog so that we had to turn on the radar!  We are now safely moored in Baie d' Opunohu (sp?) 2.5 km from Cook's Bay.

We have found an internet cafe to enter this message but we are quickly running out of time!  Our Sailmail connection is really affected negatively when we anchor in mountainous bays so our regular blog entries are not getting through as timely as we would like.  We suspect it will improve once we get back out into the open water on our way to the island of Huahine (in 3-4 days...).

Until then we wish you all well...

Cath and Bill

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gentle Giant

Ship's log

Sunday August 14, 2011

Lat 16 degrees 27 min S

Lon 147 degrees 57 minutes W

Boat speed: 2.6 kts

Wind speed: 4.5 kts

Course: 196 degreees True

These last two days have been the gentlest sailing we have ever experienced in the South Pacific. Yesterday the seas were like glass and there was not a breath of wind... truly a gentle giant. Terrwyn gently came to a stop carried along only by the slight westerly current that flows through the Tuamoto Archipelago - otherwise known by sailors of old as the "Dangerous Archipelago". This Archipelago consists of a large number of atolls... approximately 40 of them with names and numerous others unnamed... all of them with land not higher than 15 feet and of course the ubiquitous palm trees adding another story to the height. One gulps when one thinks that many ocean swells can build to that and higher. Hence the name "Dangerous Archipelago".

As with much in this world that is dangerous this group of atolls is also extremely beautiful. Some cruisers would be aghast that one would sail across the South Pacific and not stop and anchor in one of these little atolls... each one being a coral reef many only having one small pass as an entrance to those who wish to stop awhile to enjoy their beauty. However, currents, wind, tide, and the resulting waves can make this gem of the pacific a sailor's nightmare if one is not extremely careful or terribly lucky. The unaware or careless may well end up as one of the marked or unmarked shipwrecks that dot this place.

We have decided to sail right through one of the 'slots' between the most northwest atolls and head straight for Tahiti and that is what we are doing as I write. As I have mentioned, yesterday was one of our most calm days of sailing even compared to our brief sojourn through the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone or "The Doldrums") way back in Latitude 8 degrees North!! We were able to take advantage of the light airs (that is an understatment!) to hoist not only our beautiful new Hasse and Co. built bright red drifter (with our Triskele symbol proudly displayed) but decided to fly wing on wing, our original blue and white spinnaker. We had promised Hasse that we would be doing that and she had laughed and asked for photos if that were ever to happen... well, photos were duly taken and will be posted for all to see!

Our evening was surreal - our beautiful Terrwyn sitting on a sea of glass with the sun slowly sinking... and I suggested to Bill that he might want to go swimming - what a chance to do something that we never expected would happen... (note: I suggested that ONLY Bill go swimming). He jumped at the chance and we threw out a line from the stern, let down the swim ladder and in he went! Amazing - there he was swimming around the boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!! The water was so clear that it looked like he was suspended in liquid air! Then he suggested the unspeakable! He wanted ME to jump in too!! Oh no!! I only swim when it is warm, safe, certainly not in a depth of 4,500 metres and definitely not when our only place of security was sailing, albeit extremely slowly, away from both of us! No, no, no, not me... I couldn't risk my security and our safety!... but it did look so inviting and really not too too cool and the line from Terrwyn's stern was tied securely and Bill did assure me that all would be well. So I did!! Yes I did!! I gently let myself submerge into that glassy water and swam in the ocean with my Billy my side. Oh my! Bill then scooted up the ladder and went below for the camera as I hung onto the line... he urged me to let go of the line as it was long enough to grab when needed. So I did... forgetting that it was a sinking line and had soon sunk well below my reach! Panic ensued as I saw Terrwyn and my co-cap sailing away from me leaving me floating alone in this wide, wide DEEP - don't forget I told you it is over 4,000 metres deep- with numerous unknown sea creatures just waiting to gobble up this tender yet slightly bony bit of humanity!! (ok - I'm being a bit melodramatic here, but it was very unnerving) - of course Bill quickly pulled in the line and threw it back to me so I could grab it and I swam back to the safety of the swim ladder, Terrwyn and my Billy... gulp! After a big hug we shared hot, fresh water showers on deck and sat back to enjoy the sunset.

Our night continued with a full moon shining on the smooth sea and a gentle wind picking up so that we soon began to sail again toward our destination. Oh my! Another first in this adventure on this unpredictable giant!

On The Sea Again

Ship's Log August 09, 2011
Lat 12 degrees 32.5 min S

Lon 143 degrees 26.5 min W
The World that is Terrwyn!

We are "on the sea again" (apologies to Willy Nelson) on our 3 rd longest crossing of the entire trip ( the 1st and longest was 3900 nm from Quadra Island to the Marquises; the 2nd longest will be the passageway from Tonga to New Zealand at 1100 nat the latter end of our trip). We hope to arrive in Papeete within 7-8m days. So sad to be leaving the beuatiful Marquises Islands where we made so many great friends both ashore and on other boats, but it is time to move on.

Our crossings bring our world much closer and definitely seen through a different perspective. It seems weird that when we sail with only the big, wide ocean as far as one can see, our boundariestend to become very small! Our world shrinks to our wee (relatively) 37' boatand all within her. Our population is - 2 - with a few transient friends popping in now and again (birds and various sea life).

At sea we establish our routines very quickly: 4 hour watches; planning and preparing meals... oh yes, and cleaning up afterwards which Bill is so skilled at!; personal ablutions -as sponge bath or nice warm showere on the foredeck if it is not too rolly; (Bill likes to be clean shaven... as do I)!!; adjusting sails and sail trim when required; checking our fishing lines (and setting new ones when the lures happen to get chewed off1); reading; playing our ukelele(s); playing Crib (only in the evenings); preparing our Pacific Seaferes Net report at 0300 Zulu or UTC time (formerly referred to as Greenwich Mean Time); calling in the report to the net at 0330 Zulu...

We are sailing with a double-reefed main; staysail;and a full jib with the SE Trades blowing 14-20 knots and we doing 5.5-6.0 knots which means we are able to average 120 nm per day. We are on a nice consisten bean reach on a port takc (Terrwyn's favoured tack) which we hope to maintainall the way to Tahiti. This has been our greatest day and night of sailing ever! We decided to travel straight through the Tuamoto Atolls so that we can be in Tahiti with lots of time before Min and Nick arrive on August 20th. ... and so will start another interesting chapter in this, Bill and cathy's sea story.

All of this within the small world that is Terrwyn out on the wide, wide ocean.

P.S. Late breaking news!! - Yesterday while I was on watch I suddenly saw one of our fishing lines go taut and I quickly scanned the water where our lure was tripping along. The lure was no longer to be seen and in its stead was a lovely Yellowfin Tuna! I yelled at Bill to come up quickly so that we could bring it in without losing it... and we did. As soon as we had that fish nicely filletted and Bill had hosed down the cockpit I just happened to look back and sure enough there was another fish on our second line!! Both Bill and I looked aghast since one 20 lb. Tuna is certainly big enough for two - one can only have so much tuna sushimi; baked tuna; grilled tuna steaks ... Yeah I know you got it!! We tried to bring the second fish in alive, detach the lure and send it back on it's merry way. That did not happen so we had another blood bath in our cockpit and even more tuna fillets. You may wonder why that would be a problem - well for those of us who only have essentially an icebox (our freezer block only works when the motor is running and it has been such fantastic sailing I'm afraid we will have to sacrifice a good portion of these fishes :-( Both of us said it almost makes one want to be a vegetarian.

Take care from the middle of the South Pacific Ocean with the best sailing we have ever experienced... and eating tuna sushimi!!

Bill and Cath

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anaho Bay NE Nuku Hiva

Lat 8 degrees 49 min S

Lon 140 degrees 03 min W

Distant rooster or two; carol of no-name song birds; ripple, ripple, gurgle of water along side; Cathy purring right here and a gentle little swaying motion of the boat. No roll this morning in paradise. Temperature perfect, little breeze wiffles through. Agenda - rest and water, maybe explore the coral reef described right along side and fresh water showers on the beach.

Our best anchorage in the Marquases and one of the finest. Definitely sad and bitter sweet (as it is our last anchorage in this group of beautiful islands) but a wonderful spot to replace our fresh water (first time) and heal our tattoos and my little "Man Flu".

Replenishing our ship's water. I love this as it can now be added to my list of Nautical Traditions of old I have read and dreamed about so often. And it will be classically schlepping jerrry lcans in the dink from beach to boat, back and forth. 20 gallons /trip X5, a labour of love. Off the palm lined beach.

Other traditions I love:

1) LAN, "noon site", latitude calculation from the sun's Meridian Passage each "noon" and the official beginning of each sea day.

2) Rum ration at Dog Watch (after the beer is done).

2) Neptune's Party (we Pollywogs molting into Shellbacks on crossing the Equator).

3) Nightly lowering the ensign and hoisting the "kerosene anchorlight" (Lyn and Larry - thank you!).

4) Hanking on and off our staysail on the heaving foredeck at sea.

5) Tattoos in South Pacific.

6) Racing every sailboat in sight.

But we must refocus on today, explore the coral reef and check out the village ashore that awaits us.

From Anaho Bay we set sail direct for Papeete - 800+ nm (SSW). We have decided to navigate through the Tuamoto's rather than stop and enter some coral atoll through coral atoll entrance using visual navigation, and all the risks attendant. Old sailors, not bold sailors, we be. "Through the Tuamoto's" is bold plenty and this way we avoid further windward tacks i.e. it's downwind for "full n' bye" on the SE Trades for Tahiti we are next bound - someday too soon.

Fair Winds