Sunday, October 02, 2011

From the Captain...

I've got to eat the home canned food before NZ or else they trash it, so tonight it was a jar of beef.

BTW - I've been cracking an egg over rice for breakfast, along with some raisins - not bad in lieu of oatmeal.  Egg in or over oatmeal works to, and you get some protein for breakfast without any additional time or pots!  Cook on top or stir in usually for the last 3 or 4 minutes of cook time - depends how I'm feeling.  You might try it. Add raisins, fruit etc. + herbs and spice for variety.

Meals have been a bit rugged of late.  I'm really not interested in cooking.

Made the passage from the Vava'ul Group where the cruising grounds are down to Nuka'alofa at the south end.  Tactical error.  First, the earliest I can probably leave is in two weeks - and second, there's not much scope here for things interesting.  In fact, there's very little and the place has a slow dying feel about it.  It was a bit tough getting here.  I misinterpreted the forecast and ended up with light winds.  Plan A was to stop in the Hapai group which is supposed to be nice but a bit tricky with reefs etc.  A smell of diesel exhaust around the nav station suggests a leak so rather than mess around, I decided to stay outside and sail as much as possible.  As it was I ended up going slow, then to add insult to it all got becalmed. Sat out in the middle of the ocean in dead calm, sails furled and slept for 8 hours.

The day before that was slow sailing with a lightning light show all around.  Spooky.  I put the engine on and motored the last 8 hours.  The approach to the port is long - nealry 30 nm through shallows with almost no nav markers - follow the GPS route and thank goodnes for the chart plotter - paid for itself today.  The fog and poor visibility didn't help.  Did see a couple of whales and the most beautiful neon blue fish swam by the boat for a bit.  About a meter long, brilliant blue irridesent color and bright orange tail - the water is fairly clear and he swam about 3 m away and about 1 m deep.  Saw another similar fish leaping a ways off which was neat.  Wide variety of birds including an albatross I think.  Anyway, felt my way into the harbour and across to where a couple of yachts were anchored so I got the hook down and managed to get on the air and talk to Mom.  Just made the sched.  She could hear me fine, her signal was a bit light.  Talked to Gerry after and then did a quick dive on the anchor - OK.  Finally checked into the Pacific Sea Farer's Net to confirm I was fine.

That net is a good one.  They are well organized and with their shore relay system there is almost always a good contact for everyone involved.  If you get the chance, listen in on 14300 at 3:00Z for the warm up and 3:25 for the actual net / roll call.  They also have a web site where they post contacts, so Mom can check there to see if I've checked in even if she can't make contact.  Good people too, several of the operators are ex-cruisers with help, advice and cheerful insightful comment. I called in at 3:00 when they just started asking to give my report then instead of at roll call because I was shutting down because of lightning.  Done, no hassle and a word of companionship about being spooky with lightning about and you're the biggest thing in sight with a big aluminum stick pointing at the sky. Tonight, different net controller when I checked in but a comment about things to do here 'though not much to say for the anchorage".  Sums it up - I was assured I'd have a good time.  So, see what happens.

That's about it.  I hang in here until the weather opens up for the dash to NZ.  I've got some clean up to do before I move and I've got to review the weather contacts.  Winlink is being difficult as well - hope I can get something happening there.

Dad
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At 01/10/2011 6:13 AM (utc) our position was 21°07.50'S 175°09.69'W