Fri Jun 22 19:36 2018 NZST
We Were jostled by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake this morning (at about 8:13 am local time) while we were on our boat on a mooring here in Port Vila Harbor. We thought we were being hit by something large (guess we were thinking about that fishing boat in Suva Harbor) or that we were dragging onto a reef
Wed Jun 20 7:12 2018 NZST
Run: 171.3nm (310.1km)
Weather: 18 ENE Baro 1013.5. Cloudy with some light drizzle. 1 meter swell.
Getting close to Port Vila. Should arrive today. Saw a very strange cloud streak in the sky to the east just after sunrise yesterday. The streak started just above the eastern horizon and continued a good ways up in a straight line, angled a little to the south from straight up. Then the streak just ended. Never saw the streak actually being made -- just saw it sitting there, and then drifting off to the SE. In case you think we're bonkers, we have a picture to prove it! Began to use the autopilot again yesterday to test out the effect of the new wiring. Autopilot brain now getting adequate input voltage, but motor still running hot and the voltage levels provided by the brain to the motor and solenoid look strange. Will have investigate more when we are in port. At least we have not received any more Rudder Response failures.
Tue Jun 19 6:39 2018 NZST
Run: 167.7nm (303.5km)
Weather: 12 ESE Baro 1016. Clouds with some blue poking through. 1 meter swell.
Sailing nicely in light wind using Monitor windvane. If all goes well we should make it to Port Vila tomorrow. Spotted glow from the volcano at Tanna off in the distance (saw it through night vision scope). Small rain squalls in the area yesterday, but none came over our heads. Not a drop of rain so far on this passage. Ken finished the wiring project for the autopilot last evening and we will test it out today.
Mon Jun 18 6:42 2018 NZST
Run: 183.4nm (332km)
Weather: 13 ESE Baro 1017. Scattered clouds. .5 - 1 meter swell.
Finally sailing again! Motorsailed for most of the day but shut the engine off last night as the wind started to pick up. Super sailing conditions with very slight seas. Last evening, we sailed by Hunter Island, a giant volcanic rock south of Vanuatu. The night sky was incredible last night. Sliver of a moon with Venus early in the evening and then later on two shooting stars shot across the sky in rapid succession. Using windvane steering now so autopilot is getting a very needed rest. And a milestone was reached last night when Ken actually did some work (swaging wires for the autopilot project) during his night watch. This noteworthy event was made possible by the new watch schedule we started using last year (8 hrs on, 8 hrs off). We both feel so much more alert and rested than with our old schedule (4 hrs on, 4 hrs off). Hope to install new wiring for autopilot today.
Sun Jun 17 6:39 2018 NZST
Run: 196nm (354.8km)
Weather: 4-7 ESE-SE. Baro 1020. Few clouds on horizon. Minimal swell.
Another beautiful day of motoring. The southern cross is disappearing below the horizon (just the last two stars of the tail are still poking up). We put out a scrap of sail last evening to catch a few whiffs of breeze. Wind is supposed to increase a bit today which will be a nice change. We?ve had no further failures on the autopilot after the install of the new motor. But we did discover a wiring problem yesterday during our tests and Ken hopes to fix that today (at least a temporary fix). Also plan to make an adjustment to the autopilot hydraulic pump but that may have to wait until we are in port. We?re now headed for Port Vila.
Sat Jun 16 6:33 2018 NZST
Run: 192.7nm (348.8km)
Weather: 4 ESE-E (shifty). Baro 1021. Partly cloudy. Gentle swell.Not a drop of rain so far.
Motoring in light winds. Installed new motor for autopilot but new motor still running hot. Planning more tests today. Very calm conditions, blue sky. Water temp steadily increasing every day. Saw beautiful sunset with crescent moon last evening. Looks like we will be in good shape with fuel so upped our motoring speed.
Fri Jun 15 6:39 2018 NZST
Run: 171.7nm (310.8km)
Weather: 5 S. Baro 1021.5. Partly cloudy. Swell minimal.
Motoring with all sails down. We had an autopilot failure this evening but are able to use the autopilot to control the rudder directly (which puts less strain on the autopilot motor). Rudder steering is requiring constant monitoring of the course, but at least we can do adjustments using the control head inside the pilothouse, as opposed to hand steering out in the cockpit. The benign conditions (light wind and seas) are very helpful right now. (Never thought we?d be glad for no wind!) Ken will tackle repairs in the morning. The failure happened just as we were putting out fishing lines, so had to abort fishing until autopilot healed.
Thu Jun 14 6:39 2018 NZST
Run: 175.1nm (316.9km)
Weather: 10-16 S. Baro 1017. Partly cloudy. Swell 1 meter.
Motorsailing. Looke like we will be motoring for the foreseable future, as we don't see any good sailing wind in the forecasts. Hoping to get north of that low due next week over Vanuatu. But also need to conserve fuel given all of the expected motoring, so we're running the engine at lower RPMs than normal. Getting a little boost from the southerly wind but don't expect that to last. Pleasant temps and didn't need a jacket yesterday when the sun was out. Found a squid stuck to mainsail.
Wed Jun 13 6:48 2018 NZST
Run: 121.1nm (219.2km)
Weather: 9.7 WSW. Baro 1011. Partly cloudy.
Left this afternoon from Marsden. Wind was 15-20 when we left and seas were not bad (1-2 meters). We were chased by a squall after we exited Marsden, but it squeaked by behind us, so we didn't get any rain. Winds built a bit later in the afternoon and the most we saw was about 26 knots for a brief period later in the evening. Winds gradually dropping overnight. Hope to delay motoring as long as possible. We are sailing east of the rhumb line to get a better angle on the wind. Also, that will put is in a better position to come back west once the trades build in. No moon out, but lots of stars.
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