Day 60...We made it! As I write this it is almost 5;00AM local time and the boat is not moving. It is anchored in the river awaiting quarantine and customs on Tuesday. As "luck" would have it, we couldn't send or receive emails in the last 24 hours. Hence I couldn't update our YIT. Lucky it happened then and not at the beginning. So this is it, last post. We made it safely to Australia! A huge thank you to all of you for your support, emails, words of encouragement, positive thoughts. We got them all and it was/is heart warming. Thank you to Mike and his team at YIT for allowing us to post our daily journey. And a huge thanks to Peter Mott, from Pacific Maritime Radio, our guardian angel out there, our only other voice, for tracking and following us through this epic journey and providing support. And to the skipper, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation! What a great job he did, securing the mast, repairing bits and pieces and navigating Tehani-Li safely into port, back home!! This is the report I wrote on Day 58...One thing I'll miss form this trip is our morning routine of sitting at the chart table, with our coffee and downloading the emails. This morning there was a record of 18. I know for some of you it's nothing, but for us here isolated in the middle of the ocean, it's great! New from our friends and family. And now the million dollar question; Will we have to quarantine in a hotel despite having spent 60 days in isolation on our yacht with no symptoms? We will keep you posted... Day 59... It's official our last sleep. And lucky for us, the full moon (just started to wane) is just gorgeous. Watching it rise from the ocean is just spectacular and is one of the beauties of life at sea. Another thing I'll miss!
Day 57...A friend said to me recently that the bad times are quickly forgotten and we only remember the good times. Today is one of those good times. The winds are light, on the beam, the swell gentle, the sun shining and the boat happily gliding along. If only it was like this all the time! And I know I will miss days like today!! The only thing I would add would be to land a lovely mahi-mahi. I still can't believe that in all those weeks with two lines out everyday, we got nothing. I definitely lost my touch... A sign maybe that it's time to move on to other things!!!
Day 56... That is 8 weeks, 2 months without touching land, without going out, without a walk, without buying anything (fuel doesn't count). Not sure what we'll do once we get to land, especially that the world is all changing as we sail along. It will be a new chapter, even a new book in our case!! Hence, we are excited to reach our destination, excited to touch land and so excited to meet up friends and family. Only 3 more sleeps!
Day 55...We left the last South Pacific Island in our wake last night and are rocketing along on our final leg to Bundaberg, Australia. 650 miles to go, 4 or so days. As we are getting tossed and rolled in 3 metre seas, I once again dream of RV (camper vans). I also reminisce on yesterday where we spent the day navigating the flat and deserted south lagoon of New Caledonia. Albeit rainy and cold, drifting along without getting tossed about was bliss. A quick pit stop at the fuel dock, chatting with the charming female attendant, our first human contact in 55 days. As we left we felt re-energised and ready to tackle the last leg.
Day 54... Last night was a night to forget. The forecast was right and the winds came in on dark and kept strengthening. Up to 30k on the nose as we say. The boat pounding and heeling, the rain falling, the salt spray everywhere and it is pitch black. Struggled to make our way point...Decided to use diesel once again in the early hours of the morning. Fortunately we had decided before the blow to take the short cut through the south lagoon of New Caledonia. Cutting about 40 miles off our trip and enjoying flat water. And what a good decision that was... It turned out we desperately needed fuel. So we are on our way there now!
Day 53...We left Vanuatu behind and are scrambling to get to New Caledonia before a frontal system which is forecast to bring strong head winds at first. Hence, on sunset, we turned the engine on to get us moving. Unfortunately a total lack of wind and an adverse current made for very slow progress. I would have enjoyed the slow night with it's beautiful canopy if it wasn't for the anticipation of the weather coming towards us. Another few hours and we can turn down, softening the blow on the boat and the mast. We will get there!
Day 52... When we left Panama, the skipper and I made bets on how many days it would take us. I said 52!! Good thing I didn't put any money on it! To cheer myself up, I did fill up the arrival paperwork for entry into Australia. Anything to give us some encouragement!! Today we zigzaged our way through 3 Vanuatu Islands. Lovely to see land so close. And last night was another beautiful sky filled with diamonds.
Day 51...After I mentioned that we hadn't touched the sails in 48 hours, well we did just that! Yesterday, around sunset, we decided to change tacks. Instead of going above New Caledonia, we are now going under. Many reasons for this, but one of the main ones, is that the skipper was sick and tired of being poled out (wing-on-wing) rolling constantly, and I mean constantly, barely doing 4 knots (thanks to the double reefed main) of speed. This little change adds 100nm to our overall destination, but what's 100 more miles when one starts with 8000? We should have changed course a few days ago, but said skipper can be stubborn at times!! Hence since yesterday, the sailing is nice, quick, giving us a feeling of finally moving and putting some water under the keel. We might be lucky and see the glow of Tanna's volcano as we zoom past!!
Day 50...I write this and even I can't believe we've been out here 50 days. But we must be approaching civilisation as our VHF radio came to life; unreadable gibberish, but still. And our AIS also lit up with a few fishing boats around. And plenty of birds!! The other news is that we haven't changed our sail configuration in almost 48 hours and that's a record. As every day since day 1 we have had to modify our sails, sometimes more than once a day. This means finally some stable winds!
Day 49...It's amazing how the good times in sailing make us forget the not-so-good times. And last night was one of those. The temperature mild, the sailing fairly smooth and the sky was so clear you could count the stars. It was mesmerizing to look at the constellations, really beautiful. That is something I'm gonna miss!!
Day 48...I am happy to report that we are finally sailing nicely. We believe we are finally out of the South Pacific Convergence Zone. An area of no wind, squalls and rain that moves around this part of the Pacific. Unfortunately for us it seemed to hang over us and extend it's tentacles over our route, making our last few days frustrating. I now stopped calculating when we will arrive. It can drive one crazy. What I am focusing on now is to keep the meals interesting and sufficient to last the next week or more. What can I do with the 3 onions, 4 potatoes, 1/4 of pumpkin & 3 eggs left?
Day 47... We managed 84nm/24hrs, a new record. It begs the question; Is it better too much wind with little sail out, the boat at a steep angle, requiring 6 legs and 8 hands to walk around and manage to achieve something down below. Or, no wind, having the sails flap and the boat roll incessantly making anything down below also difficult? Hmmmm! On another note; about 1 week ago we predicted we'd arrive around Monday the 28. That's 6 days from now. 6 days is the time we think it will take to sail from New Caledonia to Bundaberg. And we still have 530 to Vanuatu!! Sadly, all of our predictions on this trip have been proven wrong... Gotta take it one day at a time!!
Day 46... We crossed over the line and now are in the Eastern Hemisphere. With less than 1700nm to go we calculated that we have 12 days of sailing left. But then, it gets revised when the winds disappear and we are once again crawling through the water at a snail's pace, like now. You see our last 24hr average was 100nm and 102nm!! Nothing to brag about!! Hmmm, and weeks ago we thought we had something to brag about!! That'll teach us!!
Day 45... It's like "Ground Hog Day" but that was up until a few minutes ago. The squalls came in this morning, washed the boat down well, then took all the wind with them. We sat and bobbed in the waves. Tried the spinnaker, tried changing course, nothing would get us moving. So we sat there and like yesterday, waited. And surprise, the winds came in sooner than expected to the skipper's delight! This means we will cross the International Date Line today and lose tomorrow? I mean skip a day! So Sunday the 20th won't exist in our lives or maybe just a glimpse? Doesn't really matter, as we are getting closer and closer every day.
Day 44...A few years ago, while crossing the North Atlantic towards Cabo Verde, there was a solo sailor, on our daily radio net who was drifting along at 2 knots. I remember the skipper and I both commented to each other and wondered why not just motor? He was a purist! Today, although unwillingly, we are now purists. Since mid-morning the winds have disappeared, I think the wind Gods must have left the building! So here we are drifting along at 0 knots. We don't want to use our precious diesel as we are still too far from land. To say it's disheartening, is an understatement! Then again things could be worse, much worse... At least the sun is trying to come out!
Day 43... When I woke up this morning, the seas were huge, 3m huge, rocking us about relentlessly. Then the squalls re-appeared and just stayed put. At least they gave the boat a good wash down. For more than an hour, tried to get the boat moving but the squalls had taken all the wind with them! So back to rocking and rolling. I then stood on deck, gave a terse talking to Mother Nature and she obliged! She probably took pity on us, as the last few days were tough! Anyway, here we are finally sailing and rather nicely at that! Hoping this will last. Oh and did I mention we have less than 2000nm to go to OZ?
Day 42...Most of the day today I thought of Jessy Martin and Jessica Watson, 2 of the youngest solo-sailors to go around the world. I read both their books. And today, as I feel Tehani-Li getting tossed about in the waves and pushed heavily on her side, I imagine the conditions they experienced in the Southern Ocean. I only have respect and admiration for all of whom sailed down there; especially those teenage solo-sailors. I know this will pass and I cannot wait.
Day 41...We arrived at one of Tokelau's atolls at day break. Our first sight of land in 40 days! Found a spot with the least swell, let the boat just drift in the lee of the island and proceeded to go up the mast. Happy with the repairs and re-enforcement, we continued on our way. Then, one after the other, the squalls marched over us, bringing with them howling winds, sheets of rain and angry seas. I am just so grateful they held off while the skipper was up the mast!
Day 40... The winds picked mid-morning and brought the seas up with them. We have been rolling from gunnel to gunnel ever since. Every task and any movement on board demanding lots of energy and at times becoming quite precarious. Thankfully tomorrow morning, at sunrise, we should be in the lee of one of the Tokelau islands. This should mean flat seas! What a welcome respite if only for a few hours.
Day 39... This morning I saw a black plastic bottle (the oil type) float by. I was taken aback! Wow, I thought, there is civilisation out there! It is a weird feeling. Having not seen another boat, let alone another human for weeks, you accommodate. Your life is contained in this little bubble which is the boat. There is nothing else. You are totally focused on the present and adapt yourselves and your world according to the wind Gods and King Neptune. Nothing else counts. Then out of the blue (pardon the pun, a man made object, you are reminded that there is a world out there, albeit far removed from our present, but there awaiting. We know we will be there soon enough!
Day 38...Our 24 hour run from midday to midday was 90nm. We had a very, very slow night. So slow that I saw 0 on the GPS speed. In fact, we took all sails in at one stage, as they were hanging limp and just getting damaged. We've never done that before. Frustrating!! I don't know what it is but this crossing is different from all others. Aside from the obvious length of the crossing, it feels different and I am not sure what it is. Maybe it's eroding my patience, testing my "zenness", challenging my cooking skills, dunno! Understandably the damaged rig is weighing on my mind, maybe that's it, or the combination of all the above. Maybe, it's the fact that the end still seems so far away. Whatever, the fact is that, today, I lost my zen, let my tears flow and screamed my lungs out in frustration! Tomorrow will be better!
Day 37... A very hot and slow day today. Our sails are barely inflated, averaging about 4.5knots of boat speed. At this rate we will run out of food and possibly patience!! And so the skipper began counting what was left in terms of food and dividing it by a number he plucked out of thin air, rationing the stuff. I tried to ignore him as I know we have enough. I admit I doubted it at one stage, but I realise we will make it. But then, just now, rummaging in the freezer for something or rather, he found a packet of hot Italian sausages... Oh the woops and cries of joy from the skipper must have been heard all through the pacific!
Day 36...The last few days have been glorious, weather wise. Sun shining, clear skies at night. And now the swell is finally abating. 5 weeks down, 3 weeks to go? We believe we have another 18/19 days left. About 2800 nm to Bundaberg Australia. That first drink at the pub/bar will be soooo good! That is, if said bar/pub is open!!
Day 35... A couple of friends wrote to us commenting on the stats from YIT (this very site you are reading). I think it makes us look like we are doing extraordinary speeds! Alas no! I do not know how they calculate them. One day I might ask Mike. In the meantime, our daily average 24hr run is about 140nm. Our speed is about 6.5. Because of the repair we can only run a double reefed main; at least we don't have to ask ourselves reef or no reef, if the wind comes up!
Day 34...It's has been a challenging day in terms of finding the balance between nursing the rig, keeping wind in the sails, staying close to our course and avoid the windless sails to flop and bang with every toss of the wave. All morning we were working with sail configuration and course change. I am confident we will get there. Otherwise, the temperature is warming up, and it's now comfy to wear shorts and t-shirts during the day.
Day 33... Well needless to say that the night was anything but restful. Every time the boat lurched violently due to swell, I was cringing. But the night was also enlightening as we both thought of spare parts that could help. So this morning, the skipper was wound up twice more and, when we finished we were breathing easier, much happier with this new fix. Plans were once again changed and we are heading to Tokelau where we hope for a flat anchorage that will allow Phil to return to the top check that the fix is still good. Being hoisted up the mast 5 times in rocking seas sure left their mark on my dear skipper. The inside of his arms are covered in bruises from wrist to shoulder. And we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your encouraging emails and positive thoughts. It is much appreciated. Unfortunately, we cannot read the comments you leave directly on YIT, (we need internet) but we know they are there. A thousand thanks xx
Day 32...An eventful day. After a very smooth and relaxing night, the wind and seas came up with a vengeance this morning and kept us busy all day. One of the diagonal s/steel frame of the wind vane broke. In fact, it was the bolt. Repaired that. Then we changed the halyard of the spinnaker pole as it was badly chafed. Then we were to fix one of the batt cars on the main sail but it was too difficult, we would do when we next bring the main down. This was this morning, then after lunch, the "piece de resistance" the port inner shroud broke!! Now that is a bit more serious. We spent all afternoon trying to secure it. I hauled Phil 3 times up the mast in a horrible rolly sea. Let's pray and hope it will hold till we can stop somewhere and repair.
Day 31... When I provision the boat for a passage, I never really worry too much about food as I know that I will always find some at the next destination. And if we run out of something, tough! But this journey is another story all together. We've never been at sea this long. And our fridge and freezer can only carry so much. Having said that I did my best to fill them to the brim and said to myself if the fresh stuff lasts a month, I'll be happy. Nonetheless, from day 1, the skipper seemed worried that we would run out. Daily he would ask me if we have enough food. And like the True Blue Aussie that I am, I would respond; "She'll be right mate!" But then, about a week ago, I noticed a few items that I thought we had in enough quantities, were no longer. Ouch! Maybe he is right. But I won't tell! Today though a clean up of the fridge was in order and I am happy to report, lots of lemons, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions and potatoes. Now, all we need is a fish!!
Day 30...Welcome to the South Pacific Ocean, the romantic ocean, our home ocean! We crossed the equator in the early hours of this morning, saluted King Neptune with a nip of port wine and went back to our respective activities. It was the 7th time in our sailing lives that we saluted Neptune, hence the more subdued celebration. And our welcome was marred with a cross swell, making the ride bumpy and uncomfortable. The good news is that this morning while pulling the fishing line in to change lures, for the umptheenth time, it had the remnants of fish on it. Exciting! This means that there is fish after all, coz, between you and me, I had given up hope.
Day 29... Last night was glorious. The moon, bright and orange, floated up behind the boat as the sun disappeared in front of the bow. It was a lovely, calm and slow night. The spinnaker was up and was struggling to stay inflated, shattering the silence every now and then as the sail caught the little wind there was. It also meant that our record breaking streak, in terms of speed, was over, for the time being anyway. Then this morning our first squall, barely lasted 15 minutes and not enough rain to wash the deck of all the fish scales and squid ink, but enough to soak the skipper and crew as they scrambled to bring the spinnaker down. The squall seem to have taken all the remaining wind out of the area leaving us bobbing along. Luckily we still have this magical current pushing us further west.
Day 28...A full month at sea and yet doesn't feel so. The good news is that we had another record breaking 24 hours 210nm; now imagine the bragging rights at the pub!! Also we have definitely passed 1/2 way, all of the possible half points that we can think of are done. We can now commence the countdown. 4000nm down, 4000nm to go!
Day 27... Coincidentally it is our 27th wedding anniversary today. We are also between our 1/2 way point in time and our 1/2 point in miles (tomorrow night). On top of which our 24hour run at midday today was 195nm. For all those reasons, (not that we need any) we popped the bubbly and enjoyed an afternoon with snacks overlooking the blue horizon. For the uninitiated, 195 miles equates to about 215 miles on land. About 9 miles/hour!!! So I can imagine a land lubber's dismay at our joy at this accomplishment. Trust me for a small sailing yacht, this is great speed. Something to brag about during happy hour with fellow yachties...
Day 26...We've calculated and recalculated, discussed it, debated it, and came to the conclusion that there are two half way points. The obvious one being the half way point in terms of distance. Then there is the one in terms of time. We strongly believe that today we are 1/2 way in terms of time. That means our total passage would be 52 days. This also means I win the bet we made between us on day 1. Mind you all we have to do is slow the boat and get in on day 53 and the skipper is the winner! Then again, it ain't over, till it's over. Watch and see...
Day 25... The hazards of sailing. While trying to sort out the spinnaker's tack point, the boat lurched and the stainless ring came flying towards me, hit my mouth chipping off a bit of my front tooth! At least it didn't hit my face, or worse still, my eye. But I will admit, today was not a great day, the boat's movements and rocking made every task difficult, constantly bracing ourselves for fear of being hurtled towards the other side of the boat. Days like today make me appreciate the smooth sailing days.
Day 24...A huge pod of dolphins came over to play with Tehani-Li. They gave us a show worthy of Sea World. That was the most exciting thing all day. Our speeds have been good with 182nm for today's 24 hours run and, at this speed we should be celebrating 1/2 way in 2&1/2 days. The bubbles are already in the fridge!!!
Day 23... We tried to avoid it as long as possible by zig-zagging between 1 and 2 degrees N; but couldn't put it off any longer. This morning we set the pole on the genoa and are in what is commonly called "wing-on-wing". It is not our favorite sail configuration as it could be rolly and you can only go so fast. Having said that we are still moving and that's good.
Day 22... We have just completed 3 weeks at sea. As much as it was a triumph yesterday to have achieved 205nm/24hours, disappointing today to barely reach 138nm. Such is sailing I guess! We also wound the clocks back another 2 hours (to suit our chat with Pacific Maritime Radio and not disrupt our nights shifts), making for a long day. Otherwise, I guess we are both looking forward to 1/2 way which is hopefully less than 5 days away.
Day 21... We broke our previous record for this trip and managed 205 nm in 24 hours! Very encouraging indeed! King Neptune decided to reward us, not with fish but with squid. Unfortunately when I do find them, it's a tad too late. Every day, I seem to be throwing back to the deep, dried up squid. They seem to be able to jump quite high as I can see the outline of one in the middle of our bimini. I think, it's been there for over a week now!! uughhh! And this morning, found one under the table, inside. I don't know what scared that little fella, prompting him to jump so high as to enter through our central hatch, but he made it through without either of us realising till it was too late.
Day 20...After quite a few days of about 5-10 knots of wind, last night they picked up, kicking up the sea with them giving us a much needed boost. We are now zooming along at 8-10knots. A bumpy ride but at least we are counting down the miles and getting closer to our 1/2 way point. We also gave King Neptune a little nip of his favorite hoping to coax him into yielding us one of his thousands of Mahi-Mahi... I think he is still thinking about it.
Day 19... I have lost my touch. I tried the trusted red and white Rapalla, the favorite purple squid, the fluorescent one, the blue imitation Rapalla, the silver spoon and many others. Zilch, nothing. I used to pull fish out of the ocean with ease. In fact, at times I had to refrain from putting the lines out as there was more than enough fish to feed us for days as well as our fellow yachties with whom we would share our next anchorage. And now, since Day 11, (prior to that neither of us was hungry or felt like dealing with a fish) the lines go out at dawn and are wound back in at sunset with nothing on them. Oh well, maybe it's time to bribe Neptune with a nip of something!!
Day 18... 18 days is the longest we've been at sea. It was 6 years ago, between Galapagos and Marquises. We stopped in both, rested, replenished, enjoyed, explored. Now, it's straight through, without a second thought, without regret but happy and grateful to have experienced it all some years by.
Day 17...It was a slow night, a quick morning and a mellow afternoon. We are struggling to keep the boat moving at a reasonable pace. The good news is that we still have this friendly current giving us a well needed boost! Also what I didn't mention is how surprisingly cold it is despite being less than 100 miles from the equator. Long leggins, fleece and socks are the order of everyday and night. We even sleep all rugged up in our doonas (duvets) something we haven't used since... can't even remember, when!!!
Day 16... We are past half way to our next way point which is approximately half way. Confused? I guess we have completed 1/4 of our journey. So does that mean 64 days? If today is anything to go by, might be, as we have been struggling all day to keep the little wind there is in our sails. Even the spinnaker is struggling. The price we pay to be in these latitudes. Fingers crossed, the wind Gods will take pity and send us a bit more.
Day 15... Yesterday we wound the clocks back 2 hours. Well, that confused me no end! I know it doesn't take much, but between the ship's clock, UTC and my phone which hasn't corrected and is still on Panama time, I was all over the place, getting muddled up. To make matters worse we also swapped our night shifts. This, so I could speak to Pacific Maritime Radio at the allotted time without disturbing my sleep. He is the only other voice, we hear out here...We are so used to having radio scheds with fellow cruisers during crossings, that speaking to Peter, Pacific Maritime Radio, is reassuring and informative. So forgive me if I am a tad tired!!
Day 14... Does that mean our quarantine is finished? Can we go ashore now? We are still sailing in lovely conditions under sunny skies. Last night was slow and tedious with less than 5 knots of wind and lots of sails banging. But the wind Gods woke up late this morning and sent us a lovely breeze.
Day 13...If sailing was like this everyday, everyone would be out here! A light breeze, the boat almost upright, a gentle wave and a friendly current are the perfect combination for a relaxing day!! Now all we need is a mahi-mahi!!
Day 12... The seas are flattening, the wind is shifting and the current is helping. We just achieved 200nm in 24 hours, to the delight of skipper and crew. But what was quite entertaining today, was watching the skipper, eyes glued to the GPS, willing it and encouraging it to go to 10 knots of speed over ground. Tehani-Li complied, and the captain hoorayed. It was like watching your favorite team score!! Anything to entertain us!!
Day 11... A much brighter day. The sun playing hide'n'seek and the clouds slowly moving on to other pastures! The boat finally flying along and not pounding. And it's one archipelago down, 7 to go. Taking it one bite size at a time makes it less huge, remember the elephant!! Having said that we are now in the longest stretch without land... And once we reach the next group of islands it will almost be half way!
Day 10.. Through the years, I read a lot of stories, accounts, articles, on people at sea. And in most cases, if not all, there comes a time in their story when the wind blows harder, the seas turn nasty and the sun goes into hiding. And more often than not, when this happens, these people, hunker down in their bunks with a book, or not, and let the heavy weather pass. This was one of those days for me. A day spent lying down dreaming of camper vans and flat roads and comfy beds that didn't move!!
Day 9... We thought today was the day we'd leave the Galapagos archipelago in our wake. Not so. Strong head winds slowed our progress, worse still, pushed us north. So once again decided to tack to regain our precious southern degrees and hopefully ease into smoother seas and calmer winds. One step forward, 3 steps back!!
DAY 8... This morning we completed one week at sea. And today has been the most difficult and uncomfortable so far. Even the Bobbies left us. 6 years ago we did this trip, Panama to Galapagos, in 6 days. It was one of our best passages, quick, flat, comfortable and enjoyable. Sadly none of these qualities apply this time around. But we knew that! It is, after all, the wrong season for this leg of the trip. So let's hurry up, pass these islands and get into more trade wind stuff and pleasant conditions. 1 week down, 7 or maybe 6 to go!
Day 7...Last night, on my first watch, the sky and sea blended so well into each other that they erased the horizon. It was pitch black till the moon decided it was time to get up! That's the romantic aspect of sailing. Then you got the more technical/mechanical side, where the hydraulic ram shaft on the autopilot, unscrewed itself for the 3rd time on this passage. And for the 3rd and hopefully last, the skipper fixed it, McGyver style; with tape and all!! pheww! And then we have the nature aspect of sailing. The boobies that hitched a ride the previous night must have spread the word that Tehani-Li offered free rides. We never said such a thing; it must have been lost in translation. Anyway, by the end of the afternoon, I counted 10 of them huddling at the front on the railing holding on for dear life and over 20 flying above us. Looking up, you'd think we were in the famous Hitchcock movie! And that's only 3 aspects of sailing!!!
Day 6... Even though it is not the most comfortable ride we are at least sailing in the right direction. Close hauled and reefed down, speed of 7 knots and lumpy seas. To take my mind of things I watched boobies land on our front railing and get splashed by the boat crashing onto waves. They hung around for most of the day. In fact, we gave a ride to 3 of them last night!! Also, bizarrely on sunset last night we saw a marine helicopter. So weird to see that, far away from land. He didn't even come and say hello! So this is hoping that the seas will ease and the wind move further into the south. One can only hope!!
Day 5... A much better day than yesterday although we still have current against us making our true progress slow. You'd think we are on a racing boat with the number of times we tacked in the last 2 days. We need to keep reminding ourselves we are doing a marathon and not a race!! At least the seas are flattish and we are not pounding as much as yesterday. And I know it's only gonna get better from here, at least we are heading in the right direction!
Day 4... We are sailing, but at what cost? Finally turned the engine off late yesterday afternoon. And spent a busy night trimming, tacking, reefing as winds shifted and currents slowed us. And our 24 hours run today was 87NM, not a lot as we seem to loose ground with the adverse current. We knew this might happen. At least we are sailing.
Day 3 Motor sailing, still! with a staysail closed hauled. Some people might wonder what we do all day stuck on a small boat. Today we had lots to keep us busy. It was fuel transfer day. We had a 200 litre drum of diesel in the cockpit as we knew we would need extra fuel for the first part of the journey. It took considerable effort to get the liquid to start flowing into the 1 inch hose down into the cabin, towards the cabin floor, into the 'baja' filter held above the fuel tank intake. My job was to hold the filter above the intake. Once it started, it came roaring down. I was told this would happen, so I was prepared, or so I thought. My fingers couldn't stop or slow the flow, instead all I managed to do was re-direct the flow everywhere but into the filter. As the skipper came to my rescue and I sat there holding the increasingly heavy filter, I kept wondering if diesel on my face and neck would help my dry skin.
Day 2... Woke up to a beautiful sun and flat seas. We are still motor sailing and trying to push as west as we can before turning south. The nights are cool and are a refreshing change from the humidity felt on the mainland. We even had some whales and dolphins wave us goodbye as we exited the Gulf of Panama. All in all a good start and with luck the sail across this huge ocean will be smooth and enjoyable.
Day 1 of ... who knows?? We left Panama this morning under heavy clouds. How does one feel facing such a long voyage? Hard to describe; lots of mixed emotions. But like a friend the saying goes "We can only eat an elephant one bite at a time". So we are motor-sailing in light head winds and toasting to a good start.
Panama Canal! We made it through safely. Now anchored in Las Brisas, enjoying a drink to welcoming ourselves in the Pacific. Leaving shortly, possibly Thursday for a long trek West!
Finally left the marina getting ready for the canal transit. Bitter sweet moment as made lots of friends!
Wooooohoooo! In the marina at Shelter Bay, earlier than we thought! Happy to touch land after 14 days!!
Just anchored in Shelter Bay; ready for 14 days quarantine on board!
Last 12 hours; tedious with huge squalls, 25k on the nose and bouncy seas! Happy for a break!!
Motoring and some motor sailing since last night. A mixed bag of conditions. Overcast skies, thunderstorms, lightening. Almost there though. Should arrive in another 12 hours or so.
Slow going... There has been no wind for the last 12 hours. Fortunately, seas are flat, sun is out, so it's quite enjoyable, despite the heat. In 4 knots of breeze from the East, we are raging along at 4.5 knots, with a poled headsail and a spinnaker!
After a grey, rainy night and morning, sun just showed up. Trades also left. We have been nicely bobbing all afternoon at 3-4 knots of speed with all sails up. Might resort to diesel soon, if we want to make it to Panama this year!
Caught 2 yellow fin tunas for diner yesterday but no one was hungry as conditions were boisterous. At the moment, sailing at 7-8 knots in 15-20 ENE winds. Poled headsail and one reef in main. All good, less than 500nm to go.
Sailing at 7.5 knots with one reef in main and 2 in headsail. Poled out with 25knots ESE. Sunny skies
Leaving tomorrow for Panama!
A beautiful spinnaker run from Bonaire to Curaçao!
Now anchored in calm Spanish Waters!
Picked up mooring in the absoluteclear waters of Bonaire!!
Beautiful sailing in calm weather; flat seas, 10-12 knots of ESE winds. Poled out genoa with spinnaker. Under a 100NM to go... Bonaire tomorrow morning!!
Sailing on a rolly sea with full sails under a lovely sun. 252NM to go to Bonaire
On the road again... After about 3 hours to get out of the shadow of Martinique we are now sSiling west at 8 knots towards Bonaire with reefed main and full jib. 413nm to go!
Getting ready to move west again...
Bonaire, here we come!!
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