Sunday, May 8, 2011

Enroute to the Tuamotus - Day 8

6pm Hawaii Time
Miles today: 132
Mile Behind Us: 1002
Miles to go: 1,327 (approx 10-11 more days)
Wind NE at 12-15 kt
Seas NE at 6'
Sailing SE at 5.3kt - 2 reefs in the main, staysail, 1/3 genoa

We had another pretty good day of sailing--mostly sunny, mostly steady tradewind conditions. We pulled out a little more of our genoa and averaged 5.5 knots for the last 24 hours. Fairly respectable considering we are still pretty hard on the wind, and HEAVILY laden.

Conditions were reasonable enough that we finally got "Henry", our wind-vane steering system hooked up and steering. "Janet", our electric autopilot has been doing a great job, but Janet takes electricity, and Henry only uses wind power. Though we had Henry mostly rigged when we left Pearl Harbor, the first 2 days of motoring and the past 5 days of rough conditions, kept us from climbing out on the stern platform to finish the setup.

Our friend Winnie the Weather Guru has been watching the big picture weather for us. She warned us of a big "blob" on the ITCZ that we need to be concerned about (that's a technical weather term). It is really difficult crossing the ITCZ without getting slammed. Weather systems just appear and disappear around the equator, and no one can forecast them. The only method is to watch the satellite photos, which Winnie is doing for us. We are hoping we can thread our way between the two blobs in our path.

This time of year, the ITCZ (aka the Doldrums) is moving from it's wintertime position at about 5 degrees South latitude to it's summertime position about 8 degrees North latitude. And right now, there's ITCZ-like activity both north and south of the Equator. Our friends on Infini, who thought they were in the clear, got slammed yesterday and today with some horrendous convective activity. It will take us 5 or 6 days til we are completely clear ourselves.

Dave is feeling nearly himself today. He made lunch for the first time on this trip, got on the radio, and did some small maintenance tasks around the boat.

We finally are getting close enough to the Tuamotus to pick up a new cruiser net we just heard about. Called the South Pacific Cruiser's Net, on 6224Mhz at 0230 UTC (4:30 Tuamotus time). We are finally hooking up with the main body of the Pacific Puddle Jump group who left Mexico 6-8 weeks ago.

With not much to do while on watch, I've been reading about a book a day. Today's book: The Sex Lives of Cannibals. It's a true account about a guy and his wife who take a job on Tuvalu, a tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Well-written and funny. Tuvalu is in the Gilbert Islands (part of Kiribati), and we may well stop there on our way from Fiji to the Marshall Islands next year.
Sherry & Dave
Headed South for French Polynesia

At 5/8/2011 5:26 AM (utc) our position was 06°46.28'N 150°41.58'W

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