Thursday, August 18, 2011

Enroute to Suwarrow - Day 2

As of 0800 local August 17
Miles today: 135 Miles Behind Us: 262
Miles to go: 333 (approx 3 more days)
Wind NE at 13 kt Seas confused!
Sailing WNW at 6kt - 1 reef in the main, 80% genoa, wind slightly aft of beam

We have had a lovely 24 hours. The wind has been pretty steady at 12-14 knots, and shifting in a favorable direction. The seas have been going down, the weather fair, and we have a full moon for most of the night. We've hardly had to touch the sails in 24 hours, and the only messing with the autopilot has been to tweak it to point more at our final destination.

We are still in VHF contact with Dreamaway, who left about 45 minutes behind us. They are about 10 miles ahead of us.

We've been monitoring and checking in on several SSB nets. First, the afternoon 'South Pacific Cruiser's Net' and the morning 'Pacific Reef Runner's Net'. These two are nets set up by different groups of boats that are 'puddle jumping' this year. So they are moving nets that will likely disband as the boats arrive in Samoa and Tonga and form up different nets for their onward passages to NZ or Australia. We have also been checking in on the evening Pacific Seafarer's Net--our old friends based in Hawaii, California, and NZ who track Hams on boats all over the Pacific.

Plus we tried to tune up the Fiji-based 'Rag of the Air Net' (8173 1900z) this morning--but copy was poor--maybe it will be better tomorrow as we get closer to Fiji.

Our current sailing conditions are fantastic, but they are forecast to get really light tomorrow. We have about 24 hours of barely-sailable wind, as a front passes south of us, and then they should fill in for our last 24 hours to Suwarrow.

Though we are sad to miss hooking up with many of our friends in Suwarrow, we are happy to hear that the big wave of boats there has started to move on to American Samoa and Tonga. They set a new record of 29 boats in Suwarrow at the same time this year, about a week ago. We have been dragging our heels on the way there, hoping that the numbers will be down by the time we get there. It's a remote place that should be enjoyed by 'less than a mob'. And of course, anchoring will be easier in the deep water with fewer boats to worry about.

We are sad to report that one boat we are acquainted with, Ri Ri, was lost on the reef at Palmerston Atoll yesterday. We haven't been able to get all the details, but Ri Ri was on a mooring there and apparently broke free. (no word yet on whether it was mooring equipment that failed, or boat-based equipment, and how they got so stuck so fast that they couldn't get off). A huge effort was made to pull her off the reef, but they eventually gave up that effort and started just trying to salvage stuff inside. So Frank and his girlfriend are fine, but are sitting on a pile of used boat gear in Palmerston, wondering what to do next. Very sad. As always, a number of cruisers are headed for Palmerston to help out as much as possible--and one has already promised them passage on to Tonga when they are ready.
At 8/17/2011 6:09 PM (utc) our position was 14°55.01'S 157°38.41'W

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