Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stopping at Olimarao for a Couple of Days

The winds haven't been as forecast the whole trip. There has been a trough laying across all of western Micronesia, and the GRIB files just haven't been able to predict where the trough was going to go, and what the resulting wind was going to be. Instead of the forecast E 10-12 we have had winds all over the map, and very unsettled weather. We thought we would be able to sail slowly the first 2 full days, then probably have to motor in the last 50 miles. But instead we were having to motor frequently when the wind dropped to zilch.

Then yesterday afternoon the wind switched to strong WSW--right in our face. We had a fall-back plan--fall off and head WNW to intermediate atolls of Lamotrek or Olimarao, and wait for the winds to change. Fortunately the wind eased to 8-10 knots and eventually swung around to the north. We had a beautiful calm sail all night long. Other than 3 hours of drizzle (but no accompanying violent weather), it was a perfect overnight sail.

Lamotrek was too close to stop--we passed it in the middle of the night. Olimarao was a bit further, and we arrived off the pass around 8am. It is an uninhabited satellite atoll of Lamotrek--the men from Lamotrek come up here periodically to fish, but no one is permanently based here. (So we don't have to do the "village" la-di-da--something that gets tiring after two or three of them in a row).

Our friends on La Gitana have been here a week--with VK laid up with an infection on his foot. We have been following their tracks, and talking with them on the radio for the past two years, but have never met them. So we thought we'd pop in to Olimarao to socialize for a couple of days. We'll poke around here, get a couple of nights good sleep (we hope!) and then move on.

The winds for the next week across the whole region are forecast to be light--5-8 knots most of the time. In a couple of days, they are forecast turn NW-W again, and then we may get a decent light-air sail for the next 120 mile hop to Woleai (slightly south of west).

Some sailors would opt to wait for more wind, with no chance of having to motor. But given the choice, we'd much prefer to go in light air, and motor if we have to, than go in the heavy wind and seas. On this last trip of ~200 miles, which lasted 50 hours duration, we motor-sailed about 17 hours. Our fuel consumption while motor-sailing "easy" is about .6-.8 gallons per hour. So we burned about 10 gallons of diesel to go 200 miles in easy conditions. We'll take it. We have plenty of fuel to motor all the way to Yap, if we have to. And we can top off in Yap without too much trouble. Fuel out here in the major cities is around $5-$5.50 per gallon--not cheap, but cheaper than trying to acquire some in the outer atolls, where we were quoted $10-$11/gallon, if it's available.
Sherry & Dave
Heading west across Micronesia in 2014

At 04/12/2014 2:24 AM (utc) our position was 07°42.04'N 145°52.80'E

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