We’re on passage from Bora Bora, French Polynesia, towards Aitutaki, Cook Islands. This is our second day at sea. We left Bora Bora yesterday morning.
The weather is fine, quite good actually. We have stable SE trade winds and are running wing-on-wing downwind. For you sailors, we’re doing about 5 knots under double-reefed main and poled-out yankee. That means not much sail area! As the wind slowly lightens I could shake out a reef in the main. But then the sail area would not balance side-to-side and the windvane would have a hard time steering. Shaking out a reef and changing up to the larger jib would keep sail area in balance, but would add too much sail area. Wind vane steering is a paramount objective for us, even if it means sacrificing a bit of speed. The sea is ‘mer agitee’ as the French weather forecast puts it, or ‘agitated seas.’ Two sets of swells, from the SE and NE respectively are not too bad. But when they cross, pyramid shaped mountains form and cause Velic to roll deeply side to side. It’s warm and sunny, with a high overcast haze. Last night was clear and bright with the moon and then stars after moon set.
Today is the first anniversary of our departure from Rose City Yacht Club in Portland, Oregon. It’s hard to comprehend that we have been on the boat for a full year now. But, as Ruth said last night, California seems like a long time ago and far, far away. There was an impromptu happy hour gathering of American cruisers at the MaiKai Marina restaurant Thursday night. It was great to spend our last evening in French Polynesia with other ‘yachties.’ All of these boats had participated in the Pacific Puddle Jump, as we did, sailing from Mexico or Panama to the Marquesas. We were not quite together at sea, but did communicate on the radio each day, and finally met up in Hiva Oa or Nuku Hiva back in April. A bitter-sweet evening as some are heading west like us, and others north to Hawaii and then back to the US, having completed their goal.
The Vesper AIS/GPS is on strike. So no ship’s position, no broadcasting of our presence, and no reception of other ships’ presence. Of course, we do go outside and look around carefuly every 15 minutes! There are two Garmin hand held navigational GPS devices on board, plus the GPS that feeds the ship’s position to the Single Side Band radio, plus paper charts and pencils. So, we do have our ‘right now’ position and are plotting that hourly. But the convenience of seeing our GPS position on the chartplotter is missed, for now. And, of course, the helpful user manual for Vesper directs me to their website for more help. I guess we will take them up on that suggestion when we reach port in Aitutaki or Tonga! It makes one wonder about the design intent of the product.
Position at noon today.
Latitude:17°13.1 S Longitude:154°09.9 W