SV Accomplice Blog week 21 12/3/20 to 18/3/20
Tue 24 Mar 2020 12:23
At this moment we have abruptly changed from circumnavigators to refugees....but more of that later.
Low and behold no sooner had we let the Gods know our feelings the sky started to open up and cats paws of wind appeared and within a short time sails were set and we were sailing....at last. Were these the trade winds? The sky was decidedly different.....this was it, we were finally free of the doldrums and into the trade winds, happy days! And the sky and sea were blue!
The winds were from the south east and we set the mainsail and genoa and took the wind on the aft quarter. We then navigated a direct course to Hiva Oa. Over the days the wind backed to blowing from the east and the sail plan was changed to our two genoa’s wing a wing, sailing just off dead down wind.
We are in our stride now, eating away daily at this now 3200 nm passage to French Polynesia. The wind blew in the mid teens range and we were able to scuttle along at 5 to 6 knots. Gentle trade wind sailing. There was a swell running from the south and one building from the south east so make for a rolly sail with the sails occasionally having the wind knocked out of them.
Matthew has had his lines out every day fishing but without success. It’s time we had another fish meal, the fresh produce has now gone and we are down to the tinned food. We therefore bless the fishing lure before it goes into the sea, a few solemn words, and expect great things but disappointment is all we get.
I mention the tinned food. The fresh produce only really lasts us a week, some like carrots, potatoes and onions we eek out longer. We do come up with some very tasty meals all the same. Our favourite now is chick pea curry, this was started by Janice on the Atlantic crossing. Tins of chickpeas, mixed veg, coconut milk and some Thai red curry paste cooked together on a bed of rice, lovely. Then what is left over the next day gets put into a wrap and makes the lunch. Perfect.
I must admit though I think after this trip I don’t want to see it on the menu for a good while! We have had it quite a few times now, sometimes alternate day on the trot!
Everyday the rally fleet touch base with one another and chat over the SSB radio, once in the morning and again in the late afternoon. It is a good opportunity to see how everyone is getting on and hear different voices. For the last 2 weeks we have only seen in the distance a cargo ship crossing our bow, that’s it no other sign of humanity. So it is good to have the contact over the radio.
It is over the radio that talk started to emerge of the spread or the Covid-19 virus and how the world was reacting to it.
Little did we know how this innocent talk about the virus would impact on us.
Matthew has been our master baker and Janet our cake maker, loose term. Matthew does his baking from scratch using individual ingredients whereas Janet opens the packet adds water throws it in the oven and just hopes it survives and something edible comes back out. Funny enough she has been successful to greater and lesser degrees.
With clearer skies at night the stars and constellations have shone brightly, an amazing array of twinkling lights with shooting stars firing off like rockets. I am laying here now in the cockpit on watch looking up into the night sky and marvelling at it. There is an bird in the darkness making a squeaking birdcall, the waves are gently lapping and one of the bloody sails is collapsing and is really getting on my wick now. I keep warning it if it carries on it’s going to be rolled in! The trouble is that the wind is light and the swell unseats the sails and they protest with a flap and flog. We could do with some proper wind but it is not forecast to happen so we just plod along. We had estimated that this would be a 21 day passage but we are now revising to maybe 22 or 23.
We listen daily to music, normally in the afternoon after the morning chores have been done and perhaps some cat-napping as well. Sometimes it’s loud and we have a good sing along, other times it’s mellow and just chilled.
In fact it’s chilled most of the time, a mixture of catching up on sleep, reading, catching up on sleep and....reading. Though it does get exciting sometimes especially when the fresh water pump springs into life without being asked but has gone unheard for a while. Shit, turn off the switch quickly. What it means is that it is pumping water out somewhere but not where it should like out of the taps. Lifting the floorboards reveals that in the swell the water bottles that are stored in the bilge had rammed a water pipe and disconnected it allowing water to pour out.As a result the bilge was swilling with water and had to be bailed out and dried. Just another day on the ocean really.
It’s been now 15 days since we left the Galapagos and we have sailed 2025 nautical miles, 8859 since we set sail from Southampton last August. We have 1082 to go on this passage or that is what we thought......
Andrew, Matthew and Janet
On passage to Hiva Oa,French Polynesia