7 degrees 39 min South; 123 degrees 05 min West
Well, the trade winds have continued to be good to us, all
remains well on board, and I'm pleased to have little to report save the
daily routine of watches, eating and sleep. Our progress is marked by
a series of circled dots spanning the chart and I was excited
today to have to move across on to a crisp new expanse of Admiralty
paper. My excitement was only slightly dulled when I discovered that this one
also has virtually nothing on it although Fatu Hiva, our destination,
is there, a small green dot, across on the left hand margin. We
now have slightly less than a thousand miles to go which is a considerably
less daunting figure that when we set out on this leg almost two weeks ago.
Unlike air travel where one skips across time zones without even noticing,
travelling at this speed you become aware that the time of sunrise and
sunset is shifting each day as we head west. We have already changed our
clocks twice since leaving Galapagos and will have to do so again before we
arrive in the Marquesas. Jet lag shouldn't be an issue!
We did have one day when things looked to be heading rapidly pear-shaped.
The alternator on the main engine decided after years of impeccable service
to overheat and pack in at precisely the point when we were the furthest from
land we shall probably ever be. We do have a solar panel and a wind generator to
help provide some power but with Otto the autopilot running 24 hours a day
(along with the fridge, instruments,lights SSB radio etc) the
alternator is a pretty key piece of kit. We do carry a smaller spare but
this has spent the last two years sitting in a tupperware box under the
floorboards so there was a hint of tension in the air whilst we firstly found it
(harder than you might think) and secondly fitted it (easier than I was
expecting). To my amazement and immense relief it worked which means that at
present Otto is continues to steer, the lights and
radios remain functioning and, crucially, the fridge is still
cold! We celebrated with home-made pizza and iced bitter lemon and I don't
remember a time when either have ever tasted better.
As we aproach the islands we expect the wind to back slightly and
gradually fade which will probably reduce our pace to a crawl as we get
close. It is always tempting to try to start calculating when you are going
to arrive, but to do so is invariably a mistake. We will just continue
chipping away at the miles and keep you posted!