All at sea

Tue 5 Aug 2008 03:00
DateTuesday, 5th August
Noon Position 20:24S 176:31W
Hopefully you will see us on the map in the clear Pacific Ocean, if there is any land just in front of us we will surely hit it as I am at the computer, Hannah is doing mathematics holiday work, and Olivia, having been on watch last night, is comatose on her bunk. We left Tonga for Suva, Fiji, yesterday afternoon after the usual Officialdom, and last minute shopping including enormous ice creams, plus supplies of white cabbage: everyones' favourite salad item just now. The first night at sea has been something of a surprise to the crew, who have not found the rolling motion of the boat as conducive to sleep as they had hoped. I have been force feeding them with sea sick pills just in case, but I think that they are just tired and hot. Yes, hot: the weather has picked up a lot since Victoria left, and I have all the sunshades up in the cockpit this afternoon.
Hannah got nearly 1000% in her maths test, but got one question wrong as the general knowledge of the number of days in November was required: she thought this most unfair! She is also an avid reader, and needs more books, Conny! Olivia has a very charming log/diary which of course I am not allowed to read, but has lovely doodles, drawings and decorations. I found time for some painting at the weekend, but am getting rusty for lack of practise. Liszt's Liebestraume is also sounding very rusty on my Casio keyboard, and my German is going backwards. If Conny is to be seduced when she arrives I will have to fall back on sauerkraut rather than music, song and sparkling Deutsche. Maybe I better get a bottle of wine as well!!
At least the good weather is helping us back into our seaboots. We have about 10 kts of wind from behind, and quite gentle seas. A little more wind is forecast towards the end of the week, which will help our progress. I daresay we shall have the usual problem of a night time arrival, but that presupposes a safe passage over the next 300 miles which is what I shall concentrate on for now.
Fleck continues to look after us well. We have a weed problem, as the antifouling is no longer working. This is slowing us down a bit, especially in the current light conditions. The steering vane needs new bearings but I hope they will last out until the end of this leg; and the shower drain pump is broken: hardly a disaster, but it is awkward sponging out dirty shower tray water into the washbasin as we roll about! (our little shower tray is below the waterline, so water can't just drain away: nearly everything on a boat turns out to be complicated!). Now the weather is warmer again we should perhaps return to cockpit bucket washing! The girls were sobered to discover that all the water that we use has to be replenished somehow: In Tongatapu this meant going to the Fishmarket every few days with our three Jerrycans: the only free tap on the waterfront, but of course surrounded by fishbits: we use plenty of water purifying tablets!. Our watermaker does not make water in sufficient quantities for Olivias long hair! We will be OK at sea with full tanks for about a week.
Sailors are always discussing their 'jobs lists': some of those with older boats face permanent mountains of work, and of course no sooner is one job fixed than another problem arises. We are lucky, touch wood. It is always a shame to say goodbye to one group of cruisers, in Pangaimotu anchorage we were especially sad to leave Elenka and Tristan in Vite Vite, parents of Hannahs new friend, Lenos; we hope that they soon have their engines running again.
Best wishes to all, from us all