The light winds continued into today as expected;
we have managed to keep going coaxing Warrior along under full working sails
although not always pointing in quite the right direction. Our current course
is pointing a little too far south for making landfall in Hiva Oa. Recent
weather updates promise winds to fill in from the early hours of tomorrow
morning and increase in strength through tomorrow and Saturday.
We decided to relax and embrace the peaceful
conditions today as yesterday's approach of heavily sulking about our lack of
propulsion didn't actually get us any further forward!
Whilst we were enjoying the early morning sunshine
on deck we spotted a beautiful white bird with fantastically long "tail
streamers" soar over head. It was absolutely exquisite and looked like a
fictional bird from a Harry Potter tale with its brilliant white plumage and
mystical tail feathers. I had spotted this bird from a distance last week but
been unable to identify it. Today as it soared around our masthead I managed to
get a better look. I grabbed my reference book and identified it as a
"Tropicbird". There are several varieties of these and I will need to
get another look at it to clarify which variety it is but I have it down to
either a "red-billed tropicbird" or a "white-tailed
tropicbird". If, like me, you have never heard of these beautiful
creatures then take a walk to your local library; enjoy a lovely cold glass of
something dry, white and delicious because it is actually now a Yates wine
lodge and use their Wi-Fi to Google "tropic birds".
With the flat calm conditions we have taken the
opportunity to get the boat in order a bit. We spent quite some time this
afternoon topping up our working galley stores from the various reserves
onboard. This included refilling sugar, salt, oil, spices as well as staples
such as rice, pasta, milk-powder, flour etc. Annoyingly we discovered weavels
in some of our dry stores and I spent quite some time then sieving and
re-packing a couple of kilos of rice to try and save it! Bloody weavels!
Unfortunately they are a fact of life in the tropics as we have previously
mentioned and much as we try and stay ahead of them they are impossible to
prevent as they hatch from eggs present in the sealed bags we buy from
supermarkets. I take the view that sieving tends to shake out most of them and
as we nearly always eat in the dark anyway I just try not to think about them
too much! Also I can't consider any creature that manages to inhabit this boat
under Meep's radar as serious protein anyway!
After having had a good organise of stores below
Jamie went on deck to inspect the rigging and make a few repairs; fixing a snag
in the safety netting and cutting and re-splicing the headsail sheet where it
had nearly chaffed through. He also replaced the steering lines of our
windpilot self steering gear that had seriously chaffed after nearly 5000NM’s,
quite tricky while having to steer the boat at the same time!!
I treated myself to a bathe on deck which is far
more comfortable and enjoyable when we aren't rolling about.. not to mention
the risk factor of pulling up buckets of water when we are bowling along at 5
knots or more is considerably higher than when we are barely making 2kts! Today
I found myself pulling up buckets of water and thinking "We could actually
be at anchor right now!"
Clearly Meep has also been of the opinion we are
at anchor too as he had another morning full of beans; wanting to play on deck.
I managed to tire him out by entertaining him with his fishing rod toy for a
while and after that he retired to snooze in the forepeak where he was able to
oversee all of our galley-provisioning this afternoon.
After refilling our galley cupboards we checked on
our fresh stores. We still have a reasonably decent supply of fresh produce
aboard. Surprisingly; despite the terrible start with many of our purchases
from the market in Panama City, we still have a single fresh tomato; a few
limes, cabbages, potatoes, onions, garlic and half a pumpkin. Yesterday we had
the last of our fresh carrots for dinner. I think we are both very pleased to
still have fresh vegetables after 5 weeks; especially bearing in mind how much
we lost in that first week or so!
We also cleaned out and inventorised the remaining
contents of our fridge today We still have a large quantity of cheese and a
couple of remaining salchichas (Panamanian sausages) which we plan to have for
dinner tomorrow night (the sausages - not the large quantity of cheese!) This
will be the last of our fresh meat although we still have several cured meats
in the bilges that we hope to last us for much of our time in Polynesia.
We also have a few Fray Bentos pies in our stores
which we came across today so we are treating ourselves to one for dinner as it
seems appropriate when conditions are so calm that opening the oven doesn't run
the risk of a scalding hot pie landing in your lap!!
Our daily run is a very meager 42nm - hardly
surprising given the conditions. Jamie's mother is plotting our daily position
on her own map and I fear that today she is going to have to really sharpen her
pencil to squeeze that position in next to yesterday's!! But hey never mind; we
have all we need; we still have ample reserves of fresh water aboard and no
serious breakages or technical issues. All crew are healthy and well rested. We
are very grateful to be here; sailing our little ship along on the beautiful
big blue sea. It is a shame we are going too slowly to feasibly troll a fishing
line along but even that isn't the end of the world because hey at least we
have an excuse for not catching a fish today... and like I said; we have Fray
Bentos for dinner!
Good times ;)