Squally miles and kitten smiles! 10:01.226S 134:53.972W

Hamble Warrior
Jamie Hickman
Wed 3 May 2023 01:18

Day 42

Plenty of wind and good sailing conditions for the last 24 hours although we have also experienced a number of squalls and have reefed and un-reefed the sails several times as the wind has increased and the skies become dark and threatening. The squalls seem to gather and blow through over the course of about an hour and once they have passed the blue skies and white fluffy clouds return until the next batch arrive.

We had what we estimated to be strong force 5 (possible force 6) winds late yesterday and reefed the main before bed. At around 3am I woke as myself; Meep and most of the contents of Hamble Warrior was being thrown about and it was clear the winds had picked up. I poked my head up into the cockpit and found Jamie awake and sitting at the helm enjoying the exciting conditions. We were making a good 7kts of speed and surfing at around 9kts; unprecedented speeds considering the state of our bottom!! I ruined Jamie's fun by suggested we tuck a second reef in the mainsail and he reluctantly agreed. We continued to make good speeds even after we had shortened the sails.

The near full moon that had been clearly visible off our stern since before sunset, had by now moved to our bow and was shining brightly from in front of our sails. As Warrior rolled from side to side the moon flashed on our deck and it looked for all the world like someone was shining a torch along our sidedecks. Pretty cool that we will be arriving into the Marquesas under a full moon. I wonder if our first sighting of land will be by moonlight or sunshine..? If I am to understand what I have read correctly the volcanic nature of Hiva Oa is such that we should be able to spot her from a good distance.

Jamie spotted a flock of birds this morning. The first we have seen in any number for some time. We had a lone visitor circling a few days ago which I tried - and failed - to identify; and Jamie sighted another lone Tropicbird but this is the first small flock of gull-type birds that we have seen since we passed the Galapagos Islands. Surely a sign we are nearing land.

Meep has had another quiet day but he did come and join us on deck for a while earlier. He clearly wanted to climb in the spinnaker bag - one of his favourite nesting spots - but the leash we keep him on in the cockpit wouldn't stretch that far, so we brought the spinnaker bag to him and he climbed in and made himself comfortable. He is both hilarious and dangerous when he takes up this position. He disappears completely inside and any attempt to put your hands or anything else anywhere near the opening of the bag is met with a lightening-fast swipe of his paw. No holding back; murder-mitts out, shit-rakes fully extended! It is hilarious (until he Freddy Kruger's you anyway!) We let him amuse himself in the bag until he got bored and sauntered off back down below to sleep it off again. 

As we get ready to upload this update and get our emails, we are watching a fresh band of cloud approaching. I guess we will have another squall shortly. Hopefully we won't have too many through the evening. Dinner will be easy again tonight as we have the bolognaise sauce I made over the weekend so we just need to cook up some pasta. Last night we had a version of the old family favourite "chicken thingy" from my childhood*. Although last night's version contained virtually none of the original ingredients listed by the good ladies of the Mother's Union in the "St Peter's Church (Conisborough) cook book" the spirit of "chicken thingy" was definitely there. We served it with jarred potatoes as we have now used all of our fresh potatoes which was also very reminiscent of the "camping trip cuisine" of my childhood years.

We have now just 
245nm to go until we reach our waypoint at the Marquesas. Our daily run has been 138nm and having sailed another 15 degrees of longitude then tonight we shall move our clocks forward a further 1hr (BST +10hrs.. I think!!)

Thursday arrival is still looking possible :)

*chicken thingy is a kind of coleslaw ideal for using up ingredients. The original recipe included cooked chicken; diced apple, peanuts, raisins, sliced banana and mayonnaise. Recent versions have varied massively depending on what ingredients we have available - or need to use up - and last night's version involved tinned chicken (spam), shredded cabbage, peanuts, raisins, diced onion and mayonnaise with a squeeze of fresh lime.