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
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.