Now about 1000nm and 7days into this trip, and have had a fairly boisterous day with winds of 20kn from the SE pushing us along at 8-9kn. The sea is bumpy and Pacific Bliss is getting bounced and bashed a bit. 2 weeks, or so, to go. Is this really what I had dreamt of for all those years that crossing the Pacific would be like? There is always a balance in my mind of the benefit of having plenty of breeze to move along quickly, tempered by the fear of breaking something out here, which you really don't want to do. Too much wind.. too little wind... its never right!
It's a strange thought that we don't really know what to expect of the Gambier when we arrive. Its not well visited like the Marquesas and not a well documented destination, which is partly why we are going there. We do know there are baguettes, black pearls, sharks, coral atolls and hairy navigation through reef passages. Its going to be very different to anywhere we have been before. The people will look different as well, it will be our first taste of Polynesian culture.
Before we bought the boat the image had been of day upon day of downwind sailing with the spinnaker up and sundowners on the deck. I'm now thinking of writing a book about, 'Why not to buy a catamaran for downwind sailing', 'cos you get precious little of it. I asked Liz this evening how many downwind sails we had had since we started, and she just raised one hand!
The crew of this little coracle has settled into a passage rhythm, and one day is flowing into the next. If I remember the Atlantic crossing correctly this just gets more set in until one is almost there, when there is the uncomfortable moment when you realise that you're going to have to arrive and you don't really know how to stop.
Liz and I have fallen into a watch routine that split the night into two. Seems to be the easiest way to get a good chunk of sleep and with a cup of coffee and a good book, and emails to write, the time seems to pass surprisingly quickly. The idea of a 8pm to 8am sleep seems far away. The days are always busy looking after the kids, cooking, fishing (caught 3 fish yesterday) and of course the ever present nemesis of 'school', and, even though we've been at sea for a week the body knows that daytime is not for sleeping.
We have no idea of what is going on in the outside world, Libya, Syria, murder, grand larceny. It all seems rather irrelevant when bobbing around in a small boat on a big sea. We have been fairly out of it for the last 6 months at least, but out here, well... and we have the technology to do more communication than many other boats.
Wind has just died to about 12kn and we're beginning to flog around. We have still got one reef in and I wont take that out till tomorrow, but hopefully the breeze will fill in again and I wont have to. Reefing on the boat is actually quite easy and can be done without drama from the cockpit as all the reefing lines are led back to the cockpit and one power winch, so there is no need to go to the mast except once its all done to check that all is tidy.