logo Salsa af Stavsnas
Date: 06 Jun 2013 04:36:12
Title: And the winner is.... 08.34S 134.07W

Right now Ellinor is sitting in the cockpit reading Madicken (Swedish classic book by Astrid Lindgren- author of Pippi Longstock),
 she is wearing a headlight and the kids are sitting next to her on each side. It is pitch dark, no moon at all. The boat is rushing through the water in 7 knots and there is a confused wavemix of several trains rocking the boat from side to side.
Im sitting by the navigation table, with a red light shining down on the computer and paper chart, the radar is turning its "eye" in a green glowing light and the radio is silent (since Galapagos) on channel 16.
We have 290nM to go before reaching Fatu Hiva. Right now the GPS is saying that we will be there in 1 day, 19hours and 52 minutes. But that is according to the speed we have right now and ackording to the forecast the wind will decrease tomorrow. In a way it is good because we do not want to enter unknown waters at night unless it is a big well marked harbour and this is far from it.
As we approach a new destination a couple of thing are being prepared, the courtesy flag has to be found, in this case we will fly the French on top of the Marquesan flag. But more important is preparation in navigation. Are there currents? What is the tide going to be like?
What can we expect close ashore? In this case the island is very tall so we can expect falling and accellerating winds.
I mark one point that is easy to miss 20 miles off shore the northern tip, a tip that comes up to 10 meters below the water. It is not dangerous for hitting but the waves can probably be monstrous around that tip.  Coming to these islands the depth is no concern, the waters are very deep between the  islands. What you a re concerned about is places like San Blas wher there are entrances where the water goes from 1000 meter to 50 meter within 100 meter. In a big swell like the one we have now you can easily loose control coming in to a place like that. The waves simply brake on you.
Here though we have really deep waters, like the fjords in Norway.
Another concern after being at sea for many day is to check the engine, well we did run it just 2 days ago so that is an easy check.
Things you check for is the quality of the diesel at the bottom of the tank, when you have been at sea the fule has been shaken around and particles can come free and clogg you line just when entering an anchorage or harbour. Than yu check the usual, oil and cooling water, belts etc. Next important thing is your aft, have you any lines or nets dragging behind you? If you do not check that, you will have problems when the propeller starts turning if there is anything of course.
As you approach the new place all your senses are on, and you keep checking the plotter against the paper chart and the depth sounder, usually things are not where they are ment to be according to the plotter. No not in Europe, but here, count on that.
As you get closer to land traffic with fishing boats picks up, nets are out etc etc
What do their buoy system indicate? Is it green to starboard coming in or the opposite (wich they call redrightreturn)
What radiochannels do they communicate through? A lot of harbours do not watch 16, they are watching some other traffic channel.
Do you have to call and report your arrival? Or it can be even that you have to deal with an airport because you are passing a landingstrip with your tall mast (!)
This is just to give you an idea of the contrast from being safe out in deep water to approaching a new place. The more knowledge you have the less is the chance of nasty surprises. The radio net is of course a treasure, because boats that have already entered the place can give you  advice and warnings. Most of the time things turn out better than you think but when something does not look the way it is supposed to be  (for instance breaking water where it should be deep) your nerves go far out.
Most boats do not get hurt at sea, land is the dangerous place for them....
The last two days have been efficient sailing , last 24 hours  169nM. Feels good. Ellinor is making mosquito nets for the hatches etc (The ones we bought from Marine Design where fine except that the metal parts have rusted to death. There is a metal band keeping the nets in shape and rings for the strings, everything is destroyed after one year. Very bad quality indeed. NO we have not been swimming with them in the ocean.... )Actually there are a lot of things that work well and a few things that make you disappointed. But the big enemy at sea is rust and mold, for sure. Stainless steel is not always stainless.
I have been cleaning all metal parts on deck, so now all stainless steel is really stainless, have to wear shades to look out on deck now.
And the winner is!
Todays lunch was the BEST meal we had during the entire journey: MaHe Burger! Ellinor made homebaked hamburger breads, then she made great burgers from the fish and with that a dressing that has a secret recipe. It was fantastic!!!
Actually our food plates do not look like home any more, but they are good! Yesterdays lunch: Scrambled eggs, fried food banana (instead of potatoes) black beans in tomato sauce and one falafel (big and good).
What the kids do to make all food familiar is that they use ketchup....

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