Michael Hughes and Ger White
Sat 31 May 2014 10:16
The good news—we arrived in Chagos this morning after a good 24 hours sailing in fresh winds. We are anchored in the Salomon Atoll, between Takamaka and Fouquet islands. Nice anchorage with a decent breeze blowing through it.
We’ll take it easy for the rest of the day, and tomorrow.......
I’ll probably be working! Because the bad news is that yesterday evening our autopilot failed and we have had to hand steer since then. This may not sound too bad—after all people always hand steered when I learnt to sail. But the
autopilot is like having 3 extra crew—helming 24/7---and allows one person to get on with other things—charts, weather, reefing and unreefing etc.—whilst on watch. Now it all needs 2 people awake—and there are only 3 of us--- so a lot more night watch hours and a lot less sleep!
I will be trying to fix it, but doubtful about success—particularly if it is the course computer at fault, which is all printed circuits etc. The prospect of hand steering to Madagascar---10 to 12 days away--- is daunting indeed!
But we will take time to enjoy Chagos. We plan to stay here for a couple of weeks. We’ve already seen reef sharks and turtles swimming around the boat. The bird life is amazing. The lagoon is surrounded by tree covered islands, coral reefs and lovely beaches—a touch of paradise. And the islands are uninhabited---only 5 other boats here, 2 of which have already bid us welcome. No harbours, no airport, no tourists, no shops, nothing. A totally unspoilt nature reserve, only
accessible by boats like ours and who need permission to come here.
Probably no blogs for a while, we’ll be too busy!