Half way to Suwarrow
Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Fri 12 Jul 2013 11:30
HALF WAY TO SUWARROW
Its the middle of the night and I have just come on watch, and happy to see that we now have only 343nm to go to Suwarrow. On Tuesday afternoon our new batteries arrived in Bora-Bora on the ship from Tahiti. Freight ships come in each day and what a chaotic, yet efficient process this is.
The ship docked at 4pm and immediately containers and open cages are unloaded - all over the small wharf. Forklift trucks are zooming around and there are people and vehicles everywhere looking for and loading their goods. The system/ security is very loose - I simply showed some guy in a hard hat my paper work, he gave me matching document and told me I could look for, and take my pallet... no signatures required! Our pallet ( 4 large 260Ahr batteries weighing about 300kgs) was fairly easy to locate.
We then brought TIME2 around to a wharf further down and tied up. I went back to the ship, found a friendly fork-lift truck who picked up our pallet, expertly manoeuvred it between all the other pallets, cars and piles of good and drove it down the road to TIME2. We then used our crane to lift each battery on to the back deck and within a few minutes we were back to the anchorage. Our friend Will then came over and gave Mike a hand at installing them. Mike had already made adjustments to the storage area, as these batteries are wider than the old ones. By 6.30pm we were having a beer and Mike's sore back was being medicated.
Yesterday morning we checked out of French Polynesia with the Gendarmes and set off for the 685nm trip to Suwarrow (Cook Islands) This is a very unsettled passage and we had already lost 24 hours of the weather window, waiting for the batteries. Another look at the weather showed that we would be having a rough ride, particularly Saturday and Sunday when winds are forecast to get over 25knots, with seas up to 3.5m - from E/SE.
We therefore decided to "burn some diesel" and motor at 8.5knots to get into Suwarrow by Saturday sunset. We usually travel at 7.3 knots, but avoiding another rough night at sea was worth it.
We are now half way and the really rough weather has not yet hit us, but it is still very bumpy. With the swell and wind from behind/ stern quarter, the stabilisers and auto-pilot are working very hard. Every few hours a big swell gives us a hard shove off course and the auto-pilot alarm starts screaming. You then have to hand steer back on course before re-setting the auto-pilot. Everything is packed away and tied down, but occasionally something still manages to go flying. No lazy watches on this trip.