The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sun 7 Sep 2014 18:22



13:10S 168:12W


So far, we've done 670 miles with 210 miles to go to Samoa. We’re running downwind with 10 knots of wind and 6 foot seas.  It’s a beautiful day with white fluffy clouds. Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


6 September 2014 Penrhyn to Apia, Samoa ( Day 5)

By dawn, the skies had cleared and we had a lovely morning running down wind in 15 knot winds and six foot seas.  Late in the morning, I hooked a monster Dorado.  I fought it hard for 15 minutes, but it kept taking line from my reel and making spectacular leaps from the water hundreds of feet away from us.


I put the rod back into the rod holder because playing the fish was really hard work and it was tiring me out.  The fish kept on taking line slowly, so I slowly increased the friction on the clutch thinking that the hundreds of feet of fishing line would stretch and take the shock loads.  Unfortunately, the pressure was so great that one of the hoops on my rod snapped off and cut through the fishing line.  The fish took my lure and hundreds of feet of fishing line - I was gutted.


Glenys made a beef burrito for lunch, which picked up my morale.  I then did the chore of replacing the fishing line on my reel and making up yet another lure.  So far on this trip, it's one small fish caught and four escaped with two lost lures.


The afternoon continued to be very pleasant, rolling along under blue skies with fluffy clouds and the night was the same with a couple of minor showers.


At sunset, we had three Red-footed Boobies circling around the boat trying to land for the night.  They were struggling to find an up-wind approach because we were flying our sails wing on wing.  Eventually, one figured out a cross-wind approach to our solar panels (a convenient landing pad) and managed to stop before it slid off the other side.


I grabbed our fish gaff and poked it off because the damn things make such a mess, leaving guano everywhere.  It came around again to try to land and I actually had to poke it with the gaff three times in flight while it was hovering to land.  The booby seemed to get the idea and flew off.


Ten minutes later, it heard a clunk from the stern of the boat and found to my dismay that a booby had flown into the whirling, four foot diameter blades on our wind generator.  It looked very stunned and was hanging onto the side of the stern arch with its broken wings. The was nothing that I could do except push it into the sea with our gaff.


Fifteen minutes late, we had another booby roosting on our solar panels.  We had a full moon and it was very bright, so I reckoned that the booby would keep coming back all night if I  tried to dislodge it and there was a very good chance that it would hit the wind generator as well.  I didn't want another dead booby on my hands, so I let it stay for the night.


We've passed through a time zone and the sunset is noticeably later, so we put the clocks back an hour at our change of watches at one o'clock.  Sleep is so precious to us that we shared the extra time and each had an extra half an hour in bed. Glenys woke me up at 01:30 instead of 01:00, I then put the clocks back an hour, so that it was 00:30 and woke her up at 04:00.  A little confusing, but I think that we got it right.