The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sat 11 Jul 2015 20:51



11:40S   155:36E


So far we've done 720 miles with 180 miles to go.  We did 130 miles in the past 24 hours.  We're still on a course of 290°, have 90% cloud cover, but have no wind, so we’re motoring at 5 knots. It’s touch and go whether we’ll be able to get there tomorrow.  We have to go through a pass in the barrier reef and then we’ll have two hours motoring to the anchorage, so we’ll need to get to the pass by at least four o’clock tomorrow, otherwise we’ll be hove-to outside the reef until the next morning.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


10 July 2015  Luganville to Papua New Guinea (Day 5)

The GRIB files show 10-15 knot winds for today and tonight, then the wind is forecast to drop off and a trough comes through tomorrow night.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of wind or rain in the trough, but we’ll see.


The day was a mixed bag with sunny intervals between large, dark squalls.  When we sailed into the first system, I reefed the mainsail, but the wind didn’t increase as much as yesterday – we just got heavy rain.  It was very hot in the sunny intervals, so when the squalls hit, we both stripped off and had a nice, cold shower on the front deck.


I put out the fishing lines in the morning and caught a nice 3-foot long Dorado, which was very easy to pull in, but a bugger to kill – it flailed away spraying blood everywhere on the aft deck.  Ten minutes to reel it in and fifteen minutes to clean up the mess.


The wind dropped off in the late afternoon and we had 8-12 knots from behind us, slowing us down to 5 knots through the water.  We seem to be picking up an intermittent current – sometimes we have ½ knot and sometimes nothing.


The night watches were pleasant apart from one squall that crept up on Glenys at midnight giving her a 30 degree wind shift and 25 knots of wind.  By four o’clock, the wind had died off and I had to turn on the engine.  Disturbingly, we saw a huge lightning storm to the south of us which carried on illuminating the horizon until dawn.