23:39.49S 178:54.132W Midnight in Minerva.

Sat 29 Oct 2016 21:21

23:39.49S 178:54.132W Midnight in Minerva.

There was no moon on the night of the 27th October, just bright stars twinkling and a few clouds making their way north west. A few lonely yachts passed by their red port side nav lights eyeing the peaceful lagoon where the four of us lay at anchor. Did they wish they had come in for a rest or feel that would be a waste of time. Who knows. The roar of the breaking surf continued all night and we woke early to see the reef covered as the tide was high.

The tropics were behind us now and the saloon thermometer struggled to reach 20’Celcius. We had 573 miles to go to the end of this second leg, a point at which we had to decide whether to continue straight away if a high pressure system was settling over Northland NZ. If there was a low moving across we would wait until it had passed and we could see no secondaries developing. These lows emerge cold and angry from the southern ocean and Antarctic waters and speed up the Tasman Sea with only destruction on their minds. Were our nerves a little wracked? Well maybe just a little.

It took 40 minutes to retrieve the anchor (last used in Bora Bora), pulling lengths of chain in using a line from the chain, back to the main winch in the cockpit to pull it in, then locking it off with a strop on the foredeck so the line could be brought forward and attached to the chain just arrived on deck once more.

Zoonie had no such thoughts about what lay ahead and delighted in having both sails out and creaming along at 7 + knots over the Fiji Basin.

I was standing at the chart table noting the Lat and Long when I realised the Long figure was reducing instead of increasing. We had crossed the 180 Greenwich Longitude on the opposite side of the earth and were now counting down to Greenwich. The dateline has a massive kink in it here to the east so that all of Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand are in the same time zone.

The gallant winds of the start did not last the first 24 hours and we had to do a little motor sailing the first night. 1200rpm gave us four knots and another knot and a half came from the sails.

But yesterday morning as the sun rose so did her night time shift of a strong wind from the same direction. A fingernail moon watched over the pair, it was busy in that part of the sky just then.

The wind has continued since and we are more and more confident we will have enough fuel to assist us between here and Whangerai.

I was slapped on the leg by a flying fish as it landed in the cockpit one night. With my head torch on I was able to help this little one, lifting him over the cockpit side and back into the scuppers where he flicked himself overboard leaving a path of sticky, smelly scales. But the one that flopped loudly across the sprayhood and landed on the side deck by the deck saloon was doomed, for he lay beyond our golden rule, neither of us leaves the cockpit at night while the other is asleep.

“And when we get to New Zealand darling, I’ll buy you a new pair of (black) leggings, your bum looks like a bright starry night!” (My white knickers showing through the holes in the seam).

So eloquent I thought. “No Rob, I can soon sew a new back seam!”

Porridge, pancakes and papaya were the order of the day today.  Porridge because Rob was chilled from his 2 – 7 watch and the oats need using up. Pancakes so we can lavish them with the lime juice I squeezed yesterday, and again has to be used up. A gin and tonic comes to mind. Number three of Barry’s papayas is now ripe, so I fleshed it out and threw the skin and seeds overboard.

Potatoes and carrots were set to boil and then cool for a potato and egg salad lunch which will also use the last tomato and some sliced onion. Barry laughed when we presented him with a bottle of unopened mayo, “Of course it’s not allowed in NZ is it.”