Christmas in the Doldrums

Christmas at sea. Our “schedule” resulted in us being underway for Christmas. This is a first for either of us. We left Cape Town in late November. Since then we’ve stopped at St. Helena (where Napoleon was exiled and eventually died) and at Ascension (where the US government keeps track of satellites, missiles, and rockets). Both places were quite pleasant with small local populations, but pretty poor internet (maybe the US base had better service at Ascension, but we couldn’t access it). We have some pictures and stories, and we’ll post those when we get to the Caribbean. Which leads us to our Christmas at sea. We left Cape Town when we did to try and make Puerto Rico by the end of February without being too rushed anyplace. And it’s a pretty big ocean to cross. The crossing to St. Helena took a bit over 9 days, from there to Ascension a bit less than five. But the big

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Ball’s Pyramid and Lord Howe Island

Today we went like blazes to make it to Lord Howe Island. Pulled out all the stops and had the boat doing 10s and 12s as we raced to beat the sunset (no entry to the lagoon after dark). Coming in from the south we passed by Ball’s Pyramid, a quite striking pinnacle in the middle of the ocean (Google it, you’ll find better pictures than we could take in the mist). We didn’t get as close as we had hoped since we were racing the clock, but close enough to understand how it got its name. Between Ball’s and Lord Howe we picked up quite a large school of very energetic dolphins. The played with us for about half-an-hour and really seemed to like Wasco when she surfed. Lot of jumps and flips, we’ll go through the photos and see if we got anything interesting and post it when we get data. We rounded the southern end of the

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On way to Oz

We left Opua yesterday and saw the Three Kings Islands, our last view of New Zealand disappear behind us a couple of hours ago. Weather cooperating we’ll be stopping at Lord Howe Island in four or five days. Since we won’t be officially entered into Australia we’re only allowed a short visit then onward to the mainland where we’ll spend some time looking for the man behind the curtain. More when we get a real data connection.

En-Route to NZ

Well, back to the beginning. Not something that Erika particularly wants to hear, but we’re on our way back to Whangarei. We have a couple of boat projects we’d like to tackle during the off season, and this seemed liked the best place to get them done. Of course, first we have to get there. We checked out of Fiji on Wednesday, and armed with a promising weather report we headed south about noon. By the time we got to Malolo Passage in mid afternoon it was a pretty snotty 25, gusting to 40, and from the south. None of which were desirable starting points. We figured it might just be the afternoon heat in Lautoka, so (don’t tell the Fijian authorities) we turned around and anchored behind Malolo Lailai for the afternoon. We figured we’d leave in the evening when the wind died down. It never really did, so next we figured we’d get a full night’s sleep and

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Enroute to Fiji

We’re a day-and-a-half into what we hope is a three day passage from Tonga to Fiji. We owe you all one (or more) posts on Tonga, but once again the data pipes have not been cooperative, so those will have to follow. Suffice it to say that we are somewhat disappointed in Google’s Project Fi and in Mr. Zuckerberg’s (sp?) attempts to bring decent internet to the outer reaches of the world. For now, this is just a quick note (because we’ve been absent) to let you all know that we have 20 knots from dead astern, the jib all the way out, and are making a nice, stately pace toward Suva. Plenty of wind to go faster, but we don’t want to arrive before Monday morning (so as not to have to pay the government officials overtime) so we’re taking it easy and pretty much loafing along. We hope to have some pictures and stories up as soon as

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Sayonara Tahanea

Erika and I spent the last week at Tahanea in the Tuamotus. We were here 12 years ago and really enjoyed our stay. Then, we never saw another living soul. The island is not normally inhabited (although people from nearby islands do have “summer homes” here) and there were no other boats. This time around the fishing camp on shore was well populated and in the week we were there there were probably 10 or 12 cruising boats that passed through. The park ranger even came by and took down our names and information in his little book (although whether or not the book stayed dry in his leaky boat is questionable, he did a lot of bailing as he went about his business). If you have a mental picture of tropical island vacations and cruising then Tahanea is probably pretty close to that picture (minus the airport and the well-muscled pool boy with the pina colada). Crystal clear warm

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Waiting For The Shoe To Drop

So, ever since we made the final turn for Raivavae 4 days ago or so we’ve known that we’re racing the clock to get there. The convergence zone is due to drop on our heads sometime over the weekend, and when it does it will make the final leg to Raivavae very difficult. Maybe impossible. So we’ve been using everything we can to get there before that happens, or to line ourselves up so that if it does we at least have a chance. Yesterday we had our own personal line of squalls for about 16 hours and made really good time. Things were looking promising. At dawn this morning we had 300 miles to go, with even a moderate breeze we could finish that distance before the trouble comes. But then the wind died. We’ve motored as much as we can (we just don’t carry that much fuel, and want to have some in reserve). This afternoon we’re making

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Break On Through To The Other Side

The South Pacific Convergence Zone is over our heads. If we can just get through to the other side the world will be wonderful (pink unicorns and fuzzy bunnies, purring pussycats and leaping dolphins). Right now it kind of sucks. The CZ does all kinds of odd things to winds and seas. Nothing we didn’t expect and know about, but a day here is less than fun. We’re crossing at right-angles, shortest possible path. So at least we have the wind on the beam. The seas, though… Imagine that old top-loader washing machine with the agitator on high speed. Ughhh. At least we get to rant a little on the internet:) Until tomorrow, when we break on through to the other side and turn for our final destination.