Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gambier to Marquesas - Day 1: Back on the ocean

Time: 0120UTC, COG 340T, SOG 6.5kts, Distance Remaining: 630nm

After having a last take-out pizza (yes, there is a decent pizza place in
Rikitea that's open during the weekend evenings) and hot spiced wine on
Pitufa, having 4 fresh baguettes delivered to our boat in the morning (it
was Birgit and Christian's turn to pick them up) and saying "See you later"
to some friends, Irie's windlass slowly lifted the anchor out of the mud, 70
(22m) beneath. At 10am, we headed into the wind, the chop and the grey
skies. For some reason, the wind is always on the nose and boats are always
anchoreda on a lee shore (land behind instead of in front) in the Gambier
islands. The wind against current phenomenon caused a bumpy and wet ride.
Within 20 minutes of leaving Rikitea, the decks were swamped with salt

Once outside the lagoon, after two hours of motor sailing, we fell off a bit
and the engines were turned off. The wind blew pretty strong out of the SW,
an unusual direction. The gradient wind normally comes out of the SE here.
The waves were about 12 feet (4m) high. Conditions would only improve over
the coming week. To make the trip a bit more comfortable and to do some
"easting", which will help us further north, when the wind turns east, we
altered course by 40°. In 20-25 knots of wind (instead of the predicted
15-20) and with reefed sails, we moved NNE at a pleasant 7 knots.

The day was spent getting used to the motion of the ocean again, resting up
a bit and trying to stay warm. Making meals was easy with the in advance
prepared curry for lunch and tuna salad for dinner. Fresh baguettes at sea,
a treat! At night, we tried to put as many layers of clothes as possible
under Mark's foul weather gear for our six hour shifts and the bed sported a
thick blanket on top of the duvet. The half-moon (is it first quarter or
last quarter when the bottom half shows?) was rarely visible in the overcast
sky. Squalls surrounded us and played with the wind a bit, but most of them
skirted us, with only some sprinkling to be felt.

The wind speed dropped substantially overnight. With a double reefed main
(you never know with these squalls), we moved at a speed of 5-6 knots
towards the equator, where warmer weather and longer days await!


dmmbruce said...

Well done. And please keep posting. It is very interesting.

Are your friends on Pitufa etc coming north as well?


Liesbet said...

Hi Mike,

Always nice to read your comments, even though it sometimes takes weeks before we get to see them, being off line in most of these remote islands.

We made it safely to the Marquesas, which are very special and interesting. Pitufa arrived here as well and we met some old and new friends the last few weeks.

Keep reading! :-)