mnestis

travelling…

Archive for the ‘Pacific Crossing’ Category

Landfall

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Hurrah! We motored into Baie d’Hatiheu on Nuku Hiva at about 3:30 this afternoon and, yes, it looks like Paradise after Purgatory. Dark brown volcanic rock in many layers – like chocolate millefeuille – piled into fantastic turrets and peaks, steep sided, deeply corrugated cliffs, all covered with luscious green vegetation. There’s a tiny town – only a few buildings and a church – painted in white and pastel colours, at the foot of the mountain. Tomorrow we go to another bay – Taiohae – on the other side of the island to check in officially, but tonight it’s peace and quiet for the first time in so very long!

More in a few days.

Love to all,

Eva

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Written by mnestis

June 1, 2009 at 7:16 AM

Posted in Pacific Crossing

Officially on the other side of the world

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We’re now officially on the other side of the world, having passed the equator a couple of days ago. The event was indicated by a long line of zeros on our position indicator. Otherwise there’s nothing much new or interesting to tell. The horizon is still bounded by water and sky all around; no colours except varying shades of blues and greys; no life to be seen except the occasional sea bird or the flying fish and small squid which are still regularly landing on deck. Sometimes there’s a beautiful sunset reflecting off cloud castles in the distance. We’re well, and have only about 500 more miles to go before landfall. With any luck, the next time I write it’ll be from Nuku Hiva!

Love to all,

Eva

Written by mnestis

May 28, 2009 at 7:09 AM

Posted in Pacific Crossing

Doldrums

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Except it’s not called ‘The Doldrums’ any more, but the ‘Inter-tropical Convergence Zone’, which is much duller!

We’re motoring across, as there’s no wind to speak of – just a flattish sea with serried ranks of dark squalls in the distance. It’s very warm now, too. At night we can see bright stars, though the constellations have shifted and the sky is unfamiliar. Sometimes there are luminescent dots in the waves, making them look as starry as the night sky.

We’re fine, and if anyone needs to get in touch (brief messages only, as the e-mails are going by radio) our new e-mail address until we get back into the range of the satellite is: MSUW7@sailmail.com

Love to all,

Eva

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Written by mnestis

May 23, 2009 at 7:06 AM

Posted in Pacific Crossing

Moving Again

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Hi everyone! We’re both fine and the wind is blowing again nicely, but we’re temporarily out of range of the satellite system we’ve been using to send e-mails. Our provider says we’ll pick it up again around 8 degrees N and 143 degrees W, so until then I’ll be sending short entries to let you know we’re OK either via radio – a fiddly affair – or if that doesn’t work via quick phone calls at an insane price.

The Captain caught 2 nice fat yellow-fin tuna so we had sashimi for a couple of days, and flying fish regularly hurl themselves onto the deck like moths to a flame.

Love to all,

Eva

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Written by mnestis

May 19, 2009 at 7:00 AM

Posted in Pacific Crossing

Becalmed

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It would be nice to be able to say we’re cheerily speeding along at 5+ knots but, alack, we’re doing nothing of the sort. We’re becalmed, rocking gently back and forth in a flat sea, and have been for almost 4 days now, to The Captain’s intense frustration. Every now and then a desultory breeze comes up, only to die down shortly thereafter. This morning the sea was grey, monotonous, and featureless to the horizon. The sky was equally grey, so it seemed eerily as if we were in Limbo.

We’ve had some trouble with the mainsail – though nothing really serious – which can’t be sorted until we get to Papeete, though The Captain grumbles that at this rate we won’t be there ’til Christmas. I’ve been seasick – until the wind abated – with monotonous and dispiriting regularity. As a diet it’s very effective, but somehow I don’t think it’ll catch on with the In Crowd. The canopy covering the cockpit has had a hole chafed in it by the boom, which necessitated its being taken down and patched by yours truly. The Captain then decided it really needed tightening so the wind wouldn’t belly it up, or the problem would simply reoccur. I took a long tuck in it, though my sewing always has ‘something of the night’ about it (read: it looks as if Dr Frankenstein has done the tailoring and Igor the stitching). The water maker is working though – knock on wood – and so are the other innards of the boat as far as we can tell, and we’re fine otherwise.

At night the boat now makes different noises, quieter ones, which combine most oddly. At night, from my bunk, a certain clatter from somewhere undefined, combined with the suck and slurp of water in the galley sink drains and sundry other noises, sounds exactly like someone putting a Thermos into the sink, filling it and screwing on the top, again, and again, and again, and again…

No fish either. The Captain has now discovered what a desert the open ocean really is!

Love to all,

Eva

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Written by mnestis

May 12, 2009 at 6:52 AM

Posted in Pacific Crossing

Pacific

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The water stretches to the horizon in every direction as far as we can see. It’s a cold grey where sky meets sea and deep, ultramarine blue up close – not one of those enticing ‘come and play’ blues but a serious, unforgiving blue. The race here is to the swift, the sleek, the scimitar-winged and finned. Massive swell waves rear up behind us, flecked and crisped with foam, then one after the other slide under the boat as we dip into the following trough. The motion seems smooth, but the reality inside the boat is something else entirely.

It creaks and squeaks, moans and groans, cracks, clicks, clanks and thumps. Things in closets rustle, dishes clatter, hanging fabric flaps, anything not actually nailed down or wedged into immobility is on the move. The wind has been between 12 and 20 knots since we left, with one night of 25-30 knots. It blows ceaselessly, making the boat rock endlessly. It whistles through the rigging, mutters like half-heard conversations in corners, makes the sails jerk as it shifts direction slightly and then the boat judders as they catch it again. It turns the ropes into live things when we reef the sails.

Is it pleasant? Erm, I plead the Fourth Amendment! However, after the first couple of days and nights, which were pretty active, The Captain, at least, is pretty much up to his normal speed.

In re the repairs: it turns out the engine had not been properly screwed to its mounting – 3 screws were loose – which had made it jiggle on the way down from San Francisco. This had put pressure on the propeller shaft, which should have been centred into its position in the engine but had been hoicked up instead. This in turn put pressure on the bearing, which should have been holding the shaft as delicately as a lady holds a teacake, but was instead under terrific strain, which is why it was disintegrating from the inside out. After The Captain had a little talk with the boss, the boatyard are paying the costs of both work and materials and of our rather expensive mooring in San Diego. I’m still thinking bitterly about rope and lampposts.

There’s not much to see out here. A minke whale followed the boat for about an hour shortly after we left San Diego and a ringed dove took refuge on one of the safety lines off the coast of Baja, but otherwise there’s been no life to speak of except flying fish and the occasional bird, too far off to identify. Oh – and we almost caught a fish but it escaped.

We hope to do about 100 miles every 24 hours, which should get us where we want to be in about another 4 weeks.

That’s it for now!

Love to all from us both,

Eva

Written by mnestis

May 7, 2009 at 6:49 AM

Posted in Pacific Crossing

We’re finally off!

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HURRAH!

We’re finally off!

In about an hour!

Next blog (with an engine update) in about a week!

Love to all from us both, in haste,

Eva

Written by mnestis

April 30, 2009 at 6:46 AM

Posted in Pacific Crossing