Walkabout - We are Halfway to Niue!
And so another day at sea begins… this is day 5 at sea and we have settled into a nice routine at this point. We have just passed the halfway stage of the passage during our sail change this morning - 578.5 miles sailed with approx 520 miles to go! Whoop whoop!
The last 24 hours have seen a significant drop in wind so during the afternoon yesterday, the decision was made to drop the sails that we had up at the time and motor through this wind hole. Before the engine was turned on we were hitting the strong speed of 2 knots despite having the blue water runner up to try and get the most out of the light winds but we were not making the progress we had hoped for. In the early hours of yesterday morning, we also hit the point of having sailed enough miles that we have enough fuel on board to motor the rest of the way to Niue if it came to it. The lighter winds have meant that the sea state has been noticeably calmer than it was for the first few days of the passage, although as far as motoring conditions go, we have still been rolling around a fair bit. Traci made a delicious loaf of fresh bread yesterday which we enjoyed at lunchtime and conditions meant that we were able to enjoy a nice relaxed evening last night. We had a game of Perudo in which Andrew was victorious, a lovely spaghetti bolognaise cheffed up by Tom followed by the daily SSB call at 6pm. As we turned the SSB on we were greeted with a performance of a sea shanty written by one of the other boats that afternoon which definitely put a smile on all of our faces, I wonder whose turn it will be next… After that we made the most of the last of the daylight with a drink on the bow of the boat accompanied by some Rice Krispie chocolate which is becoming a firm favourite on board. Being up on the bow is a reminder of just how far from land we are, nothing but hundreds of miles of ocean around us and about 5000m below us… still trying to wrap my head around that!
There was further discussion on the SSB yesterday about maintaining a decent average speed to ensure that we reach Niue with enough time to complete the clearing in process and then be able to have a short period of time exploring the country. Arriving after this point would potentially mean that we wouldn’t have time to do anything on the island between clearing in and departing for Tonga so it has been good having the engine on to make some steady progress through the light winds that we have had.
Motoring through the night, although loud and hot in the back cabins, does mean the night shifts have been more relaxed with less monitoring of the wind direction, Hydrovane and sails required! On the SSB call last night we found out that the rest of the fleet were motoring throughout the day yesterday and continuing on into the night which is reassuring to know that we are not missing out on any wind we may have had if we had taken a different course.
Saying all of this, we may have seen the last of of the light winds this morning as during Andrew’s 4-6am shift he saw a significant increase in the wind from around 2/3 knots to a steady 11 knots. This meant that when it was light this morning, we had a sail change and are as of now sailing along nicely with the main and Genoa up at a steady 7 knots. It also means we are rolling around a bit more but we can be grateful to have the engine off for a bit anyway!
We have not been very successful on the wildlife spotting front as of yet despite best efforts to keep our eyes outside of the boat in the hopes of seeing something. A few other boats have seen some whales and dolphins so if we keep looking I’m hopeful we will still see something… when the depth on the nav suddenly drops to 4m you do wonder if there is a large animal swimming just beneath us causing our depth to jump to that in the middle of the ocean! Traci also had a close encounter with a flying fish last night as one leapt out of the water heading straight for her face, but fortunately hit the little side panels that we have up instead before wriggling its way down the side of the boat and back into the water. That’s about as exciting as it has gotten on the wildlife front for now but we will keep you updated!
Another night with the light from a full moon has now finished, giving way to another sunrise on the water. It’s been a cloudy morning so far, but nice to have an increase in wind which makes it a bit cooler on board.
Hope all is well at home,
Lots of love,