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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Around midday (local time) on Thursday 19th April, "Nereida" finally came to rest in spectacular Hanavave Bay on the island of Fatu Hiva, in the Marquesas - the scenery was truly awesome with enormously high sharp mountain peaks (edges of 3 craters) very close and the land dropping almost vertically down to the small village at the head of the bay. The hillside close by has many coconut palms and is very green. Occasionally, I hear goats calling and beautiful birdsong, in between the sound of the surf breaking onto the rocks edging the bay. The rocks are volcanic black and there is a perpetual dark grey cloud sweeping towards the bay from the mountains - with frequent heavy showers as a result!

I had a really good sleep for a few hours and then found a local outrigger canoe nearby with a woman who was offering a local meal that evening to the boats in the bay (there were about 8, mainly European arrived from Panama/Galapagos).  I thought that sounded like an excellent way to celebrate my landfall so accepted - but none of the others were interested so, in the event, it didn't happen, but  it enabled me to be taken ashore without inflating my dinghy!! She (Andrea) then proceeded to take me on a tour of the village, very green & full of  fruit trees with just one shop where I was able to change US dollars into French Polynesian francs - BIG coins and paper money just like the old French before Euros.  80francs to 1 US dollar and everything very expensive as well means that whatever you buy, the amount is very large!

Friday 20th:  Decided to stay and relax in these dramatic surroundings.  But I also had to fix the windlass - it would not drop ground tackle when free-running under gravity due to salt crystals and corrosion.  Making use of water, and the  judicious use of a hammer, I gave it a good clean & service - it's running freely now.

Saturday 21st: Problem with gas solenoid cut-off switch for propane from gas tanks - could not cook!  I went to make a mug of tea to reward myself after cleaning and tidying up after the passage - no gas.  I had to remove the solenoid completely - there was a lot of water inside it so it's hardly surprising it gave up! I've no spare but at least I can cook now.

Did a few other minor jobs - a workday in (very rainy) Paradise!

That evening, a fisherman came by the boat .  I exchanged tuna (I made ceviche) + four enormous grapefruit for a small bottle of whisky!

Sunday 22nd: Had a lovely 45 NM beam reach to Atuona on Hiva Oa (Paul Gaugin's village). Celebratory evening with 'Jade' & 'Wyntersea' - first time we'd met up since Manzanillo in Mexico!

Please bear with me, updates may be sporadic until communication issues resolved!

Despite many attempts to connect & send or receive emails by radio - no joy...  Very occasionally, I'd get Sailmail (not Winlink) 'connection' - painfully slow due to poor signal strength. If connected, downloads are impressively fast! Only one station I find I can connect with - at San Luis Obispo.

Came up with 'ploy' to get Winlink position report uploaded via friendly PMBO (Winlink Station) - I'm hoping that's working OK. Uses satellite email (Inmarsat-C) which costs, so messages kept short & abbreviated!

Both days have been very pleasant, with Nereida sailing at quite good speed (5 - 6 knots) under blue skies with little clouds, mainly on beam reach in E winds, occasionally close-hauled when wind veered ESE.  Grey clouds disappeared, although I saw some lightning in clouds on the far W horizon on Tuesday evening around sunset - luckily, they kept well away!

The Equatorial current has kept up: 0.3-1.0 kn. Lovely to have such a consistent 'push' for such a long time!

Still have fresh fruit & vegetables - & a grapefruit I'm keeping for celebrating when I make landfall in Hanavave Bay on Fatu Hiva - Thursday a.m. in daylight, if I keep up my present speed.

Tues 1800GMT: 06 36'S, 136 11'W. 108mls by log (133ml actual). Distance to go to Fatu Hiva: 268ml.

Wed 1800GMT: 08 32'S, 137 26'W. 116mls run by log (138ml actual). Dist to go to Fatu Hiva:130ml.

Sunday
A day of no wind, or too much wind, rain, big grey clouds, squalls, blue skies ... a real mix! Kept me busy! And often wet! Wind was all over the place - but always in the 'East quadrant' I even poled out the genoa in light winds this morning, only to find we were, by the time I'd finished, on a beam reach... grrr!!!
After sunset, we finally escaped from the belt of bad weather & have been sailing closehauled, beautifully fast, ever since.

Been busy finalizing my passage plan to & beyond Australia in detail - weather permitting!

1800GMT position: 02deg 50'S, 133deg 32'W Just 88mls run by log (actually 113ml over the ground) - too little wind! Distance to go to Fatu Hiva: 544ml.

Monday
More grey clouds, rain & strong winds. Had a fast, close-hauled ride overnight, with reefed main, putting in a 2nd reef during this morning when winds went up to around 25kn & gusting - we've been making excellent speed! And that lovely Equatorial current is still doing its bit, helping us along often by over 1.5 kn!
Now (3.35pm PDT), the wind has backed to the NE & we're running goose-winged under white clouds. So much for the 'SE Trades'!!
And now (6.20pm PDT) - pole has had to be taken down - wind veered to E and we're on a beam reach.... it's all go!!

1800GMT position: 04deg 47'S, 135deg 08'W Just 114mls run by log (actually 143ml over the ground). Distance to go to Fatu Hiva: 400ml. (ETA Thursday?)

I thought wind was becoming more consistent, it being very light this morning when we started sailing again, an hour after sunrise, then gradually filling in so that by mid-afternoon we were beam-reaching at around 4-4.5 knots, with the current helping again, ending up doing ~5.5kn over the ground. But later on it went E-ENE (abaft the beam) 8-10 knots - so this evening we've been struggling to make 3kn boatspeed, ~4knots SOG. The SE swell is not too bad so life on board is generally very pleasant, except when we've little boatspeed and then we get knocked about by the swell which is on the beam (our course is 215T) and the sails flap like mad.

Sailing along at these slow speeds is certainly conducive to a relaxed mental attitude: nothing you can do about it - shrug your shoulders and just wait for the wind to increase - if it will! "We're going in the right direction - we'll get there when we get there," is the kind of comment heard on the radio from one boat to another!!

Beautifully clear, starry night sky - Milky Way so very clear and the occasional shooting star.

I'm spending way too much time, morning & afternoon, trying to connect to Winlink/Sailmail - think I'll have to cut down on my efforts and make a big connection effort every two days instead! I've had no proper connection to Winlink since 6th April - I presume my radio transmit problem is at least partly to blame.

1800 GMT position: 01deg 18'S, 132deg 25'W . 24hr distance run by log: 96 n.ml.!! (110 ml over the ground) Distance to Fatu Hiva anchorage: 667 n.ml.

"Nereida" crossed into the S hemisphere today - HOT sun, calm sea, clear sky... & hardly a breath of wind - the Doldrums! So motor plus sails most of the day... couldn't even drift over the equator around 1.30pm PST - too light a wind from 'abaft the beam'.
A lovely, relaxing day to remember - I had a refreshing, long shower on deck & we had a little 'party' lunch/tea - and, yes, even Neptune/Poseidon had his share of 'champers' - as a true nereid, we could not but take care of him...!
Eventually turned off the motor as 11kn of NE wind came up after midnight - but have now (Sat 0530 PST) had to turn it on again .... boat doing well under 2kn!.. Oh well, back to sleep for an hour or so... At least current is fair again just now!

Friday 1800 GMT position: 00deg 15'N; 131deg 27'W . 24hr distance run by log: 92 n.ml.!! (Actually only 83 ml over ground - unhelpful Equatorial current at times.)

Wednesday
Excellent sailing overnight - sometimes we go so smoothly through the water, there's almost no noise to be heard down below & it feels as though we've stopped moving - but in fact we're moving fast - 'creaming' through the water, beautifully balanced. "Nereida" had 'found her groove', as they say....! Increasingly less wind as the day wore on - the good side to that was the lessening seas.
Great excitement at noon when I heard blowing noises from astern - a WHALE!! I managed to get a couple of photos but at that time we were moving so slowly (about 3.5 kn) that it cruised by us & on in a short time, coming up just occasionally to breathe.
More passage planning over the calm afternoon, continually sidetracked with looking at the wind direction - firmly staying NE... but getting lighter & lighter. With a good current helping our speed over the ground, I was trying hard not to start the motor, but by the time the boatspeed was consistently down around 1-2 knots, I reckoned it was either time to 'kill the horses' ... or to start the 'iron horse'.....
Unfortunately, the iron horse didn't want to know, initially - not a peep... so it was down to the engine compartment, long screwdriver in hand yet again (doesn't this all sound so very familiar...???). It took a bit of effort to get the starter motor to turn the engine, but finally it came to life, just as I was beginning to think I'd have to find my spare starter motor to replace it.
Arrival at the Equator is difficult to judge - sometime Friday, hopefully! We're moving gently through the calm sea, still with the fair Equatorial current helping us along - so nice not to have a foul current for once!!

Wednesday 1800 GMT position: 02deg 55'N; 129deg 28'W . 24hr distance run by log: 105 n.ml. (Actually 126 ml over ground - that lovely Equatorial current...)

Thursday
Sailing slower & slower. Got into SE trades, finally, just before sunrise... but they're very light: ~10-12kn. I turned off the motor, pulled in the sails & set the Windpilot - the wind is almost 'dead on the nose' & we're not quite making our preferred course.
1600 PDT Well, it's always nice to lose the engine noise, but I may soon have to start it up again - we're presently only making ~2 knots through the water and the same over the ground (no more 'push' from the current).... getting a bit too slow - wind is down to 7knots (SE3). I'll have a mug of tea in peace & quiet & consider my options...!

Thursday 1800 GMT position: 01deg 23'N; 130deg 37'W . 24hr distance run by log: 95 n.ml.!! (Actually 115 ml over ground - helpful Equatorial current still...)

PS No Winlink connection since 6th April - lots of position reports now waiting to be uploaded...

Monday

Very disturbed night Sunday night - worrying about possible squalls coming our way, so constantly up on deck in the rain to check sails & wind direction. Way under-powered and going slowly as a result but I wasn't inclined to let reefs out overnight - in pitch blackness with overcast skies and no moon in sight...
However, come morning, it was a different story. I'd been considering when I should change direction to head south through the ITCZ to cross it as fast as possible but trying to balance that against keeping the best possible wind for as long as would be of benefit. The grib files (showing weather) downloaded via Sailmail seemed to indicate now might be a good time, so when I heard a nearby boat 'Lorna' report in to the morning radio net that they had just crossed over in only 60mls & were now under blue skies in SE winds - that decided me! Out came all reefs & we changed course to head almost due south most of the day - occasionally altering slightly to try to avoid heavy rain dead ahead. Wind was excellent at around NE 15-20knots so we made good speed under full sail with the wind reducing over the afternoon. Unfortunately, heading south meant losing the advantageous current - we lost easily a knot at one point.
Swell has continued to be pretty bad - big, & rather confused because of a weather system off to the SW. Only one small squall in the early afternoon - wind backed into the NW suddenly and then slowly veered into the NNE, staying there for quite some time.
Although I saw patches of blue sky ahead at times this afternoon, by night time, there was total overcast. All the nicer a surprise when I came up on deck later, after checking in to the Pacific Seafarers Net at 7.35pm PST (local time), to find STARS visible overhead - maybe we're through...?? It certainly feels a lot calmer but wind is still very definitely in the NE.
One amusing incident - went to open main hatch in the rainy darkness last night - it just wouldn't budge more than a centimetre, however much I tried- I was trapped down below...! Was just about to remove screws holding washboard lock when it suddenly dawned on me that there was nothing to stop me from climbing out of the aft cabin hatch!! Turned out to be some rope jammed in the way of the main hatch moving - an easy fix... - I had to laugh...

Monday 1800 GMT position: 06deg 19'N; 127deg 23'W . 24hr distance run by log: 114 n.ml. (actually 108 ml over ground - some opposing current part of the time) Good speed during morning made up for very slow night.

Tuesday

Couldn't make Sailmail connection last night or this morning (nor Winlink, for several days again, so no Position Reports posted...) so a combined 2-day log...

As indicated by clear skies last night - we're out of the ITCZ. Had a beautiful morning of tradewind sailing - admittedly in NE still (in fact, several times went NNE!) - so went to the effort of poling out the genoa yet again, to port this time, and we were sailing along nicely for all of 5hrs until wind veered sufficiently for me to have to take pole down again and take the genoa over to starboard - no longer able to be goosewinged. Reason was probably the rainclouds around - we somehow managed to avoid getting wet. I'm still waiting for the wind to shift gradually into the east - the direction of the SE trades at this moment in time. Light winds are predicted for several days (around only 10knots) so we shan't be moving very fast - but at least we're on our rhumbline course now... ETA next Thursday morning possibly.

Spent more time reading up on destinations and looking at possible courses - there are several long passages between island groups to be taken into consideration for passage planning to Australia by mid-July.

On the food side, I still have plenty of fresh apples/oranges/tomatoes/cucumbers/cabbage etc, although had to throw a lot of cabbage overboard - storing in plastic is definitely NOT to be recommended!! The one left out in the open is fine. Had my last quesadillas today for lunch - no more tortillas,...pity!! But lots of cheese left. I must try to find a recipe for tortillas - they look as though they should be really simple to make. I may make some bread in a day or so - it rises so easily in 30C ambient temp.

6pm PDT: Will try to connect in to see if I can send this, before eating. Lovely blue sky ahead, dark grey rainclouds off to starboard...!

Tuesday 1800 GMT position: 04deg 35'N; 128deg 11'W . 24hr distance run by log: 121 n.ml. (actually 114 ml over ground - current partly with & partly against. Presently fair.)

Earlier today, I was ambling along nicely in the sun, hoping my planning of ITCZ avoidance/minimizing would continue to work out as it has for the last two days... I even thought of putting up the 'chute.
My radio problems are still there, unfortunately - other boats have problems hearing me. I'm only managing a Sailmail connection with San Luis Obispo (N. of Pt. Conception) - occasionally with Panama. The only Winlink station I can ever connect in with is near Austin, Texas - but from the map, that's not so far as the 'crow flies'...! And that only happens around sunrise/sunset times.... Oh, well...!

Well, I'm now well & truly into the ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone: where the Northern hemisphere NE Trades meet the Southern hemisphere SE Trades, often forming the Doldrums - NO wind) .... Light grey overcast started at 2pm PDT, by 4pm it was really humid, with dark grey clouds in sight to S and by 5pm we'd been hit by a sudden SE squall. I had to reef hurriedly and gybe the main (which had backed & was being held by the preventer ...) It's still raining but not so hard & the wind is ESE - E - ENE (varying somewhat but definitely not NE) -so I've changed course slightly to stay on port tack - if we get another squall, at least that will be OK!
In true British tradition, I'm having a mug of tea while I consider whether to let out a reef or not!
Of course, for the second time this passage, I got my shower with all that rain but not in the way I'd intended..!! And a full mug of coffee came shooting across towards the chart table where I was sitting later when we got bashed by a bit of swell - that took some time to clear up.....

Hope you all have a good Easter holiday!

1800 GMT position: 07deg 14' N; 125deg 10' W . 24hr distance run by log: 121 n.ml. (actually 130 ml over ground - still some useful current effect)

The good news is that I'm definitely over halfway - ETA in the Marquesas is 11 days' time, hopefully! Cause for celebration....

Each night, Venus is really bright in the west after sun sets - close to the Pleiades and not far from Taurus. Southern Cross is quite high above horizon now. Milky Way was very clear before moon rose later - moon is waning now, so rising later each night. Gets VERY dark before moonrise, especially if any cloud around..!

Laundry day today - doesn't take any time at all in 30C for things to dry on lifelines! Mainly needed to wash salt out of towels I'm sitting on - easy to get 'salt sores' otherwise.

Quite a lot of cloud today and swell has built up also (with constant wind direction).

Still getting a welcome 'push' from the Equatorial current, although not as strong as it was: boatspeed ~5-5.5 knots, SOG ~5.5-6kn, windspeed ~14kn (NE4). (Thought we were losing good current at one point earlier this afternoon - but still doing well.)

The morning radio 'Net' that 'Jade' organized is increasing in boat numbers as time goes on - 2 more boats joined in this morning, making a total of eight regulars ('Jade'(Dutch), 'Wyntersea'(UK/USA), 'Croq de Pomme'(French), 'Nereida'(UK!), 'Seascape'(Canada), 'Lorna'(Canada), and now 'Adio' (German), 'Sand Dollar' (USA?), with 'Splinters Apprentice' and 'Reflections', both friends of mine from UK, now in the Galapagos before crossing to the Marquesas, joining in very occasionally). 'Seascape' is headed to Guatemala & crossing the Tihuantepec today, 'Croq' is about to leave the Sea of Cortez for the Marquesas, and the rest of us are all on passage to the Marquesas now.

Another pleasant, relaxed afternoon of reading & sleeping (catching up on disturbed night's sleep, as usual!), with the occasional adjustment of 'Hermann', the Windpilot.

1800 GMT position: 07deg 56' N; 123deg 48' W . 24hr distance run by log: 127 n.ml. (actually 148 ml over ground - current effect good still!)

Lovely day today - perfect Trade winds sailing...!! Having to keep out of the sun - very hot (32C)! Just 3 baby flying fish to clear from decks this morning.
Read a lot - VERY relaxed, just sitting in companionway, keeping out of sun, in a nice breeze, mug of tea at tea-time....
Wind has dropped just a little over afternoon - now down to ~13kn, boatspeed ~5.4kn, SOG 6.7kn - can't complain at that!

Forgot to put yesterday's distance etc:
Thursday: 1800 GMT position: 09deg 19' N; 119deg 05' W . 24hr distance run by log: 117 n.ml. (actually 125 ml over ground)

Today's (Friday) 1800 GMT position: 08deg 42' N; 121deg 25' W . 24hr distance run by log: 124 n.ml. (actually 144 ml over ground)

Can see effect of current on distance made over ground on both days! Excellent!

Soon after sunset yesterday (Wed), dolphins came by just before it got really dark - they played around & jumped over the waves for a bit.

Only putting fridge on 2-3 (short) times daily - has helped enormously with far less need for charging with generator - just keeping things cool inside. Had curry again tonight. Might get 3rd portion tomorrow - heated it up really well in hope it might last another day...

Still no joy at all with Winlink- my signal must be too weak for good connection. (Wow! - actually managed to send last 4 days' Posn. Reports just now...!) Think the only reason I'm getting into Sailmail is their set-up must be stronger - takes no time at all to download from them, but an age to upload my emails... I often spend ages with an incompleted 'terminated' connection ... very frustrating & time-consuming.

Sat in cockpit later last night - beautiful moon - path of silver across sea to 'Nereida'.

Thursday

Quite a few showers overnight and during morning, but no squalls!

Still no Winlink connection.....

Changed course just after noon, trying to keep better wind while making more westing & (hopefully) get less ITCZ problems by crossing further W. According to grib files, lighter winds will be to S of this course over next few days. Had to change pole & genoa over (all took an age, as usual!),

Slept, read, had coffee/tea/water/juice (not mixed!), now about to try Winlink again (1750 PDT) - if no joy, will try Sailmail.... Sky clear again, sailing nicely with well over a knot of Equatorial Current helping us along - excellent!

1915UTC (1215 PDT)
With a following wind of ENE 10kn - and a course of about 245T (almost WSW), boatspeed is only around 4knots. We're not exactly going to break any speed records on this passage!! The first boats to leave early for the Marquesas from Puerta Vallarta (Mexico) have had good winds (around 20kn) and have just arrived.

Spent ages this morning finally switching the pole from starboard to port side - so now we're goosewinged again (as we should have been yesterday... Inner forestay has added another little step to the process!) Makes the boat far more stable laterally, so windsteering should cope better - it has been sending us off course regularly for the last day & overnight so we're slightly south of our intended course. On a long passage like this, that really doesn't matter a great deal.

I now have 3 days of Position Reports (including today's) waiting for a connection to Winlink. Unless some kind person can send me an email address for sending reports direct to Shiptrak or to the Winlink website page via my Sailmail address - which has been working occasionally - they'll have to wait for whenever I get through to Winlink finally.... My last few daily logs have been kindly posted for me by Bryan & Mike of 'Nightwinds' who have now enabled me to post direct via Sailmail, assuming that connection can continue to be made every so often.... The further from land I sail, the more difficult the connections are - until I get closer to stations in N.Z. &/or Australia, or solve my transmission problem (unlikely at sea!).

Having a 'fruit' day today, with lovely papaya (paw-paw) and orange - need to keep a constant eye on my fresh fruit and veg now they are all getting very ripe, to use them rather than lose them!!

Interesting - I looked in my logbook for Nereida's furthest west position to date. On the way up to Alaska from Kauai last year, I was almost at 163W, skirting around the N. Pacific High. My landfall in the Marquesas will only be at about 139W. Not until I get to Suvarov, between Bora-Bora and Samoa, will I have sailed further west.

1800 GMT position: 10deg 29' N; 117deg 19' W . 24hr distance run by log: 100 n.ml.

Wind light most of the day - very pleasant & relaxed.  Sunny with some cloud but not a lot. No rainsqualls! Just mainsail & genoa.
Another day of ambling along - mostly at a mere 3-4 knots.

Saw a white-tailed tropic bird several times today & yesterday - I wonder if it nests in Kauai/Hawaii...?

Been looking over Pacific charts in more detail & checking over possible route from Marquesas to Australia -lots of possibilities
but will stay very flexible!

Also gradually getting around to having a look at radio connections, especially ground leads - means a lot of 'digging' for access
- so taking my time.  Am being heard, but not as well as I should be.  And Winlink connections have been impossible yesterday and
up to this evening - will see what happens when I try to send this...  

Finished last of fresh meat for dinner tonight - made a curry with last aubergine & courgette.

Lovely moonrise over fairly calm sea....

1800 GMT position: 11deg 18' N; 115deg 57' W .  24hr distance run by log: 126 n.ml.  (due to good wind yesterday afternoon & evening!)


SundayWas promising myself a shower today - visions of sitting on hot deck, taking my time....  well, I got a shower OK - a heavy rainshower not long before sunset!!Saw
grey clouds but didn't heed warning until too late - had genoa on pole for far too long, and when wind backed madly I had to act in a hurry - in heavy rain!! Course
went from 245 to 180 as wind backed to WNW from NE.. had some work to do to sort everything out, ending on a close reach for quite a time! Got quite cold in wind.
Good news is it washed boat off.

Overnight

Kept being woken up by genoa flapping - tried to convince myself it could wait until daylight, but by 2am just had to act - put pole up again - peace & quiet at
last! At least full moon through thin cloud made it almost like daytime!! Big swell kept coming through now & then - disturbed night..

Mon morningWas heard by 'Jade' at sunrise (1320 GMT) on SSB - for first time well enough to chat.  'Wyntersea' are NE of me, within VHF range (~15mls apart) - saves SSB power!

According to Don A., the good 20-25 kn NE Trades have given way to 15kn for foreseeable future, & Doldrums are beginning to develop E of 130W, between 5-10N, which
is reason why I shall keep heading towards 5N,130W for time being

3p.m.Finally got cruising 'chute up - speed had been up & down around 4kn - now nearer 5kn - is it worth it, I ask myself??!! Probably is, if it stays up long enough....
Hot afternoon... just had a nap.
(5pm: Actually - speed up to around 6knots - so worth putting up the 'chute!)

7.15pm (0115 GMT)  Think I should change my 'local' time... sun is not anywhere near horizon yet... will wait a bit longer.  'Chute flying well, but raincloud on
horizon off to port - changed course to try to stay well clear of it - will keep a good eye on it - maybe will need to take down 'chute for overnight...
8pm  Yes - decided to take 'chute down - got difficult - wind was up & big grey clouds all over horizon ahead...!

Noontime position (1800GMT): 11deg 54' N; 114deg 02' W .  24hr distance run by log: 118 n.ml.


Saturday

Wind was VERY light all morning - I'd poled out the genoa to weather again & was sitting having a lovely mango after lunch, as a reward for having changed the generator oil that morning, when it suddenly occurred to me that just accepting a boatspeed of 2-3 knots really wasn't good enough.... I should do something more! So I got out the cruising chute (being on a run) & ages later we were going along nicely - at 5 knots, with the wind having increased a bit. It continued up over the afternoon, but
eventually backed into the north - so down came the pole and the spinnaker - we were broad-reaching, and continued so in the usual overnight lighter wind. Lots of cumulus around at sunset.

Contacted the Pacific Seafarers Net at 0325GMT - one of them actually heard me on the radio trying to check in..!! As a single-hander, I'll be first on the roll-call in future. Find that around sunrise and sunset seem to be good times to try to make radio email contact on 18 or 21 Mhz- still often difficult, if not well nigh impossible, though.... bad time in sunspot cycle isn't helping.

Beautiful full moon...

Noontime position (1800GMT): 13deg 27' N; 110deg 46' W . 24hr distance run by log: 111 n.ml.

Sunday

'Wyntersea' managed to hear me this morning & get my position - they are only about 45 mls away to the N and 'Jade' about 90mls to the NW. I'm hearing everyone else perfectly....

Light winds again - poled out the genoa and we're almost on a dead run downwind, going at about 4-5knots. Wind still only NNE, around 10 knots at best - either the NE Trades are light or they're being elusive!! Boatspeed well down, most of the time, making for very poor daily runs. Seems to pick up a little usually, in the afternoon, & then die down again overnight

Spending some time reading while sitting out in the cockpit - keeping out of the sun!

Seeing more gannets regularly, as well as the occasional dark petrel (white-rumped - Leach's?) and shearwater. A good-sized flying fish presented itself for a bit of a Sunday meal.

Light overcast most of the day. Air temp around 30C - very pleasant! Swell fairly small (around 1m) Every now & then, a larger wave comes through & knocks us about - but not too bad.

Noontime position (1800GMT): 12deg 43' N; 112deg 27' W . 24hr distance run by log: 103 n.ml.

Can't understand why I can't make myself heard to 'Jade' and 'Wyntersea'who are also headed to the Marquesas (they left from Manzanillo, Mon & Tues respectively) who arranged to keep in contact on a radio 'net' each morning. I can hear them as clear as a bell, but they can't hear me - and yet my signal, I've been told, is strong & I'm getting out to Winlink & Sailmail regularly - puzzling. 'Skip zone'..?
OK - so I poled out the genoa to weather early, hoping the light wind was veering to NE from NNE - I should have known better than to tempt fate like that - the wind backed, into the north - so down came the pole - BUT the wind picked up nicely soon after midday so now we're humming along nicely on a beam reach again with Hermann, the Windpilot, steering...!!
All very relaxed on board - about to get down to some reading. Tea-time has become a regular feature - I'm glad I stocked up on biscuits! I sit sipping my tea, gazing at the sea & sky & watch the occasional boobies - sometimes a gannet. Also on the wildlife side, there's always the regular early morning job of clearing away the flying fish that have inevitably landed on deck overnight.
On the jobs front, I need to change the generator oil... but I have mended that broken live lead on the 12V connector. Meant getting out the soldering iron (I decided to use a fine-tipped butane-powered one) but all went quite smoothly - maybe I learned a little watching Ray Marchetta do so many soldered wire connections in San Diego where he helped me with my electrical problems..?

Noontime position (1800GMT): 14deg 12' N; 108deg 54' W . 24hr distance run by log: 111 n.ml.

Tuesday 27th March '07   Day 2   Communication difficulties....

I'm having great difficulty connecting in to Winlink to send & receive emails & weather faxes - it's just not happening, despite repeated efforts throughout the day & night. It means I cannot post Position Reports on the Winlink website. An alternative would be to post reports direct to Shiptrak & Yotreps (using my Sailmail backup - although that's not working too well either!) - but I'm not sure what email address to use for them. My other back-up of Inmarsat C has also decided to play up - I'm getting the message 'modem not seen', so the unit itself may be faulty - I need to investigate that further. And I'm still not seeing the Nobeltec World charts - despite a phonecall whilst in Zihuatanejo which supposedly resolved that...

Otherwise, everything is fine on board. The AIS alarm is working fine and there aren't too many big ships around so I'm able to get good periods of sleep in between keeping an eye on the wind conditions and sail-trim. The good W wind of last night has died down & become NW 10kn - so we're just ambling along at 4-5knots, not too far off our preferred course. Have had several groups of dolphins keeping us company from time to time - always nice to see them! One green bell pepper has already gone bad so I'm into cooking my usual ratatouille before any more go off.

Noontime position (1800GMT): 16deg 28' N; 103deg 34' W . Noon-to-noon distance run by log: 126 n.ml.

Wednesday 28th March '07 Day 3

Had several boobies fly around at sunset last night, hoping to roost in the rigging. One sat in the bow on the pulpit for quite a time but after it fell off abruptly onto the deck, with a big wave crashing unexpectedly into the boat, it finally gave up - was quite funny to see...

Restful night although, having set Windpilot into action to steer boat earlier, had to get up to adjust things a couple of times because wind veered into the north, as expected.

Ambling at around 5kn SOG. Can expect to get to the 20 kn NE Trades in 2-4 days, according to 'weather guru' Don Anderson who I spoke to on the SSB radio this morning. Sounds like a good run to the Marquesas - "No Doldrums, just a few squalls in the ITCZ, which isn't very wide", he says.... we'll see!

(Later) Feeling very relaxed. Have just spent some time over a mug of tea with plotting 1800 UTC (local noon) positions on both a chart of this portion of the Pacific and on a Universal plotting sheet - interesting exercise. Also looking over relevant charts and pilotage info for possible landfalls over next few weeks, once this passage is completed. Will clearly have lots of time to look at those in detail and also to read some of the many so-far-unread books and magazines on board!

7.15pm (sunset) Wind seems to be getting a touch lighter, but still sailing nicely - seas calmed down - just the odd bit of swell. About to have dinner while there;s\still some light!

Noontime position (1800GMT): 15deg 45' N; 105deg 29' W . 24hr distance run by log: 137 n.ml.


2pm Thursday 29Mar07 Day 4

Another gentle sailing day in bright sun - clouds beginning to line up along direction of wind which is presently just edging E of N, soon to become NE Trades. Picked up usual few flying fish on side-deck - tried giving one to resident young booby in bow but it took fright & flew off - temporarily.
Finished grapes mid-morning and fancied ham & tomato sandwich for lunch - bread was completely mouldy! May yet get into bread-making mode!! Made quesadillas with ham instead (while tortillas still OK in fridge!).
6pm Getting into mending mode - chart-table 12V connector has a broken live wire so need to deal with that & have also just replaced cockpit 12V outlet with new 
one.
Was sitting in cockpit enjoying afternoon mug of tea afterwards when we were suddenly surrounded by countless dolphins - many with small ones alongside - stayed for a good half hour & gave a great display!
Booby obviously got fed up with falling off his pulpit perch & has left - without too much mess to be cleaned up...

Noontime position (1800GMT): 14deg 57' N; 107deg 09' W . 24hr distance run by log: 117 n.ml.

Sunday 25th March07
The bay here is full of pelicans with quite a few boobies and skimmers also competing for the many fish. A booby seems to have adopted the water around 'Nereida' and regularly dives in right beside the hull for his prey. The pelicans are amusing to watch as they 'dive-bomb' with open bill to catch fish.
I got to bed very late in the wee hours of Sunday morning from 'El Canto de Las Sirenas', after enjoying a Mexican farewell by way of lots of great singing & playing by Jose Luis & others (including a great Cuban singer named Javier), so I was clearly in no fit state to deal with lifting & stowing of dinghy & outboard later that same morning, together with removing & stowing the awning & a few other miscellaneous items, ready to leave soon after midday, as previously tentatively planned. So a slight
change of plan seemed in order .... i.e. sleep until 1230(!), then do everything necessary - including a lengthy non-scheduled cleaning from the dinghy of Nereida's water-line to remove her 'green moustache. All to be done in relaxed mode, ready for early bed with a view to leaving for the Marquesas at first light tomorrow (Monday) morning - I feel far more comfortable with that plan and "Nereida" is better prepared to leave now!
Winds are forecast to be good once 50mls offshore - so I might have a reasonably fast passage (around three weeks, instead of four) with any luck. Time will tell... Keep an eye on my website: www.svnereida.com for updates!

4.30pm Monday 26th March: Well, as expected no useful wind for quite a time after leaving the anchorage, so motored and 'made' water and used SSB. (No contact made on each attempt to speak either to other boats who started out from Manzanillo this morning or to Barbara, VE7KLU, on the Great Northern Boaters Net, out of Sidney, B.C.) The speed/log impeller wasn't working when I left, but finally decided to behave around noon - JUST as I was about to make a log entry - good timing!! Now the wind has kicked in
nicely - but on the nose (W 17kn), so I've come off my intended course of 245T (making for a waypoint of 5N, 130W which should be vaguely around the ITCZ northern limit) to sail closehauled at around 6.5 kn on starboard tack.

8.30pm Beautiful halo around the moon overhead with stars around - a long distance from it & quite spectacular. Having a bumpy ride in WNW wind, decreased to 13kn, still on a close reach.

Sunday 25th March07   Day0: Slight change of plan - leave Zihuatanejo early Monday 26Mar07

The bay here is full of pelicans with quite a few boobies and skimmers also competing for the many fish. A booby seems to have adopted the water around 'Nereida' and regularly dives in right beside the hull for his prey. The pelicans are amusing to watch as they 'dive-bomb' with open bill to catch fish.
I got to bed very late in the wee hours of Sunday morning from 'El Canto de Las Sirenas', after enjoying a Mexican farewell by way of lots of great singing & playing by Jose Luis & others (including a great Cuban singer named Javier), so I was clearly in no fit state to deal with lifting & stowing of dinghy & outboard later that same morning, together with removing & stowing the awning & a few other miscellaneous items, ready to leave soon after midday, as previously tentatively planned. So a slight
change of plan seemed in order .... i.e. sleep until 1230(!), then do everything necessary - including a lengthy non-scheduled cleaning from the dinghy of Nereida's water-line to remove her 'green moustache. All to be done in relaxed mode, ready for early bed with a view to leaving for the Marquesas at first light tomorrow (Monday) morning - I feel far more comfortable with that plan and "Nereida" is better prepared to leave now!
Winds are forecast to be good once 50mls offshore - so I might have a reasonably fast passage (around three weeks, instead of four) with any luck. Time will tell... Keep an eye on my website: www.svnereida.com for updates!

4.30pm Monday 26th March  Day 1
Well, as expected no useful wind for quite a time after leaving the anchorage, so motored and 'made' water and used SSB. (No contact made on each attempt to speak either to other boats who started out from Manzanillo this morning or to Barbara, VE7KLU, on the Great Northern Boaters Net, out of Sidney, B.C.) The speed/log impeller wasn't working when I left, but finally decided to behave around noon - JUST as I was about to make a log entry - good timing!! Now the wind has kicked in
nicely - but on the nose (W 17kn), so I've come off my intended course of 245T (making for a waypoint of 5N, 130W which should be vaguely around the ITCZ northern limit) to sail closehauled at around 6.5 kn on starboard tack.

8.30pm
Beautiful halo around the moon overhead with stars around - a long distance from it & quite spectacular. Having a bumpy ride in WNW wind, decreased to 13kn, still on a close reach.

Wednesday 28th March '07`
Had several boobies fly around at sunset last night, hoping to roost in the rigging. One sat in the bow on the pulpit for quite a time but after it fell off abruptly onto the deck, with a big wave crashing unexpectedly into the boat, it finally gave up - was quite funny to see...

Restful night although, having set Windpilot into action to steer boat earlier, had to get up to adjust things a couple of times because wind veered into the north, as expected.

Ambling at around 5kn SOG. Can expect to get to the 20 kn NE Trades in 2-4 days, according to 'weather guru' Don Anderson who I spoke to on the SSB radio this morning. Sounds like a good run to the Marquesas - "No Doldrums, just a few squalls in the ITCZ, which isn't very wide", he says.... we'll see!

(Later) Feeling very relaxed. Have just spent some time over a mug of tea with plotting 1800 UTC (local noon) positions on both a chart of this portion of the Pacific and on a Universal plotting sheet - interesting exercise. Also looking over relevant charts and pilotage info for possible landfalls over next few weeks, once this passage is completed. Will clearly have lots of time to look at those in detail and also to read some of the many so-far-unread books and magazines on board!

7.15pm (sunset) Wind seems to be getting a touch lighter, but still sailing nicely - seas calmed down - just the odd bit of swell. About to have dinner while there;s\still some light!

Noontime position (1800GMT): 15deg 45' N; 105deg 29' W . 24hr distance run by log: 137 n.ml.



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