Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 1- Rough start, but underway

Time: 2200 Zulu (noon Hawaii time)
Position: 13-deg 30-min S 164-deg 47-min W
Wind: ESE16 Seas: ESE 7-ft
Avg. Course: 260-deg T
Avg. Speed: 4.5-knots
Rig: 80% jib
24-hr distance noon to noon: 100-nm
Distance to Apia: 407-nm

Our exit from the anchorage was a little bit more exciting than we had hoped. No, it was nothing to do with the pass, it was getting our anchor up when it was set below a boat that had shown up a few days previously and chosen to anchor a bit close to us. To make a long story short, we got the anchor up just fine and nothing was hurt, however, it was not done in the most stylish manner. There was a point at which we had to fend the other boat from T-boning Tao. We are lucky that Tao is light and allowed us to push her off the other boat, we are lucky Rocky did not get caught on any other coral or the other boats anchor chain upon retrieval, we are lucky that our Pandion neighbors enjoy diving and gave us the play-by-play where our anchor was from in the water, we are just plain lucky that the situation didn't turn more ugly than it did. What we learned was that it does not work for the boat anchored over an anchor waiting to be pulled to motor up toward its anchor- too many variables going on with where that boat is related to his anchor as well as ours... Looking back, we think it might have been better for the other boat to either (a) stay put and just fend us off as we move toward our anchor, (b) pull their anchor and reset after we were clear, or (c) anchor farther from us in the first place (Shawn's litmus is if you can speak to your neighbor on their boat from your boat in a normal voice, you're probably too close). Live and learn. No harm no foul.

We shook that off and motored out the pass retracing our track in. It was now low tide, so we saw shallower depths than on entrance (25-ft) and otherwise was as we surmised, outflowing at 2.5-knots even though it was an incoming tide. Nearing the exit we pulled up our 80% jib and shut Yannie off. As we sailed the outside edge of Suwarrow Atoll past Anchorage Island, we could see the masts of the boats still at anchor behind the reef that we had walked along. Downwind? What is that? Since Hawaii we have been sailing a beam reach. All of a sudden we realized we needed to re-run our sheets for true downwind work. It was a beautiful day to set sail- sunny with puffy white non-ominous clouds and 6-ft seas. It is nearly the New Moon, so we looked forward to great star watching. However as evening approached the clouds set in. Merely ominous looking for the first half of the night, when Chris came on watch it actually began to rain.

We decided not to take any motion sickness medications because we have each felt that they made us feel worse than better. For Shawn this has worked out, however, after the first 24-hrs Chris is nearly incapacitated by seasickness. The downwind motion has been less desirable (similar to our last leg to Hawaii) because of the amount of rolling we do without any mains'l up. He has been a rockstar, still continuing his watch schedule and dutifully scanning the horizon every 15-minutes whether he is leaning over the rail to vomit or not... Ominous clouds passed over us throughout the night and into the morning. When Shawn got up for her morning watch she found that Chris hadn't been able to go down below for our normal hourly condition/position reports or the weather download that is usually his task, and needed her help to navigate the computer for weather uploads and downloads before propagation disappeared. All of the forecasts have looked clear so this weather was surprising.

Daily, we have been downloading GRIBs, Fiji compiled data from Nadi (including their fleet report which plots the data), and NOAA data and spot reports with wind, waves, rain, surface pressure, and lift index. According to the NOAA report this morning, a new front has shown up just 100-nm ahead of us. Hopefully it will dissipate before we get there. We also got a weather fill from the Rag of the Air net this morning saying that all is clear, so we will keep our fingers crossed and continue on. The morning rain passed us by with a rainbow goodbye and the afternoon has been comparatively sunny though not clear. Unfortunately it looks like we may make landfall on a weekend (overtime charges) so we may attempt to drop the hook in a roadstead anchorage at a Samoan island named Tau along the way to time our arrival.

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