This morning on my watch I watched Smaug the dragon spitting out a long jet of flame: or at least that is what my imagination supplied from a big cloud caught in the rays of the rising sun. Our imaginations fill the quiet hours alone with all sorts of images in cloud formations. Later, Anne spoke with Feisty Lady, who we could see in the distance, on the VHF radio: they too are en route to Suvarov Atoll. It is rare to meet another yacht on passage but in this case we are on the same course and they are motoring so they leave us behind, ghosting along in a light SSE breeze.
We have had some rough weather since we left Bora Bora five days ago and are still appreciating the rest that these calm seas give us.
Francis is somewhere south and ahead of us and is experiencing lots of thunder storms: they must be on the edge of a convergence zone where all those southern fronts are meeting with this flow of air blowing more or less parallel with the equator. Finally, we too start the engine as the wind drops still more and even reddy cannot hold the wind. We need to recharge our batteries really well anyway after that long stay in Bora Bora.
We have had good sailing in 15 knots of NE winds but now it is calm seas and on with the engine. Seventy-five miles to go to Suvarov where Francis is now at anchor in the lagoon. They report a lovely uninhabited atoll and we can`t wait to get there. By evening we are only thirty miles off and will have to hang around off the entrance pass until morning. The cruising guide gives good directions but warns boats to get out if the wind really gets up as the waves will then break right across the encircling reef. Francis reports a wind shift.
Lowering the storm trys`l.
From the Journal.
The wind is down to the twenty knot range and the seas are ten feet or so -a swell up from the southern ocean, with wind waves on top. We are sailing at four and a half knots under forestays`l and trys`1. Still a rough ride. Bilge water has sloshed up under Anne`s bunk damping her mattress and bedding. We roll scuppers under on a regular basis.
Lovely sunny weather. These are reinforced trades; 15 to 25 knots, and are predicted to last for at least another two to three days, but they are keeping our course clear of the convergence zone which is a plus! Meals are difficult to prepare, steering is difficult, sleeping is difficult. Heather is dreaming of the camper we will buy to drive across Canada. Flat at all times, ( no more serving meals in lidded tupperware containers) a little fridge, maybe a bathtub?
Last night was a continuation of before: strong SE wind and big seas. I took the try s`l down at midnight - steering was getting difficult and Shiriri was slewing around on the tops of big breaking waves. Heather called me just before my 6am time - she was falling asleep standing up. Now at lunch time Anne
is baking soda bread, Heather is steering. I`ve just woken up from a nap. Supper tonight: green beans, beef slices in gravy on cous cous. Very nice!
Steady progress overnight. Easier wind and waves. At 2:30 a.m. a boat that had been coming up astern came alongside, swerved toward us and turned it`s spotlight on us. Anne called them up on the VHF in her fiercest navy voice "What vessel is that? What are your intentions?"And back came Lisa`s squeak "This is the Francis vessel." We had a good laugh; they were not attempting to board us after all but were just trying to see if was us. They had managed to get out of the lagoon and were on their way to American Samoa. For us, they were the "Francis Vessel" for ever more!