Thursday, 31 May 2012


I always anticipate the sunrise while at sea; perhaps because it is always the same but ever different. This morning the sun just happened to come up behind a distant towering cumulus cloud. The sun made the edges of the curving cloud glow at first and then two glowing orbs appeared, making the it appear like a possessed grinch who was tilting his head as he affixed you with a crazed stare.

We had a pleasant night with bright moon and puffy white clouds early on that gave way to three small squalls which left behind warmish soft tradewinds. The water temperature is 85!

Today will be bread baking day once again which will complement a left over, left over, sumptuous chili and beans.

At 5/30/2012 and 18:56 UTC (GMT) our position was: 04°21.46'S / 172°37.34'E.
We were traveling 173T degrees true at 3.9 knots.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Soft Breezes & Moonlight

It's a gorgeous night to be at sea. The moon is bright and stars fill the sky and the ENE breeze is soft. Far off to our SE we can see towering cumulus clouds - suggesting convection - but see no squalls close by or threatening. We have begun to head south now as the front emanating from cyclonic gale down south had moved a bit north and is bringing thunderstorms to our east. As I write this a weatherfax of the Pacific streamline analysis is coming through in the background; we are receiving these twice per day from Hawaii. These reports, which are specific to the tropics, give us the location of all the major systems - highs, lows, cyclonic lows, troughs, etc. - in the Pacific and show us lines of constant wind.

We just dodged the 803 Dong Won for the second time today. The nice thing about these long liners is they DO seem to run their AISes (which is more than we can say for the purse seiners) and that their movements are fairly predictable. Our AIS is about the simplest one you can buy but it gives us the data we need to accurately track and avoid larger vessels who are complying with regs and transmitting data. This is our first passage with this new instrument installed.

When we started our engine today to generate power, we noticed our raw water pump wasn't pumping water. We shut down, of course, and Philip tore down the system and found nothing of note but changed the V belt that drives it. This solved the problem. When we get to a well protected anchorage we plan to sand down (both) engine pulleys and apply some paint. We had a belt split and spew water on the engine when underway to Majuro and think that the pulleys are starting to rust and wear belts prematurely. Or so is the theory..

At 5/29/2012 and 11:38 UTC (GMT) our position was: 02°56.62'S / 172°51.72'E.
We were traveling 185T degrees true at 3.6 knots.

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Day 8 - Taking our time and watching the weather

It was a quiet night, despite dodging a container ship (that put out a great AIS signal) and a long liner fishing vessel (that apparently had his transponder turned off) and a couple of minor squalls. We've pulled in all of Carina's genoa and are running only stayail and triple reef so as to slow down to about 2 knots to wait on a stationary trough that's embedded in the SPCZ at about 08 S that's also spawning cyclonic lows. The trough emanates from a cyclonic gale between Nuie and the Southern Cooks that is VERY unusual for this time of year. If need be we'll heave-to or park. If that strategy doesn't work because of the SW setting current, we can retreat NE or even head for Tarawa until this thing clears out. We're not in a hurry.

At 5/27/2012 and 17:54 UTC (GMT) our position was: 01°33.38'S / 172°32.42'E.
We were traveling 135T degrees true at 2.5 knots.

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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Carina en route to the Solomons-day 7

At last, the day dawned sunny and dry (!) with a nice 10 knot ENE breeze and a one meter, gentle seaway. We're on a port-side beam reach (i.e., wind striking perpendicular to the left side of Carina) and we're skipping along at 5+ knots on a mostly southerly course. We crossed the equator (for the seventh time since we've been out cruising) at about 0130 this morning; Philip on watch to offer an incantation and gift over the side to King Neptune.

Our visibility seems almost unlimited although there is not much to see except the blue Pacific stretching out in every direction. This isolation is hard to believe unless you've been far offshore to experience it yourself. The rest of the world seems so detached from our current state.

Sea life has been minimal except for a pod of dolphins, a few boobies, tropicbirds and flying fish. On our first day out, a flying fish (possibly being chased by a mahi-mahi) flew aboard Carina, landed and slapped around in the cockpit sole. The noise aroused Jake and he came to investigate just as Philip was throwing it back overboard. Flying fish have a particularly pungent fishy smell and Jake's nose was twitching as he was trying to locate the animal. We never tire of seeing these animals blast out of the waves and glide for hundreds of feet before crashing back into the waves.

Such is our life on this 7th day at sea with "only" 760 miles left to go.

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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Neptune here we come

Most of today and last evening, it seemed like we'd never see the end to squalls and rain or ever make it to the equator. As darkness fell this evening, the clouds began to thin and we actually can see some stars above. The setting moon was a sight to see. A huge cantalope colored crooked smile that melted down towards out of the clouds and then slowly slid into the sea. It was one of those sights where at first you catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of your eye and your heart goes thump because you think it's a ship at close range.

It's just after midnight and Philip is sleeping but Jake is ready to boogie. This is the time of night he normally prowls but he's smart enough to know we are on passage, though that doesn't stop him from wanting to prowl.

At the speed we are going, we'll cross the equator around 0200 local. Too late to make a big deal of it, but we'll be sure to make some offering to Neptune since as sailors we are superstitious and hate to temp any fates.

At 5/26/2012 and 12:35 UTC (GMT) our position was: 00°05.10'N / 172°09.57'E.
We were traveling 186T degrees true at 3.6 knots.

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This morning, just 48 miles from the equator, our wind disappeared. It had been a subdued night of sailing filled with stars - great for sleeping - and we were able to continue south. This morning after a brief but torrential warm tropical rain, the wind simply died. Now we watch the horizon for a distant squall, hoping it'll breeze by and give us a push as we drift north (gasp) by west.

At 5/25/2012 and 22:02 UTC (GMT) our position was: 00°48.10'N / 171°57.53'E.
We were traveling 291T degrees true at 0.5 knots.

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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sailing west of Kiribati

After three days we've all adjusted to life at sea, despite three squally nights. This means that any of us - including Jake - can now sleep through sailing noises of squeaking rigging and waves slapping against the hull as the boat rockets up and down the sea swell.

In the interest of sleep and avoiding moments of terror, we're only running a small mainsail and staysail when a squall threatens. (We roll in the genoa.) We adopted this strategy because this is a period of little moon when the night is particularly black and also that some violent squalls we have had did not return dark radar returns and took us by surprise. This conservative strategy has allowed us to sail into squalls comfortably and for the watchman to be protected from the pelting rain by the dodger.

Boat life is normal, we're eating well and even baked our first bread of the passage.

At 5/24/2012 and 04:46 UTC (GMT) our position was: 03°17.56'N / 171°54.44'E.
We were traveling 142T degrees true at 5.7 knots.

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Well, it was a dark and stormy night but one which we flew through using mostly 160 ft2 of sail - a triple reefed main and the staysail. The squalls sometimes came at us at 15 minute intervals. When rain is pelting you in the face, the wind generator is screaming and the boat is bashing through the blackest of waves into the blackest of rain clouds, it's hard to imagine for a minute that squalls are good for the earth, but of course they are.

It's still cloudy this morning but winds are very light, seas are lumpy and we can see clouds in the distance dropping their payload on the sea. Here comes another one! Here's hoping the ITCZ receeds east once can always hope. ;-)

At 5/22/2012 and 18:32 UTC (GMT) our position was: 04°45.28'N / 171°33.33'E.
We were traveling 182T degrees true at 2.7 knots.

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Sunday, 13 May 2012

And you thought it was all umbrella drinks and sunshine

Dear Friends;

Today we:

a) varnished
b) spent 3 hours re-organizing paper charts
c) rummaged around Google Earth making chartlets of the poorly charted areas of the Solomon Islands
c) did engine maintenance - changing out a water "pipe" that had spewed seawater all over the engine compartment and chased down an air leak that made the auxiliary quit at the most inopportune times
d) went off to the only laundry still operating now that Majuro has officially run "out" of water.

Tomorrow, Monday, it's back to "work" spending money and boosting the economy as we stuff Carina a wee bit more full of provisions.

Now, if we still have waterline, we'll set sail...soon.

L & P and the fat cat J

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(no subject)

Hello all;

We are soon to be underway from Majuro, though the day we'd hoped to depart looks dubious, weatherwise. We'll play it by ear and let you all know.

L & P and the fat cat, J

At 5/13/2012 and 07:14 UTC (GMT) our position was: 07°06.50'N / 171°22.09'E.
We were traveling 239T degrees true at 0.0 knots.


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