Bula Fiji- Day 16

Saturday May 1 and Sunday May 2, the entire weekend in one day!

Tomorrowland, we crossed the International Date Line, Day-16. Typically it would be 180.00 longitude but it does a bit of of a zigzag between islands so island groups will be in the same time zone. Samoa wanted to be part of the western pacific where American Samoa wanted to be on side the USA is, the Date Line run between them. For us, “tomorrow” will be at 172.45w. Saturday at 3:31pm, with the blink of an eye it was 2:31pm Sunday! 10:31pm Saturday Philadelphia time.

Three additional books I finished reading on this passage, “Well Girl” by Jamie Amerine. A spiritual self help book, not my kind of read. Also finished “Seeds of Hope” by Debbie Tremel, kind of Hunger Games meets QAnon. Two books I personally would not recommend. The third, “Blood in the Low Country” by Paul Attaway, this was a good story, I liked it. I won these Kindle books from Goodreads giveaways.

*Iridium Go Notes*

The International Date Line

Sun 2/May 14:28 GMT+12

17º 30.436 S 172º 44.616 W

Course: 275° true, 5.7 kts

We crossed the International Date Line. A different number on our calendars, yet in Universal Time, it’s just another moment that passed by.

Real nice sailing on Saturday, which is now Sunday. We sailed close-hauled to the north. Then the wind turned, coming from the southeast, and pointed us directly at Fiji on a close reach, All in 10-25 knots of fresh breeze.

There is high pressure weather system to the south. If the brunt of the wind makes it up to here, sailing may be a little rough for us in the next few days,

About 400 nautical miles to go!

Bula Fiji- Day 15

Friday April 30, 504 miles to go!

Not much wind today, 6 knots tops. Did some motor sailing and sailing.

For dinner I made Ancient Grains with roasted red peppers, peas, and salmon, tasty!

*Iridium Go Notes*

Pleasant Day in the Pacific

Fri 30/Apr 23:27 GMT-11

17º 59.447 S 172º 13.817 W

Course: 272° true, 0.8 kts

Mild breeze from the north on Friday. Motored some, sailed some, then motored some more. Stopped at midnight to wait-up for our buddy boat.

The current out here is amazing. When we stop, we drift back towards the southeast at 1.5 knots.

Lazy days… we are both doing a lot of reading.

Bula Fiji- Day 14

Thursday April 29, ahh the smell of baking bread in the morning!

6 knots of wind, rolling seas, cloudy skies, rain in the distance, 541 miles to go!

*Iridium Go Notes*

How we sleep, you ask?

Thu 29/Apr 23:27 GMT-11

17º 59.916 S 171º 28.537 W

Course: 272° true, 1.2 kts

We do night shifts. Around 6pm, Dan goes to sleep, most of the time he sleeps in the master cabin on the almost a queen size bed. The bed has a thick foam mattress, and in the waves it’s like sleeping on a trampoline. As a result, he sleeps with his arms and legs spread-out so he doesn’t get tossed off the bed.

At midnight, Marlene sleeps. While traveling she feels more secure sleeping on one of the couches in the salon. We have Lee Cloths on the couches that keep you from falling off.

Although less roomie Dan will sleep in the salon if it’s really wavy.

In very light winds, we slowly motored most of the day and night Thursday. At midnight we stopped since we were way ahead of our buddy boat.

Are we there yet?

Bula Fiji- Day 13

Wednesday April 28, Are we there yet? we switched our clocks one hour back today. We are on American Samoa time GMT-11. 4pm on the boat, it’s 11pm Philadelphia time.

*Sourdough Notes*

Started another Belle loaf started today, building the Levain. Mix, stretch and folds in the evening for baking on Thursday morning.

*Iridium Go Notes*

It’s Just Right

Wed 28/Apr 16:26 GMT-11

18º 02.846 S 170º 09.550 W

Course: 256° true, 4.6 kts

On Wednesday, except for one rain squall in the morning, sailing was just right. As a result, we made a lot of westward progress.

Less winds (6-8 knots) at night, so it’s a little slow. However, the waves have gone away!

The moon at 88% is very bright. It’ll be shining all night setting at 09:30am. Only the brightest stars are visible.

Ocean Sapphire is leading the way again.

Bula Fiji- Day 12

Tuesday April 27, Distance to Fiji 763 nautical miles

The wind is 15-20knots and we’re close reaching. The sails are both double reefed to keep the boat flat. Our buddy boat is 2 miles behind us.

Regarding the trough I mentioned on Day 9, our weather person had this to say: ”The leading edge of the trough is now at 170W and is now a broken line with active cells. Trough should continue to break up over the next 24 hours. While models are showing lighter winds, expect active cells. The trough line is also expected to flatten along a latitude of 20S which the following High pressure is being kept south of.” All is good.

For dinner I threw together a mixture of potatoes, cabbage and roasted red peppers, turned out pretty tasty.

Sailed through one short lived squall last night, highest winds 22knots with little rain. It looked much worse than it turned out to be.

*Iridium Go Notes*

Beware of Hitting the SEND Button

Tue 27/Apr 14:26 GMT-11

17º 40.859 S 168º 04.198 W

Course: 263° true, 5.9 kts

…and just as I hit the SEND button last night, the first of seven rain squalls arrived. Each had 18-23 knots of wind, which require reducing sail area, or changing course, or both. Then, the squall goes away leaving calmer winds, so you unroll the sails back out… and repeat. All in the middle of the night!

Things settled down when daylight arrived, and we continued to move fast towards Fiji in 13-16 knots of wind from the north.

In these close reaching conditions we, and s/v Ocean Sapphire, double reef sails. As a result we passed them, since they don’t have their big a$&@ mainsail all the way up and out… playing leap frog in the Pacific.

Bula Fiji- Day 11

Monday April 26, good morning wind! With the code sail up we’re cruising 7knots in an 12.5knots of breeze. When the wind shifted we took her down, only to have the halyard break, again for the fourth time! The sail had been laying on the deck, and halyard attached just before raising. The halyard was in good condition. Last time we took it down we noticed the code sails halyard’s outer rope cover was stripped off only the core remaining, when we raised it, the sail was on the spinnaker halyard. Something always happens when this sail is up, the high maintenance NorthSails code sail. The sail is great when up but the Harken furling mechanism is still not right! It may just get turned into an expensive awning!

Just as my watch had ended and I was getting ready for bed, the wind picked up with rain. There were several squalls throughout the night, with gusts in the low to mid 20’s. Needless to say I didn’t sleep very well. Dan got a workout constantly adjusting the sails, but he likes to do that!

*Iridium Go Notes*

A Good Start to the Week

Mon 26/Apr 22:26 GMT-11

17º 44.186 S 166º 29.576 W

Course: 279° true, 5.5 kts

Indeed, early Monday morning the wind began to blow from the northeast and has been a steady breeze for over 18 hours now. Maybe we’ll get to Fiji after all!

Our buddy boat s/v Ocean Sapphire, a 46’ catamaran really flies in these conditions (a little behind beam reaching with 10-13 knots of wind, calm seas), and they are out of sight ahead of us. Eventually we’ll catch-up.

Because of the full moon, the overcast sky is soo bright you’d think we’re in Alaska.

Bula Fiji- Day 10

Sunday April 25, Overnight lying ahull, we drifted back about 7 miles East. Come morning we slowly regained our loss of miles.

Blueberry pancakes for breakfast!

Dan worked on water maker, he added epoxy to the cracked end fitting, hope this will be a temporary solution till we can find a replacement part.

Drifting slowly west, wind has been less than 4 knots all day.

*Iridium Go Notes*

I’ve never seen the sea this calm

Sun 25/Apr 23:09 GMT-10

17º 57.579 S 165º 00.265 W

Course: 328° true, 0.3kts

Lately we’ve been having blueberry pancakes every Sunday, and this Sunday was no exception. We found dehydrated blueberries, Kirkland brand, that taste real good.

We sailed briefly, but gave up in the light shifty winds. So we rolled-up the sails and are drifting through the night. Wind is expected tomorrow, which is Monday.

I’ve never seen the sea this calm.

Bula Fiji- Day 9

Saturday April 24, with less than 3 knots of wind, we dropped the sails and are just bobbing in place. Later the wind picked up to a screaming 4 knots and we rolled out the sails and started moving west again.

We’ve heard there is a low trough that could form over Fiji in the next couple of days. This is not good as it could develop into a cyclone. We’ll just wait here possibly run north towards American Samoa if there are signs of development. Technically there are 7 days left in cyclone season here.

Dan is working on propeller shaft, replacing a broken clamp. All better now. Then started we up the water maker, only to find a leak on the end cap. We’ll have to find a new one when we get to Fiji or have one shipped to us. That should process should be much better than in French Polynesia, as their borders were closed.

*Sourdough Notes*

It’s been over two weeks since I last baked bread. Last night I started the Levain, mixed in the morning, baked mid afternoon.

I start my watch at 6pm and it lasts till midnight. There is absolutely no wind but occasional gently rolling waves causing us to meander in circles. The sails are rolled up, again bobbing in place. Our buddy boat is about a mile away, their masthead light is visible. If we were alone, I’m sure we’d be motor sailing through the night. So here we sit, 18.00S, 164.47W in the placid Pacific Ocean, a clear moonlit night with no wind, lying ahull. Dan is below napping, I’ve started reading another book.

*Iridium Go Notes*

More on the Propeller Shaft Seal

Sun 25/Apr 00:09 GMT-10

18º 00.116 S 164º 46.135 W

Course: 90° true, 0.6 kts

Regarding a recent Sailing Trance Facebook post on repairing a leak with the dripless propeller shaft seal. As it turns-out, on the aft end of the propeller shaft seal one hose clamp was broken and the other was stripped. Today I replaced both hose clamps… now it’s drip dry!

Not much boat movement today. Little to no wind, so most of the time we just drifted around in the wrong direction.

Wind is expected to return by Tuesday.

Marlene made a loaf of sourdough bread!

Bula Fiji- Day 8

Friday April 23, Distance to Fiji 989 nautical miles

The day was spent adjusting and readjusting sail trim. With winds less than 8knots the entire day with rolling seas. We tried the spinnaker, it was a bit to choppy for it. Later we set the Main and Genoa on opposite tacks, or wing on wing, with the spinnaker pole. Then we jibbed. Dan re-ran the preventer lines, more than once adjusting the angle. A preventer is a rope attached to the end of the boom extending to the bow of the boat. It’s purpose is to prevent an accidental jibe of the boom.

I finished reading “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng. I like these kind of stories.

It was a calm night winds 10-12 knots. The night was brightly lit by the moon. We’re cruising at 5.5 to 6 knots with 13 knots of wind. Still hanging with s/v Ocean Sapphire. We talk with each frequently during the day like old friends.

The moon is very brilliant illuminating the ocean. It’s 86% waxing. Few constellation I know are visible. The Southern Cross is, did you you can tell time by it? It rises in the southern horizon on its side, rotating 90 degrees by midnight and is straight above like the sun at noon. It then slides rotating the other way and sets in the north.

*Iridium Go Notes*

Drifting in the Right Direction

Sat 24/Apr 01:08 GMT-10

17º 53.134 S 164º 28.284 W

Course: 241° true, 2.9 kts

It is difficult to call this sailing… the wind is down to less than 5 knots, but there are leftover waves, which disturb the air flow over the flopping sails. So we try to keep the boat drifting in the right direction. Luckily the ocean current is favorable here, otherwise we’d be drifting back to Tahiti.

Mostly clear sky with a bright moon tonight. Pleasant temperatures at night, but hot during the day, so we stay out of the Sun under the shade of the bimney.

Bula Fiji- Day 7

Thursday April 22, Distance to Fiji 1046 nautical miles

Crazy wind day! The sky is gray with tiny patches of blue. Winds are light,shifty with quick rain squalls. We’ve jibbed at least 5 times, had an over 100 degree wind shift. We are sitting above a high pressure system that’s moving away.

Good news! Our FedEx package arrived in Tahiti! We arranged with a few other cruisers to accept our package and bring it to Fiji with them. There are 3 boat’s we’ve friended, the boat leaving Tahiti first may bring the package. We’ve been waiting for it since February, so what’s another month.

*Iridium Go Notes*

(Only one post today)

Over the Top of Palmerston

Fri 23/Apr 00:09 GMT-10

17º 54.042 S  163º 00.382 W

Course: 283° true, 2.9 kts

We’re passing Palmerston Atoll now. In another time, we may have stoped for a few days. Yet in these COVID times, Palmerston islands are “closed”. Also, the Fiji Navy is watching us via this GPS tracking, to see if we stop anywhere, which will nullify our pre-passage COVID testing.

Late afternoon yesterday, the wind was very light and squirrelly due to various rain showers in the area. A few times, with the autopilot system following wind direction, the boat meandered around and pointed back toward Tahiti!

Now we are gliding along slowly at 3-4 knots with wind speed around 8 knots on a completely overcast night. A bright moon is above the clouds, which provides light for good visibility, but when the moon sets at 0341, complete darkness.

We drifted away from our buddy boat, s/v Ocean Sapphire, and lost their AIS (Automatic Identification System) signal at 8 miles apart. We jibed and expect to Come Together… like the Beatles do.