Saturday, March 29, 2008


We are both tired tonight! Linda did not respond to the wakeup call for her 11PM watch so I let her sleep. She needed it. And then she came on and did the same for me. It seems to catch up to you in waves (no pun intended)! The fatigue that is! Tonight is very quiet, loping along at a good 6 knots or more, partly due to the N Equatorial current. The wind has been holding steady at 15 knots with gusts to 20 but it is about 4AM and the breeze is going light. Last night was exciting. Tarun,
our friends whom we had slowly been gaining on, were still about 75nm ahead of us and their HF radio had been working off and on for days now. They managed to get us a message through one of the radio nets to say the radio was unreliable and they were hove to (stopped more or less) and drifting due south at 2.3 knots on their longitude line. The plan was for us to catch up to them and travel within VHF radio range (about 20 nm) from then on. So I carried all canvas and Toketie fairly flew through
the night, sometimes hitting 7 knots, heading for where I calculated their position would be in 10 hours. Now it's a big ocean and you have to be within 3 or 4 miles to see another small boat so it was a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. But then, as long as we got within VHF range, we should be able to make contact. Just before daybreak, after an exhilarating night of sailing, we arrived at the DR (estimated) position and tried to raise them on the VHF. No response! That's strange.
I check my DR calculations a third time. Nothing wrong there! They should be close. Now what to do? We do not want to continue further West and pass them so we turn South on the same longitude they last reported and hope that they just drifted farther or faster than expected. Fairly stiff 18 knot breeze blowing but we gybed and moved the headsail pole over to the other side and reefed down to proceed due south along their last known course. After an hour we made radio contact. Brian had been
sleeping and their radio was turned off! They were 4 nm ahead of us. Not bad shooting for a 75 mile run in the dark. Reminded me of Aubrey's famous tour de force when he came up on the frenchie's tail after an all night chase!
Pizza for dinner tonight! Must say we eat well, thanks to the first mate! Chicken peanut satay sauce on rice last night. Turkey lasagne for a few nights before that! Oh well, I'll exercise when I get to French Polynesia. Speaking of which, it looks like we have chosen Fatu Hiva and the famous 'Bay of Virgins' for our first landing. It is not an official port of entry but one of the British boats that went last year sent us an email saying the local gendarme granted them four days their before
going to Hiva Oa and checking in.
And lastly but not leastly! Many Happy Returns to Phoebe who turns 22 tomorrow, and to my father who turns one year younger on the same day! Not to forget my dear older sister who remains forever young and celebrates it the day after! Happy Birthday Phoebe, Pat and dad! I will raise a glass of tang to you! Phoebe we miss having you on board! Mike...spoil her will you! Take care pops and love to mom!

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