Passage to Palmerston – part 3

During Monday 28 August the wind continued to ease to about 24 knots so we let out a bit more genoa. By 18.00 the wind had built again and we saw squalls of 30+ knots so reduced the sail once more. We had a casualty too – we had clipped the hand-held VHF on the binnacle so that we could save power by turning the main radio off at the panel. Power consumption is always a problem when all navigation equipment is on and the skies are grey. Anyway whilst reefing down Richard caught the radio with his shoulder and with a hop, skip and a jump it was lost overboard. It floated away and we waved it goodbye. There was no chance that we would have been able to find it in the large and confused seas so we accepted the loss. Damn! Richard did, however, offer to buy me a new one for Christmas…not sure that’s how it works LOL.
Overnight we were treated to large squalls to 35 knots and big seas with the motion on board increasingly uncomfortable so we both struggled to sleep off watch. Oh well..never mind…..
By the morning of Tuesday 29 August the wind had eased back to 20-25 knots so we let out more sail and quickly picked up our boat speed. It seemed strange to have been going so slowly in heavy weather but safety for both us and Morphie dictated our sail plan. Of course we could have screamed along but there is no room for manoeuvre when doing that….which definitely would not have been sensible in such a remote area. I think we have finally lost the racing mentality LOL.
In the afternoon the clouds cleared and the sun came through – hurrah! We were having a rollickingly good sail over the most beautiful deep blue seas although we were still getting the occasional thump from a rogue wave knocking us around. The seas remained big – about 12 feet – and they seemed confused at best. We had waves break over us on the port side and others breaking over the stern giving everything in the cockpit a lovely coating of sea salt. Reckon there is enough on board right now to harvest a pound or so LOL. Strangely, though, no flying fish or kamikaze squid on this run. We are constantly on the look out for whales – humpbacks give birth in this area each August and September – but sadly nothing seen yet.
By the time we entered our overnight shifts the clouds had rolled in again, there was rain in the air, and the winds and seas had increased significantly – perhaps 15 feet now. So we reefed down again in readiness for another challenging night ahead. The first watch wasn’t too bad and there was even a stormy sunset. But laying in my bunk later and everything was creaking and groaning when we tipped over a bit more than usual which sent a number of things crashing to the floor. Thankfully Morphie quickly righted herself and nothing was lost or broken. These conditions continued throughout the night and sleep was difficult to come by inside the washing machine action in the saloon. We are both a bit bruised here and there from tumbles in the cockpit but nothing serious thankfully. But I have a strong feeling we’re going to be a bit stiff tomorrow!
By 6.45 on Wednesday 30 August we were 15 miles away from Land Ho! This atoll is small so our rhumb line is a few miles away from it, however, we know it’s charted position is accurate as we have done a Google Earth comparison on it. Apparently when we are closer we will be met by a family member who will direct us to a mooring and will then become our host for the time we are here. Really looking forward to it. Fingers crossed they let us stay in these strong wind conditions.
Bye for now Jan