We have made 155 nautical miles over the past 24 hours on a course of roughly SW. All is well aboard. We are tired but slowly catching up on sleep. I was not able to sleep at all last night due to the conditions and very heavy slamming and pounding. Just as I would drift off to sleep another big wave would undoubtedly find its way under the bridgedeck and under my bunk to slam me back awake – frustrating. I was so tired after my night watch that once I hit the pillow again I was able to sleep for five hours. I feel much better now. The sea legs are coming back – should be good to go by tomorrow. Alyssa is also tired but is resting now. She worked so hard getting the boat ready for the trip. She was doing laundry, filling jerry jugs with diesel, provisioning at the market, dealing with the marina office, cleaning the boat, etc. She is understandably exhausted and hopefully now catching up on sleep.
Yesterday we motor sailed out of Fiji through the pass between legendary surfing hotspots Namotu and Tavarua. Luckily for us, the surf was down and we made it out without incident. We then turned the engines off and sailed close-hauled for the rest of the afternoon and evening. The wind was coming out of the south so we sailed more or less due east with a little south in it. Eventually the wind clocked SE and freshened into the high teens. The seas were much more confused and boisterous than we expected from that wind speed. We saw much lighting in the distance but it never overtook us. We were averaging 7 knots and the wind was 55-60 degrees off the port bow. In the middle of the night the motion got so violent that I came running up and told Alyssa “fall off, we have to fall off, we’re going to destroy the boat” so we put the wind 80 degrees off the port bow and it helped slow us a bit and keep us from launching off the wave crests. We also had a double reef in the main and half furled jib so that gives an idea of just how stiff the trades were blowing. It was bouncy and slamming all night so I kept my eyes closed, waking every 20 minutes or so to check radar, wind speed/direction, autopilot, etc. Quixotic took her licks and kept on charging south. She did a good job and we’re proud of her for seeing us through the uncomfortable night.
The wind and seas have calmed today. It’s now the afternoon and we’re making 7 knots towards New Zealand. Forecast is calling for a trough of 20-25 knots and squalls to the south of our position tonight. Hoping it doesn’t creep north and catch us. We will double reef tonight just in case it does. It looks like it moves off by this time tomorrow. Then it looks like light NE and N wind (spinnaker???) for a day or two before the high fills in and it blows out of the S, then SE. I will save some easting for when the wind turns S so I can ease off and use my easting coins to not bash so hard when the high arrives.
We used a lot of power last night with the radar running. We will plan to cycle the radar on and off to save power tonight. We’ll also turn the freezer off. I have the generator running now to top up the batteries. Not much solar with some overcast today. The good news is the generator is running great – I fixed it last minute before we departed Fiji; the fresh water circulation pump burned itself up and I used two broken pumps to make one working pump. I just hope it holds until we arrive in NZ where another one is being sent.
Alyssa wants to say a big thank you to Rich and Charlie at CruiseRO watermakers. They came in huge helping us fix our broken watermaker while we were in Fiji. She enjoyed her shower yesterday and when it calms down in a day or two I plan to fire up the watermaker and top off the tank again – ensuring the Mermaid stays in good spirits. I also plan to write an update on our watermaker saga while in NZ. We have it almost sorted but the TDS readings are still a bit high so we may have to replace a membrane or two. More on that later…
Well, that’s the update from the good ship Quixotic and her crew. Keep that trough away from us tonightwill ya? Vinaka!
Lewis & Alyssa
Southbound in the South Pacific Ocean
19 42.09 S, 175 38.8 E
7.2 KTS SOG
Wind: 13 KTS SE
Seas: Down to 4-5 FT mixed swell