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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Passage Notes

Since we'll probably hit the ground running when we make landfall tomorrow I'd better send off some final thoughts on the passage before we get too busy.

The weather this past week has been mostly sunny with varying degrees of white fluffy clouds. No more of the very gray days that we had off and on during the first two weeks, and no sight of rain from any of the clouds. I think it's very unusual that we never had a downpour, but maybe that's a factor in leaving later in the season. Except for the potentially high winds, we would love to have a good boat wash from a rain squall at this point. We never tire of gazing at the brilliant blue ocean waves but it will be nice to smell something green again (Ziggy's grass is completely dead now, but he still enjoys laying on the dirt - with a mesh screen over it to keep him clean). We've been surprised by how irregular the swell patterns have been on this trip. Or more accurately, by all the different directions they come from. It's certainly not been the big smooth rolling seas that I imagined. Instead it seems choppy and sharp, and all over the place. But since we weren't headed into it, I'm not complaining!

We have been incredibly fortunate to have made excellent progress with consistent wind the entire way. Yes, John was kept busy reefing and unreefing more than he would have liked, but we always had a good sailing breeze. Our Cape Horn wind vane did a wonderful job steering for us, and we never had to use the auto-pilot. We were also lucky to have escaped major gear failures during the passage. After the horror stories about equipment failures we've heard from other people I was prepared for the worst even though I don't know how I would have dealt with it!

Oh, and that shark we saw yesterday? John was being facetious about not being able to identify it because he didn't catch it. It was so close that the dorsal and tail fins clearly broke the surface of the water, and it was a white-tipped shark. Again I had to ask myself, what were the chances of us both being on deck to see that go by?!

Our long term plans at this point are to cruise the Marquesas, and perhaps the Tuamotus until October/November; spend this year's southern hemisphere cyclone season in Hawaii; return to French Polynesia in March; and cruise the islands next year leading to spending the 2010 cyclone season in the Marshall Islands. That's as long term as we can get for the moment, and of course it's all subject to change depending on how we like things down here. Everyone assures us we will love it, and I hope they're right!