After a long night with hardly any sleep (1,5 h all together), and an exciting ride against the current and through chaotic waves in the reef passage, I have reached a beautiful anchorage in the South Pacific. This is the location I had been dreaming of since decades. Fakarava is one of the atolls of the Tuamotus. Pretty unreal to be here!
Two repairs kept me busy: Yesterday the autopilot engaged by itself. Three month ago I had replaced the B&G Autopilot Controller since the old one died due to moisture inside. Now, the new one had exactely the same problem. I opened the plastic housing and found a fair amount of water inside. The unit is advertised to be sealed and is for use on sailboats, to be mounted near the steering wheel. I recycled the electronics from the old one, which I had dried and kept, and parts of the new one, glued and sealed the housing and mounted the unit again. So far all is working fine. Then around noon today, I wanted to unreef the mainsail. The sail got stuck in the mast. After some persuasion one of the cars that run on a track up the mast came loose and I could lower the sail without climbing up the mast. It took me over two hours to fill the car with 42 small torlon balls. The balls from this ball bearing wear off after many years and have to be replaced. I managed to get 40 balls in, all is running smoothly. Some time, the mast track will need replacing. On my last mast check in Panama I noticed that the track has several areas of corrosion. I am very excited about my first atoll passage (Fakarava north pass) tomorrow around 8:00 o’ clock. The current and the waves in tha pass can be very strong, the aim is to enter when the current is as low as possible (slack tide). Wish me luck.
My course is pretty much a straight line through the Tuamotus. I want to arrive at the North pass of Fakarava early in the morning. To achieve this I reefed the sails to be slower than 5 kn.
When we were snorkelling at the false pass at the southern tip of Totegegie, we saw an enormous Box jellyfish. The corpus was 25-30 cm long, and the four orange tentacles another 20 cm. I only knew them from photos and thought theycwere 4 cm long. One boy from our group got stung on his fingers. After 45 min of bathing the hand in hot seawater, the pain was much better. The hand was still swollen. Luckily, he had no systemic symptoms. Not everybody who gets stung by a Box jellyfish is so lucky.
Just in time the wind shifted, so I did not have to work on the sails to keep clear of the atoll Varavara. Sometimes you are just lucky.
In this photo you see what I have tried to explain yesterday. The blue line with the small circle at the end is the direction Easy is heading (HDG) at. The black/green dashed line with the small black circle at the end is the actual course over ground (COG). The length of both lines is the track in 120 min. If you connect both endpoints (light green arrow), you have the vector of the current in 120 min. So, the current is running about 5 nm in 120 min, 2,5 nm in 60 h, equal to 2,5 kn. The direction of the current is 20°.
I am sailing in the direction of the sunset. No, routinely I’m not navigating with the sun, the moon or the stars. Not even with the mechanical compass. My navigation is based on the course over ground (COG). This is automatically calculated from the GPS positions. An electronical (fluxgate) compass supplies the heading information (the direction the bow of the ship is pointing, HDG). The current is pushing me 10-20° to the right (north), since yesterday. This means, I am not really sailing in the direction the bow is pointing at. Sounds confusing? It’s not rocket science. With all the electronic equipment, ships don’t get lost at sea any more these days.
I am sad to leave. Goodbye wonderful islands, goodbye wonderful people. On the other hand I am really looking forward to be united with Kirsten on Fakarava in less than three weeks. The trip to Fakarava will take me about 8 days. I managed to fix the problem with the Google E-Mail account. So you can follow me on this trip, too.
Fourteen pomelos are the yield of my mountain hike in the forest. It started to rain and I returned utterly soaked and soiled. A pomelo (here they are called pamplemouse, but I don’t know how to spell the French word) is different from a grapefruit. The taste is just delicious, just the right sweetness, not sour, not at all bitter. Not all of them fit into my fruit net, so some of them have to sleep next to me in the aft cabin. The biggest one weighs 2,8 kg (the one on the right on the photo, next to Sissi). Hopefully, some of them will last for 20 days, so that Kirsten can try them in person.