Saturday, August 14, 2010

Passage to Suwarrow

Submitted by Kathy

Friday, August 6th
We left Maupiti on a beautiful, calm, sunny day. We glided on a zephyr under sail to the pass then motored out. The big breakers were gone, the tide was slack and our exit was placid, the opposite of our arrival. Thus began the 650 mile passage to Suwarrow in the Northern Cook Islands.

The first day was quite calm so we motored. We usually are reluctant to motor early in a passage, because we only carry 70 gallons of fuel. But the engine and hull are really efficient, so 70 gallons go a long way, almost 500 miles at 5 knots! Not bad when you think about it.

Anyhoo, that night the wind started coming up and we had a run under fair winds and following seas. The next night we reefed as we often do if there's a chance of much excitement overnight. Winds and seas built. We occasionally saw 30kts and 4m swells, with some wind waves slightly offset. But mostly it was low to mid-20kts. We just had a tiny scrap of jib out to dampen the rolling. There were light, misty, intermittent, rain showers. The breeze only picked up a few knots during the showers, so they weren't even really squalls, certainly nothing to complain about.

In order to avoid seasickness, we both took Meclazine to start, instead of the usual Scopolomine patches. I felt fine and only took the one. Bill need them most of the rest of the trip. They make you feel drowsy and lethargic, so Bill never really felt up to par. But neither of us really enjoyed the trip. We alternate 3 hour watches around the clock, so we get tired from interrupted sleep. After a few days, we usually get somewhat accustomed and can sleep fairly well during the day. Bill gets the least sleep. If things get gnarly while I'm on watch, I have to wake him to help me. He comes on watch at 3am. Normally I would start the next watch at 6am, but Bill usually just stays up to do radio nets and weather from 7:15 to 8:30. So there goes the morning, and Bill doesn't get back to bed until 9-ish.

We get very lethargic in general. The motion of the boat demands extra physical effort for every little thing and we become very lazy. It shows particularly in my cooking. Poor Bill. We don't fish much. If we catch something, it just seems like too much effort to deal with.

For entertainment, we listen to audio books. I listened to _Kabul Beauty School_, by Deborah Rodriquez on my mp3 player. Audio books are great on on night watch, You don't need any light and your eyes can stay adjusted to the darkness. I even cover or turn off the plotters because they are too bright, even on their night settings. We both could listen _Getting Stoned With Savages_ by Maarten Troost by plugging the mp3 player into the stereo to play it out loud. It's an hilarious and ironic recount of the author's time in Vanuatu and Fiji. I'm running out of audiobooks as the last internet connections were never fast enough to download a whole audio book. E-books download quickly, but they have to be read on the computer. Audiobooks are much more convenient.

Our trip was slower than Bill planned, setting a nighttime ETA at Suwarrow, which was completely out of the question. So we slowed the boat down, leaving the 2nd reef in even in 12kts of breeze. The motion was more gentle as a result. Five days after departing Maupiti we arrived at Suwarrow at 9am, Wednesday, August 11th.

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