Saturday, June 23, 2007

Thursday 21st June

At Sea
1 22.511 S
91 11.233 W (at Midnight)

Gerry was up before the sun, eager to get on with the preparations for leaving. As the swell was getting stronger he decided to stow the dingy on the foredeck without my help, trying to be kind and letting me sleep in – MISTAKE!
He managed to get the outboard motor on the stand and moved the dinghy to the front of the boat but as he was hauling it up and trying to hold it so that it cleared the lifelines before bringing it onto the deck he slipped on the dew damp deck and smashed his knee badly. He hobbled back down below where I was just surfacing and told me the tale then said he would need some help to finish the job later. Whilst he had been out on deck another Australian boat Timela had gone past him; the captain, Cameron, had called out that he was joining in our radio schedule and would talk to us on route. Timela is a small (? 30foot) ketch and the 2 adults and 1 child on board are planning on going straight through to Fiji and expect to be at sea for 3 months! And you thought we were nuts!
Anyway I got dressed and then called a water taxi as I had the last minute shopping to do; it didn’t get done last night as the new restaurant wasn’t open when we got there and we ended up going further away from the dock so consequently we didn’t get back to the supermarket before closing time. Mags and Barry caught the same taxi, they were going to be staying for another 2 days so I said our goodbyes and told them we would chat with them on the radio schedule. I rushed through the store buying eggs, bread and Pringles (well you have to have them!) and then caught a water taxi back to the boat. Getting back on board was fun as our boat was rolling dramatically from side to side and the water taxi always drops you along side the boat, with help form the driver I got back on the boat and waved him off. Gerry immediately suggested that we deal with the dinghy before the swell got any worse so with me hanging on to it (very wide stance required) Gerry finished hauling it up and we maneuvered it into place and secured it for the trip. That job over with I stowed the food away, found a knee brace and some anti inflammatory tablets for Gerry and dished out as much sympathy as I could muster, no, it wasn’t much but he’s use to that after all these years. We started to gather the life jackets, hats etc. together and as we were preparing to leave Y Not hauled their anchor and began their exit from the anchorage, they called out to Gerry that they had sacrificed their stern anchor to the anchorage – the rode had broken as they were trying to haul it in and because the swell was so bad they decided to leave it behind rather than try to retrieve it by diving. They were the second boat to have lost their stern anchor that we knew of, we were worried then that we would be the third. I was still down below when Gerry called out that he had got our stern anchor up, a cause for celebration all round. Of course with the stern anchor up the rolling was even more dramatic so we quickly finished our preparations, donned our life jackets and headsets and then it was time to haul in our bow anchor and set sail. The anchor was well set and took a while to free itself from the sea bed whilst I maneuvered the boat between the fishing vessels and cargo trawlers that surrounded us. Once the anchor was on board we rapidly departed the anchorage and were underway by 10.00hrs. Gerry had put our waypoint into the chart plotter for the Marquesas, it was a little daunting to see that we had 3017 miles to go but at least we were on our way. Between leaving and midnight we sailed for 7 hours and motor sailed for the other 7 hours, according to what the wind was doing at the time. The sea was fairly calm once we cleared the anchorage, the swell of 8 – 9 feet made comfortable by the long (14 second) interval. As dusk closed in we hadn’t caught a fish for dinner so we ate one of the precooked meals I had prepared and then began our night watches with me going to bed first. At 19.30hrs I could hear Gerry talking on the radio and went to find out if everything was OK. The Ecuadorian Coast Guard had found us and was checking our details! (Ray, if you had anything to do with this one we WILL find you and you WILL be sorry!) Anyway they were very polite and pleasant and left us alone after Gerry had answered all the questions. They didn’t go after Timela or Y Not both of whom were within 2 miles of us at the time – was it something we said? During Gerry’s watch the topping lift managed to wrap itself around the backstay, getting stuck in the join of the Y that it forms, this made him very cranky and we were going to have to free it before the radio schedule in the morning as our antennae for the radio runs up the back stay.



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