Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wednesday 25th July

At Sea

15 46.440 S
147 38.534 W (at Midnight)

As the night continued and turned into a new day we were dodging bullets, or should I say rain. Huge rain clouds came at us continuously all night, we missed quite a few but managed to get wet a couple of times. This is the down side of having too much wind! We were now getting wind just forward of the beam at 21 knots! At 03.00hrs we were both up (neither of us could sleep almost standing on our heads) so we reefed the jib and then the main, hurtling along at 8 knots is fine but it was almost out of control. Gerry wanted to run the engine to top up the batteries at 03.30hrs and within half an hour of starting the engine up it cut out of it’s own accord – oh no, been there once before – don’t need that again. Gerry went to change the filters whilst I kept watch over George. Once the filters were changed we tried to start the engine up again, it just wasn’t playing the game though. It would turn over but stop almost immediately, it sounded like it was lacking fuel. More investigation eventually showed that as we were heeled so far over the ¼ tank of fuel we had was all to one side of the tank and the engine was sucking in air along with the fuel. After much deliberation Gerry decided that our best plan would be to reassemble the generator (replace the bits he had taken off) and run that instead of the engine to charge the batteries etc. as it uses less fuel and the chance of getting air in the mix was less. Even if we completely muck up the generator at least we have a spare alternator coming to Tahiti where we can fix it. Of course if there is anyone close by with any spare fuel so we can add a bit to our tank that would be good too! The increased winds and the engine problem occurred just as we were dodging between the Tuamotus Atolls, when we needed to have all the resources available incase of any problems. Still we got through OK and even dodged the only fishing boat that we have seen in days at the same time. By sun rise we were under relative control and racing along at 7 – 8 knots, it was an exhilarating day of sailing that followed which turned into a personal challenge if you needed to go to the toilet, get something to eat or drink or try to sleep, still after the lack of wind for the past few days we were going to make the most of it and roared along for the entire day and well into the night. There was no time to do anything but hold on and watch the ocean rush past. I’m glad to report that we ran the generator twice in the 24 hour period and nothing untoward happened, it ran like a dream (if a somewhat noisy one). Gerry went for a snooze at around 16.00hrs and I just had to call him at 16.50hrs to come and have a look at the sight of the day. On the water and hovering just above it a short distance ahead of us was the most enormous flock of sea birds I have ever seen. It was like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds” They were having a feeding frenzy, swooping and plucking fish out of the water, they looked like a huge black cloud with a few white specks thrown in for good measure. If we hadn’t been moving along so fast it would have been a good spot to throw the fishing line in the water as there were obviously plenty of fish around that area but unfortunately we would never have been able to pull the line in without changing course and there was no way that Gerry would ever countenance that !



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