Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday 17th September

At sea

18 26.364 S
178 53.110 E (at Midnight)

The remainder of the night was dark and lumpy sailing. Gerry had a small amount of jib out when I went out on watch as the wind had died away again and he was also running the engine to keep us moving along – talk about one extreme to the other! I took over and by 01.15hrs the wind had returned and was blowing 15 knots on the beam, off went the engine and for the next hour we sailed. Of course it didn’t last and I ended up turning the engine back on again; at the same time the jib was flapping and back winding the main so the jib got furled away. Our next bit of excitement was Gerry spotting a strobe in the water – attached to a fishing float leading to a string of floats and finally a fishing boat, luckily we missed them all. By dawn the wind had dropped to under 10 knots and the swell was down to 2 – 3 feet, we were 5.5 miles off course but this was OK as we had to skirt an island that laid between us and Fiji by at least 5 miles. We put the fishing line in the water – well sooner or later we will catch something! I went back to bed at 07.00hrs for an hour and a half and in that time we hooked a fish and Gerry went to reel it in but it slipped the hook, in fact it bent it so far out of shape that he had to change lures. This was of course the only fish that we hooked all day. By mid morning we managed to sail for a while but it wasn’t to last very long as the wind dropped to 5 knots and we ended up putting the jib away and switching on the motor. Now you may have noticed that our Long/Lat at the top of the page now shows an E; at 12.05hrs we reached a milestone on our trip – we crossed the 180o line – the true international date line. We felt a slight bump as we crossed from the West to the East heading (I think that was where we fell off the edge – YES the world is flat!) anyway we are now counting down the Easterly degrees as we head towards home.
If you look at the photo you might think that I’ve lost the plot as far as the time goes but I haven’t. We have encountered a strange phenomenon with our chart plotter clock – it changes according to GMT or UTC by adding or subtracting hours that you set; now I guess you’re thinking that we didn’t set the hours right – wrong! The + or – only allows you to alter the clock up to + or – 11 hours and Tonga has a time of + 13 hours which our plotter just won’t allow us to do so we have to try and remember to add 2 hours to the time shown. Unfortunately it doesn’t get better in Fiji as the time difference there is + 12 hours, we have to wait until we cross the 160o East line before we can put the clock right at + 11 hours! So all you boat owners with chart plotters does your clock do the same thing check it out?
For the rest of the day and night we motor sailed as the wind didn’t pick up enough to do anything else, it was boring but with the music blaring loudly we managed to pass the day in relative comfort.



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