Passage to NZ, Day 5

by Margie on November 5, 2009

Just as we’d expected, last night the wind died completely. We’ve been motoring for over 24 hours now at about 5.5 knots which is helping us maintain a good pace for the time being. Motor sailing, if need be, on this particular trip is not at all uncommon. People who cruise for an entire season and live by the rule that they will do 3 knots for an entire day before they’d burn up any fuel…well, they often change their attitude about that when they set out to tackle this particular trip south. The last thing anyone wants to do is try to save a buck and then pay for it at a much greater cost later with a sudden weather change and they find themselves getting their butts handed to them in what can be some of the most unfriendly seas around. The common attitude amongst the harbor prior to departure was pretty much one in the same in that the jerry jugs on deck were there for more reasons than to just add a splash of color to the deck line. If speeds dropped below a certain knot the engines were coming on. I think I heard one boat, and one boat only, say that they weren’t taking on all the fuel that they could hold but just 30 gallons or so. They said they were in no rush and would just ride out the weather. Yeah…best of luck to ya, bud. I’ve always been so thankful that Drew is not the kind of sailor who takes that attitude.

We keep talking about this passage and it’s potential for brutality, meanwhile, we spent the good part of the rest of the day just lounging in the cockpit. I’m trying to preserve my tan as much as possible cause you see, my dad and I, for many years now, have had an ongoing battle as to who has the better color. For seven months I’ve had the thought lingering over my head that if I manage to go back to the States after living on a boat for all this time and he’s got a better tan than me, well…I’ll never hear the end of it. I often argue that mine is more evenly spread while his is just muddled but that doesn’t work. He’s a lawyer and often says I should have become one myself as the battle can get pretty “intense.” I don’t think I’ve called him one time the entire trip where he hasn’t mentioned it. Outsiders would probably think we are nuts but it’s one of those father/daughter things that just became a running joke and has stuck. Something to call our own.

Drew and I pretty much have a set routine going that he takes the 8 to 11 shift and then we rotate every three hours through the night. It allows for me to wake him up just in time to jump on the morning net and get everyone’s where-a-bouts. This morning, about 5 a.m. and prior to waking him, I must have looked like I was watching a tennis match, my head going from left to right, port to starboard, as I had a completely full moon and darkness on one side and the sun rising on the other. It was beyond beautiful and moments like that make me wonder what in the world I did to deserve this…

He informed me that a day or so after leaving Tonga, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn which means we left “the tropics” and are now in the “subtropics.” At some point tomorrow we’ll cross the 30 degree south latitude which puts us almost as far south as our families back home. Sadly, no more coconuts and palm trees (tear). I’ll gladly trade those if the remainder of the trip will just go as steady as the first five days. 6 night watches left but hey, who’s counting?

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