Today’s update from FPB 64-3 Iron Lady comes to you from Latitude 25 20 S/Longitude 161 59 W. Read on about the beauties of a night watch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean…
After a great stir fry dinner made by Steve last night, I went off watch at 2000. Talked to Tevaka, the sailing cat that left Whangarei for Papeete when we did. She is south and west of us. Did the standard end of watch engine room checks and I was off to bed and asleep before my head hit the pillow. Next thing I knew, Steve was waking me for my 0400 watch – it seems like I had been asleep for just minutes. Gentle winds and seas do wonders.
When I arrived at the helm station, Steve had prepared a latte (from sachet) for me and we went thru the usual end of watch small talk – no ships sighted – no weather – boat running well, etc. Then talk turned to Papeete and the things we wanted to get done when we got there so our sojourn could be brief before heading off to other islands. Steve asked me to get the 0515 and 0615 weather faxes from ZKFL (New Zealand) on 9 meg. We haven’t been able to receive any weather faxes for 2 days due to atmospherics, which sometimes interfere with HF communications. Email over HF has been spotty as well but we have managed to get GRIB files so we have a good idea of what the weather patterns are, but it is nice to have the weather faxes back. Then Steve was off to bed and I was alone at the helm.
There was a soft glow from the electronics which were set up in their night mode. My new favourite setup for passage making is to have 2 displays set up for radar – one at 24 miles for long range target detection, and one at 6 miles for avoidance, but the last ship we saw was 1000 nautical miles ago – the Pacific Ocean is a big place. The other display is set to display Maretron data which monitors the ship’s vitals, weather and performance data. I will try to do a post on our blog later about it. We do not need a chart display as navigation data (heading, course, track and cross track error) are overlaid on the radar displays. We do carefully check our route for obstacles before doing this.
Outside, there was a full moon which lit up everything wonderfully. Just a few cotton ball cumulus clouds and some high cirrostratus about. The door to the aft deck was open and the air was warm and tropical. I could hear the rush of the water past the hull and the steady beat of the John Deere.
The seas and winds were gentle from the WNW aft of the beam, and the chaotic seas of the last few days are behind us. Iron Lady was doing her usual 9.6 to 10 knots but it felt like we were flying thru space and time. The whole experience was magical.
As my watch was ending I got to watch a beautiful sunrise and Roger came up for his watch. I fired up the stove for a couple of lattes while Roger put our Shabby for an early morning swim. We gave the boat a quick rinse, to get off the encrusted salt of the last few days so we could see clearly out the windows and spend some time on the aft deck and fly bridge enjoying a fine day.
We were just finishing our coffee when Shabby did his thing and invited a nice Mahi to join us for dinner. No missed fish this time.
Now how good is all that. On days like this, you hope the passage never ends.
Sorry – no pictures until I get to Papeete and reasonable wifi, but I will put this up on our blog with pics.