Engineless

I am still surprised by the confusion that emanates from others when I mention that we’ll be departing their island soon.  Of course, they know that Illusion‘s main engine is not functional, so that helps to explain it – I tell them that we’ll sail to the next island. It is a sailboat…
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Out on the ocean

A car on the quay tooted its horn and we looked over to see Atu waving at us. We’d been about to haul up the dinghy to store it on deck for the journey, but luckily hadn’t yet, so it wasn’t too difficult to get the fuel back out of the anchor locker and make our way over to shore. Euloge, his wife Hilda and 15 year old daughter Atu had come to say goodbye! And brought with them a bag full of food for the journey – banana crepes, stew and rice, a bag of bananas – plus clothes as gifts and a shell necklace. We were bowled over by their generosity and thoughtfulness. After hugs and kisses and address swapping, we headed back to Illusion and waved goodbye as they drove off to church.

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Sailing to Rapa Iti – post by Deb

We left Auckland on May 30th, sailing east towards Rapa in the Iles Australis.  It was surreal to watch the city lights disappear on the horizon – hard to believe that the time had finally come to begin our journey.  The weather forecast showed two low pressure systems building, so we sailed southeast to avoid them.  The first few days were slow going due to light winds, but it picked up by day four, so that we were able to average about 150 nautical miles per day.  We headed northeast, hoping to catch the coat tails of the storm and ride them east (low pressure systems rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere). The winds and seas got progressively bigger and we found ourselves in the middle of a 420 mile wide gale.  No skirting this one unfortunately.

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Choices – Starting an Epic Sea Journey

Strange thoughts run after being in uncomfortable sailing conditions for most of the 8 days we’ve been away from Auckland. We’re 35 degrees south of the equator, 162 degrees west of London…  Which reminds me that I’m half a world away from Sara… and prompts me back to OpenCPN, the charting program we’re using to track our progress.  Surprisingly enough, we’re on a direct course to where she is in northwest England!  But it’s 9500 miles away and the “directness” of our course is challenged by the “S”-curve of a great circle route that has been plotted on a Mercator-projected chart of the globe.  Strangely enough, the route would take us through San Francisco, about half way on a journey to northern England.  Across Hudson Bay, too.  And Greenland.  Then through the western isles of Scotland.  I really miss her, but for me this is the distinctly “not-fun” part of cruising, so perhaps it’s a good thing it’s not her introduction to the “cruising life”…
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Aaaand we’re off, but not to the races – post by Janice

We did it. We officially left New Zealand! Much like leaving the boatyard, it came with a sensation of simultaneous relief and disbelief. Almost like we didn’t really think we could do it. Right down to the wire as usual, we made it to the customs and immigration wharf just in time, as the officials were waiting and their shift had technically just ended. The good news is that customs officials who just want to get home will apparently give you the quickest and easiest check as they shoo you out of their country. We were in and out like lightning. The bad news is that the current high in the weather isn’t giving us much wind in our sails, so we’re not leaving the country very quickly. Continue reading “Aaaand we’re off, but not to the races – post by Janice”