Monday, 2 November 2015

30 degrees S

There was a game the kids used to play when we were at the beach called 44 Home. They played after dinner, under cover of darkness and using a torch. The kids scattered into the darkness, leaving one of them at Home as the Seeker. Home was a spot in the middle of an open space. When the Seeker began his or her countdown (44 to zero) the aim of the game was to get Home without being caught in the beam of the Seeker's torch before he/she called zero. There was always a last mad dash across a long stretch of grass or sand to Home. The best way to get Home safely was to distract the Seeker's attention, to sneak in while his/her back was turned.

I've been remembering that game as we and other yachts scamper across the many exposed ocean miles which separate the tropics from New Zealand. We hid out at North Minerva reef for a week before we made our run. We are fair game for the weather systems which brew and boil and make trouble in these latitudes in the spring. We're the kids trying to make it Home without being spotted.

So far so good. I'm touching wood. At the beginning of our 4th day out from Minerva, we're sailing under clear skies across an ocean showing its kindest face. We're in the centre of a high. We expected to have to motor through it today, but a delicate breeze pushed us along at about 6 knots over a seal-skinned surface. Only just fast enough. In other times, that speed would do us nicely, but we can hear the countdown. Weather forecasts are changing daily, and as things stand, if we're lucky we will make it Home before things turn unpleasant. In between now and then, we can expect very fresh wind from the northwest, and then from the southwest, and then probably from the south-east, or maybe the south-southeast. Simple, really.

This is not tradewind sailing where the wind blows from the same direction for days on end. This is what New Zealanders and Australians call normal sailing. You pay attention. You watch the horizon. And you dress appropriately. None of this half-dressed nonsense of the tropics. Yesterday, for the first time in 10 months, I spent the whole day covered from top to bottom, and wearing shoes and socks. Ye gads. As I write, cloud is building behind us, in the northwest. Noted. Today has been a bonus, but the weather forecast on Gulf Harbour Radio tells of a surprise low building quickly off East Cape, and squashing itself against the Tasman high to our west. We'll have dropped down below 30 degrees S by tonight. Nowhere to hide, just cross our fingers that we don't get caught and run like the blazes for Home.

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  1. Go well as you race for home.Very much in our thoughts-we have loved following this amazing adventure.Sara and Paul

    1. And we love that you are following....see you in NZ, we hope. D & A

  2. Been following Enki from Turkey and put her on Marine Traffic - you just clocked in through Whangarei Heads - congratulations and bravo.

  3. Thank you! It was a thrill to arrive, that's for sure.