Thursday, July 6, 2017

49 Days

Herewith, the short story of our journey from Banderas Bay, Mexico, to Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia.  What follows is a copy of every daily text message sent to immediate family.  The headers have been stripped off and spelling and grammatical errors fixed (mostly).  It's a fairly long read....but then again, it was a fairly long journey.....having departed from the customs dock at Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, on March 30th, we begin the following morning....

Departing La Cruz/Puerto Vallarta
March 31, 2017 8:50:00 AM CST

Got through first night ok, although were really tired from yesterday's activities. We're about 90 miles out to sea now. Motorsailed for 12 hours because there wasn't enough wind to move us at all.  We under sail as of 8 this morning, making 2 to 2.5 knots progress.  Wind is around 10-11 knots.  Anyway, that's it for now.

April 1, 2017 8:37:16 AM CST
First of many sunsets in the Pacific Ocean

Believe it or not, still out at sea.  We didn't turn on engine at all, so we're a bit slower as winds are a bit on the low side, allowing for average speed of 3 knots.  Got caught up on some sleep and getting used to the watch schedule (4 hours on watch, 4 hours off).  We have a total of 160 miles behind us now.  Moving forward... 

April 2, 2017 10:43:56 AM CDT

The only complaint about yesterday was how cold it is.  Soon as sun set, temps dropped to 72°!    Other than that, we're SLOWLY making our way.  Made lasagna yesterday.  Gonna take it out of fridge and cook it today.  Sun is coming out of clouds, so can remove at least one of three sweaters. 

April 3, 2017 9:36:13 AM CDT

Total overcast this morning.  Have run generator to charge batteries.  Very slow going all night, although made up a little mileage during day yesterday.  We now have some 307 miles on our trip odometer, so we're about 10% of our trip finished.  Had lasagna and fresh asparagus for dinner last evening.  Yum.  Trucking along at a whopping 2 knots....

April 4, 2017 10:23:11 AM CDT

We had a rolicking night with winds roaring through like waves.  We'd be sagging in 6-8 knot winds, then winds would suddenly jump to 14-16 knots!  Then, 5 or 6 minutes later, back to 6-8 knots.  This went on all night.  Was a grueling exercise in wheel spinning.  Had leftover lasagna & corn for dinner.  We're roughly 1020 miles southeast of San Diego, and 400 miles southwest of Puerto Escondido, Mex.  Wahoo!!!!

April 5, 2017 9:51:31 AM CDT

Was a whole two degrees (up to 74) warmer last night after a fairly pleasant 80 degree day. We're making slow progress but not complaining because we're still catching up on our sleep when it's calmer.  Was great getting in phone contact.  From this end, it seemed more clear than when we were surrounded by land.  Nancy baked two loaves of bread last night, keeping our starch intake normal(?).  Overcast greets this morning but can see a bit of blue here and there.  The solar panels need to get to work so I hope the clouds get gone... 

April 6, 2017 9:39:39 AM CDT

Not much to say this morning.  We've been moving so slowly, I believe I saw sea snails wave as they passed us by.  We hope the wind picks up a bit today.  Nancy's bread came out really well. So we have tuna salad sandwiches for next several lunches!  We got a lot of good sleep with boat going so slow.... 

April 7, 2017 9:59:52 AM CDT

Spent another day and night wallowing along at 2 knots or less.  Waiting for the wind forecasted to arrive this weekend.  Little things continue to break or fall apart.  Fixes are pretty quick though.

According to last night's chatter on the HF radio we now have sailboats along the entire 3,000 mile run with more leaving Mexico weekly.  Kind of fun.

It was a bit warmer at 77° at midnight.  Slow slow slow and a bit tedious.  Still hopeful wind coming this weekend.... 

April 8, 2017 9:39:16 AM CDT

We are now early into Day 10 of our journey. Got some wind and trying to figure out what to do with it.  Haven't seen it in so long.
Nancy's pressure cooker stew was served up for dinner.  Tried using red instead of white cabbage.  Tasted different but still good.
Passed 600 mile point
Brief bursts of wind but average less than 4 knots..
77° at 3 a.m. Better.  Sun is out this morning.  Solar  panels will get a workout.   

April 9, 2017 6:36:12 PM CDT

Made 70 gal fresh water
NJ  did a load of laundry
Leftovers for lunch and dinner
Making better mileage
Almost full moon overcast skies
Passed through the 700 mile mark early this morning.  Only 2,300 miles to go!

April 10, 2017 9:15:57 AM CDT

We caught a small yellow tail tuna, about 6 lbs.   Ate fish with last of fresh asparagus.
Lots of wind.  Finally making some speed (relative term here)
800 mile marker passed

LOTS more wind this morning (20+ knots).  Trimmed sails and boat is happy.  Still, takes a bit out of us manually steering the boat.  But we be fine and looking to another day of good mileage.

The Official Watch Schedule
April 11, 2017 10:38:30 AM CDT

Not much to tell today.
We're eating through the leftovers, sleeping, or standing/sitting at the wheel keeping the old gal on course.  Most of the time we're successful.  Winds are strong and the seas have built up, and they are strong as well.  Looking at about 4 more days of this pattern  Total overcast....gloomy, but not too cold with hats and sweaters.  Never giving up my shorts though.

Passed through 900 miles and are at 954 miles as of this writing.  That's it for now.... 

April 12, 2017 11:13:30 AM CDT

A brief lull in the gale force winds.  Nothing much happened except for steering in 20-25 knot winds and 6 to 10 foot waves.

We did have a couple of accidental gybes, which caused pandemonium with numerous items which had  not been adequately.  Needless to say, there will be a lot more cleanup when winds calm down again.

We passed the 1000 mile mark.  We're at 1068 at this writing.

Spent my off watch time yesterday hunting down cause of total solar power failure.  Found the culprit (burned wire) and replaced it with heavier gauge.  Did same for its two brothers. This morning making power.

Extra Tylenol and ibuprofen got on the menu yesterday.  Lots of extra exercise steering in a gale.... 

April 13, 2017 10:07:18 AM CDT

Pretty much a repeat of yesterday's winds and seas, and overcast skies.  Plodding along with our two smallest sails, the stay sail up front and mizzen in back.  A lot better for boat and crew.  We go a nit slower but we're still making acceptable progress.

Passed 1100 miles.

Almost done eating all the leftovers from fridge.  Still have to work through the frozen version.

Today is expected to be a bit tamer on the winds and seas...we see.

Our holding tank (septic tank) is clogged and completely full.  Good job for the plumber? And I'll get on it after the morning watch.

Here comes the sun, wind,waves....gotta get busy!

 April 14, 2017 2:36:01 PM CDT

Caught a 40 lb yellow-fin tuna yesterday.  Took about 35 minutes to land him.

Sorry this is late.  Our aft sail (mizzen) broke and we had one hell of a time with getting it down...20+ winds and big waves.  Anyway, it is down and attempts to fix will be made when winds calm early next week.

We have one sail up, the jib, and it pulling us downwind at a respectful 5 knots.

We are fine and moving along...Until tomorrow.   

April 15, 2017 6:38:40 PM CDT

Have written most but have to get some 
stuff before sundown
Will send later.   

April 15, 2017 10:41:12 PM CDT

The best part of yesterday was that we passed 1,350 nautical miles.

Unfortunately, we lost another sail.  This time the Jib/head sail.  Pretty shredded but we'll see if field repair is plausible or a professional sail loft.  We also lost one of our kayaks, stolen by one of the several waves that raked our port cap rails.  Unfortunately, one of the kayak brackets, bolted to a chain plate, was also ripped off, snapping the chain plate off.

So we have our work cut out for us.  Had hamburger for dinner. I"m off to bed.   

April 16, 2017 11:45:21 AM CDT
Add caption

Easter Sunday, wonderful sunrise, and abundant sunshine, and waking up from a second  three hour uninterrupted nap.

Good way to start a fixing campaign.  Yesterday was just either steering or sleeping away the exhaustion.

We"re still making forward progress safely.  Until tomorrow.... 

April 17, 2017 4:42:24 PM CDT

Passed 1500 miles.  Worked on mizzen sail.  Finally got it fully up about half hour ago.

Going to bed.  

April 18, 2017 1:29:51 PM CDT

After the torturous raising of the mizzen sail, it was finally time for some R&R

Warmer weather finally for our night watches.  Like at 5 a.m. this morning was 81°.  A lot more comfortable.

Ran into a couple of small squalls overnight, but avoided some of the larger ones with help from our radar.

Today's project:  Get fresh water from the tanks into the shower faucet....we're smelling a bit ripe??

Flying fish...we've seen them for most of the trip.  Have to go around, pick them off the deck, and toss them back.  All dead so far.  One even came flying across the cockpir and smacked me in the back.

Passed 1,600 miles.  Moving on... 

April 19, 2017 10:01:03 AM CDT

After spending over an hour unbolting, unscrewing, and moving of furniture, finally got access to water tanks.  Ran a 1/2" water line direct from one of the tanks to the pump on other side of boat under the galley.  Anyway it worked enough for both of us to take showers (first time in 2 weeks).  Needs more work but we feel refreshed.

Luckily there was zero wind so I could work in relatively calm being at anchor.  We finally got wind about 5 p.m. and got going.  The overnight sail was fairly smooth and this morning's sunshine in mostly overcast skies is welcome.  A lot of squall lines around, so we see.

Heading due South now.  Seas picking up, as is wind.... 

April 20, 2017 12:07:54 PM CDT

Not much doing except trying to make our way to Nuku Hiva.  The big (diesel) generator, which hasn't been working since San Carlos, came alive after tinkering with it for a few hours.  We were both excited to hear it running.  After 30 minutes, I declared it fixed!

It died 45 minutes later....ugh!  One more to put back ON the list.

Had a couple of nasty squalls from 0400 to about 0530.  They're worse when it's pitch black out.  Got Nancy up at 0540 to take over a lumbering boat in only 4 knots of wind, and went to bed.  Got up at 0930, started coffee, traded places with Nancy and finishing up this message.  Moving on.... 

 April 21, 2017 7:59:53 PM CDT

Too pooped to pop.  Will write tomorrow.   

April 21, 2017 4:35:20 PM CDT

Going to have to send later.  Lots of activity today.  Nancy baked 3 loaves bread.

April 22, 2017 12:26:52 PM CDT

Long story, but of the four ways we can charge batteries, none worked yesterday, so we went to "emergency" power savings so we  had enough juice to navigate by.
Made it, hoping for sun for solar salvation.    Nothing.  Got Honda gen-set running but will not be able to use after our last 3 gallons of gas is gone.

Working our other options.

April 23, 2017 12:02:22 PM CDT

If I repeat myself, please ignore.  I've been updating members of the fleet out here of our trials and tribulations.

Yesterday we had both generators working.  The Honda 2000 just wanted a cleaner spark plug.  Problem here is lack of sufficient amount of gasoline for remainder of trip.  In fact there's not enough for three more days.

The other one was a bit more complicated , but I ended shorting out the sensors (oil, temp,voltage) and now it works.  I will need to buy and replace oil sensor because it tells the fuel relay to shut down even when the oil is at perfect level.  Exasperating, but we working again.

Still trying to get through storm/squall alley (as I'm calling it now).  Had another beauty last night from 2100-2230!  Big winds whole time.  Ended up having to go wrong way to keep control of the boat.  Rain was horrendous.

So now we have winds coming the wrong way so we have to steer west instead of south.  So it goes.... 

April 25, 2017 7:49:52 AM CDT

Fantastic morning.  Lots of sunshine, deep blue water, comfortable 80°, and a small breeze.

At noon we got just enough wind (9 knots) to break out of this "place"  Some 11 hours later we made up the near 20 miles we had drifted northwest.

Water maker is in the fritz now as well....Working with vendor to get problem resolved.

Bracket on main engine holding secondary fuel filters broke.  Temp fix with seizing wire....ugh again.

Main engine still won' start, even after cleaning corrosion off primary starting cable...guess I'beat the start motor onto submission.

Another intense squall during the night.  Nancy handled it all herself.  Training wheels now officially off.

April 26, 2017 8:22:18 AM CDT

When Nancy relieved me at the helm for her 4-hour watch, I told her that our official crew list is now at 139.  Two have last name of Rogers.  The remaining 137 have last name of MURPHY!

And they struck again.  The latest being the Dell laptop computer on which I did all my weather monitoring and trip logging, among others.  Have to dig a little deeper but when the screen goes into horizontal rapid flip then 15 seconds later summarily  loses all power and shuts down (crashes), it is NOT a good sign.

Anyway, back to the watermaker saga, after removing the pressure relief valve, and plugging hole, it tested badly.  Did a check on how much water the boost pump (salt water intake) was putting out to the high pressure pump,  the 2 gpm was sufficient for this unit.  The boost pump complained throughout the 15 second test.  Turned it off, then decided to perform second test.  (A Murphy clan member steps in here) The boost pump did nothing.  Just sat there.  I was about to report my findings to Rich, owner of the company that sold us the watermaker, when I decided better to check all electrical connections first.  Replaced a couple of connectors that MAY have some corrosion, then flipped the power switch.  Nothing.  Same reported to Rich.

He asked if I had any type of spare pump we could use to limp along until port.  I had something and we agreed it may work.  A couple of hours later we we making fresh water, at a reduced rate, and got a 5-gallon jug filled before turning this now very loud (old tractor sound) motor off.  Still have to reinstall pressure relief valve today prior to making more.  Have hopefully set an anti-Murphy barrier around this important piece of equipment.

Meanwhile, still heading South at snail's pace....  

April 27, 2017 8:36:23 AM CDT

Do you believe we're still out here and not yet across the equator???

Yesterday was all about making potable water.  Spent the morning reinstalling the pressure relief valve, but when I asked the company owner how far down I should screw the spring housing, he finally got back to have me remove it again.  Slightly frustrated, I did so.  We fired up the 3kw genset and the watermaker and made water for one hour and shut it down.  The "new" pump was quite warm/hot, so instead of burning it up, decided to do an hour, stop an hour, do another hour and so on.  Did this 3 times yesterday with success, so we have 55 gallons in the tank and filled a 5-gal jug as well.  Will make some more today and tomorrow, etc intil tanks completely full.

Other than that, had a squally evening but a clear (pitch black) rest of night.  We made 10 miles per watch, which averages to 2.5 knots per hour....we can WALK faster!

April 28, 2017 7:50:31 AM CDT

Installed AIS receiver yesterday.  Had it repaired in La Cruz and finally got around to putting it back in.

Found radar reflector dragging in the water during morning.  Fell off the main mast port lower spreader, pulley and all.  It stays down until I can order new one.

Got stuck in current again with no wind.  Moving slowly southerly direction at 1 knot.

Made more water.  Now have over 100 gallons...going to make more today.

Lasagna for dinner.  Nice to have genset working to allow reheat in microwave!

April 29, 2017 8:01:52 AM CDT

Not much going on.  Last night on the 3rd run of the watermaker, I turned it off about 25 minutes into its scheduled 60 minute run because smoke was coming out of the high pressure pump.  Will investigate some more today.

Dad, (via emails and his internet access) helping me try to figure out what went wrong with one of the laptops.

Worked on replacing the emergency mounting of the main mast cap shroud.  Half way done.  Hopefully will be done today.

Waiting still for wind.  Made 22 miles on past 24 hours...UGH!

April 30, 2017 8:03:17 AM CDT

The good news for yesterday was completion of an "anchoring" solution (temp of course) for the shroud that used to be attached to a chain plate.  Still need to climb up the mast and re-attach the port side lazy jack, which had broken and fell to the deck about 10 days ago.

Them we should be able to hoist the main sail as high as its first reefing point and hope there's a bit more breeze!

Did finally get around climbing the mast...twice.  The lazy jack line got tangled at the base of the mast? So had to go down to make it right.  Then I remembered to bring camera with.  Got lazy jack installed and took some photos whilst the mast was trying its darndest ti fling me into the ocean.  But I had on my trusty climbing gear so wasn't going anywhere.  Today we try raising main sail and see how it goes.

Meat loaf, sticky rice & corn for supper.

Was going to make more water around 7 last night.  The 3k genset just sat there when I pressed the start button.  Something else to do today.  Whoopie!

May 1, 2017 7:55:05 AM CDT

Hoisted main sail at 3:30 pm to see how rig was going to handle it. Tied in 1st reef so sail would not rise much above upper shroud
Main sail up to first reef

Crossed 2,200 mile marker.

AIS works.  I reinstalled it after repair work was done back in La Cruz.  Timing was perfect. Was able to identify two fishing vessels that had come within our 12-mile radar range.  The AIS let us know name of ship, speed, direction, call sign etc.  Pretty handy.

We had quite an afternoon and overnight run.  Not only was mainsail up but we got lots of wind in the 18-20 knot range!  The shroud is still where it's supposed to be...that's good.

Made some more water, and that's good too.

Sun is out this morning.  Wind still blowing.  We're sailing!

May 2, 2017 8:15:03 AM CDT

This morning the sun is up but the clouds are back, seemingly sorrounding us.  But no squalls yet apparent.

Yesterday spent some more time trying to figure out what's happened to our fresh water delivery system.  The good news is Nancy was able to take a shower.  The bad news is the brand new water pump I installed can't pressurize system because air is getting in somewhere.  More research.  Whoopie.

Made more spaghetti sauce and wagon wheel noodles to munch on.  Nancy made more bread.  Cookies are up next.

We will cross the Equator sometime tomorrow, barring any further visits by the Murphy family.

Having the mainsail up is giving us a real nice boost.  Too bad about the jib sail...that would have REALLY gotten us going.

The full holding tank pump-out still needs attention and it shall get it today.

May 3, 2017 8:14:32 AM CDT

Grumpy....that's what I am.  With all that's happened, along comes Murphy again and knocks out the wind speed & direction display in the chart plotter.

Immediately thereafter, after having made two full days of great speed towards our goal of getting across the equator yesterday, the "wheels come off" and at 1a.m., with only 8.4 miles to go......the wind drops  suddenly to zero!

We have since floated along with the current.  Still have 5.5 miles to go.  Perhaps lunch at "The Equator", a highly recommended place for lunch.

May 3, 2017 11:01:19 AM CDT
Arriving at the equator

We crossed over the Equator at 0905 this morning.  Still no wind but the 1 knot current did it, just a whole lot slower.  We are now Shellbacks,

May 4, 2017 8:07:41 AM CDT

Yesterday was, even with the equator crossing, a dull one.  We continued to float along just like shipwreck survivors.  The current pushed us lazily at one knot and we stayed wind-less until a slight breeze came up about 6 p.m.

Of course we didn't know how fast the wind, or from what direction it was coming, because our wind vane, after over 10 years of flawless service decided to go on vacation with one of the Murphy clan.  Well, we did without before the unit, and can get by without it for now.  Sort of like a microwave.  Really nice to have but can heat coffee on stove like in the old days.

We had some more of our tuna and wagon wheel pasta for dinner.

The sun has risen and the wind we have is pushing us along at about 3 to 3.5 knots.  Acceptable.

May 5, 2017 8:08:10 AM CDT

Cold day, cold night, cold morning.  Weather guessers got it ALL's not hot at the equator.  The sun is officially risen, but miles of clouds prevent seeing it.  I guess we'll get through it.

Yesterday I finally got hold of somebody that had any knowledge of our 10 year old wind anemometer.  Turns out these guys in France built it!  We're in email contact and am awaiting response to questions about the diagnostics he sent.

Nancy got a shower, a BIG deal around here, since I haven't found the source of air leaking into the closed system yet, but can make it work long enough for shaving of the legs.

We spent the whole day just driving the boat or sleeping.  Crossing the equator can be quite stressful.  It wasn't, but it sounded good.

 May 6, 2017 at 6:21 AM

Well, today starts Pacific Puddle Jump Day 38.  I would love to say "it seems like only yesterday" but....

Anyway, the real yesterday was uneventful, with exception o two new loaves of fresh baked bread, and we mostly stood watches and slept.   We crossed the 2,500 mile marker...that's good.

May 7

Hard to believe, another sunrise in the middle of nowhere.

Not much happened yesterday.  Am still chasing down, for the time being, some electrical problems that have cropped up.  This particular one involves lighting in the passageway between salon and aft cabin.   Neither light will work.  Traced problem to a broken/wet wire in engine room, reconnected, but not getting enough voltage.  Will need to replace entire wire run.

We passed mile marker 2,600.  Looks like we making some progress at least.  Another of our friends just dropped anchor in Nuku Hiva yesterday.  Of course we are envious, since they left Mexico a week after us!

Well, we're cripple, so we can claim an excuse....
Yes, there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

May 8

It's nice to have the technology to be able to communicate with just about anyone, anywhere in the world, anytime.  All while using one of oldest methods of propulsion....

Yesterday's highlight was restoring the ability for our wind indicator up on top of the main mast to communicate wind speed and direction to us via the data screen on our chart plotter.  Working with Christoph, from the company that built the unit, a break in the wire between the unit's controller box and the power supply from the steering station due to corrosion.  The break was repaired and the two units are chatting and once again providing useful navigation information.

Spaghetti dinner.  Driving the yacht.... 

May 9, 2017 8:19:05 AM CDT

We are officially back in our drifting-with-the-current mode once again.  Wind died a couple of hours before sunset and is still absent this morning.  We made 11 knots over past 9 hours.  Oh well, it was calm enough to wash my hair at 0245 this morning.

Yesterday's highlight was tackling the job of getting the crumpled pile of shredded jib sail off the pulpit at nose (pulpit) of the boat.  I was kind of hoping that I could salvage the top half of the sail to tie off bottom and hoist top part to get some more wind catching capability.  But it was a no go because it ripped just above where the tie-off lines would have worked.

So it's in two bundles stuck in a nook and cranny on the foredeck.  At least we now have access to the anchors to drop, should we ever find the day when that opportunity arises.

Got the Lenovo up and working,  finally getting it to boot in safe mode and creating two new users with Admin privileges.  Between backing up and transferring files, whole process took about 30 hours.  But I have my weather forecasting application back and talking to the Iridium GO! to download the forecasts.

Well, the sun is up and thus far a fairly nice lazy looking day.

May 10

Passed the 2,700 mile point yesterday morning (after I sent the 0800...) at 0903.  Of course little did I know that we would travel only 26 miles through 0735 THIS morning!   We may still have outdone Kon Tiki....
Our chart plotter showing our progress through Doldrums

Spent the sluggish day yesterday dealing with computer issues.  One bit the dust permanently and the other I had to restore back to factory condition and reload applications and all the backup files.  Unfortunately my weather application won't install because the required Windows Updates have not been installed, and having no internet access, can't do so.  So will have to rely on friends waiting in the harbor to download and text me that info.

Attempted to jump the starter motor.  Got lots of arcs and sparks (as advertised) and heard start motor spin, but didn't have enough battery left to continue experiment.  We try again today.

You know, when one crosses the equator, they become a Shellback.  Just didn't realize that the "shell" part was so heavy as to slow us down THIS much!  I'm ready for a beer, but it looks like it will be awhile yet before we can belly up to a bar. ....

May 11

Tried again to jump start main engine by shorting out solenoid for starter motor.  Got starter to turn but solenoid wouldn't engage the flywheel.  So we continue our drift southwards...and contemplate next move.

Finished clearing up the mess around the pulpit and mounted two solar panels back up there.  I had noticed a pretty low daily output in amperage from the solar array.  Finally tested to find none of the panels at back end of boat were putting anything out.  Looks like another wire corrosion issue to deal with.  Anyway, the additional two up front ought to help in the interim.

We still have some 439 miles to go, having passed the 2,750 mile marker this morning.  Yesterday we covered a whopping 17 miles in 24 hours!  Had a couple of rain showers during the night, but nothing more.

And who would have guessed we'd be rationing butter?  Guess we eat more than we should be.  Not critical, just interesting.

Sun has made its way up over the plethora of clouds surrounding the perimeter of "our little world"..... 

May 12

Finally got holding tank/waste water pump problem straightened out.  Nancy pleased to be able to use "her head" once again.  What a great Anniversary present, no?

Recharged house batteries and made water. Added solar panels that we had stowed away to make room for the jib long ago.   Went from 43 Ah to 148 Ah yesterday!  Still need to deal with the third array and get it up
and running once again.

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary....on the high seas heading to exotic places....

Crossed 5° S at 2353 (0653z). At 134 30.329w.  Passed 2,800 mile point this morning.  Sun is up and we are moving.  About 380 miles to go.... 

May 13

Day 45 at sea.  Who would have guessed this
would be an journey of epic proportions...
Wind speed 

Yesterday morning, the skies filled in with some pretty thick clouds, as far as the eye can see (which was about 24 miles on all points of the compass),  but nothing on radar indicating any rain pockets.  So we had just started a little anniversary party when the wind came roaring in and the skies started dumping rain on us.  After scratching the festivities and scrambling to close hatches and prepare for getting wet.  Well, for the next hour or so, the rain washed the boat but the wind just roared at nearly 28-29 knots, changing direction several times.  And wouldn't you just know it?  Mr. Murphy was right there to add more complication to the already bad situation.  Somehow, he managed to steal virtually ALL of the hydraulic fluid out of our steering system, making us extremely vulnerable to the vagaries of the wind!  Scary indeed.  The rain stopped and the wind receded to a manageable 18 knots, allowing me to get more hydraulic fluid into the tank behind the ship's wheel.
We then set the sails appropriately and took a sled ride for the rest of the day and well into the early morning hours.  We are STILL riding on the back of that huge storm.....nothing else broke, so THAT'S good!
Our RADAR showing one of the squalls that overtook us

Did manage to put together a small dinner and half a glass of wine.  Exhausted crew going to catch up on rest.  We're JUST coming to 2,900 mile marker.  Nuku Hiva is 311 miles down the road, and we just crossed 6° S.... 

May 15

Yesterday, we were sailing at a fairly good speed for a change.  The storms had a lot of wind left over that we put to good use.  We did need to go a bit more west, but the boat doesn't take well to having the wind come up her skirt from behind, 30° either side.  And wouldn't you know it, that's the direction where our wind comes yesterday we turned due west (270°) for 20 miles to help all of the south (180°) sailing we've been doing, and the currents in the doldrums have been pushing us.

We probably will need to do the same today...don't want to miss our target at this late stage...220 miles to go.
Had meat loaf, corn, and sticky rice for dinner.  Yum!

We passed the 3,000 mile marker, AND the 7°S Latitude line juas after 0300 this morning. Small squalls during the night that were quite manageable..... 

May 17

In a mess again, so short email.

Nancy baked bread.  I ate a third of one while hot out of oven.

Lots of heavy duty watching.   Our best mileage - 98!  We tired of steering.

Another piece of deck equipment broke on the wee hours requiring time on deck (an hour) to at least allow use of stay sail.  It ended up being dropped and raised three times before rigging was marginal but working.
First landfall in 49 days...Hua Huku

Saw land this morning.  Hua Huku is island just east of "our island".  Hopefully we land today.  Fingers crossed.   

Arrived Nuku Hiva this late evening and dropped the anchor and 300 feet of chain in 58 feet of water about 2230.  

We were gratefully assisted by crew from Rob (s/v Tiger Beetle) and Greg (s/v Beach Flee), who tied a dinghy to us and pushed us through the pitch black night into the inner part of the bay to a place we could drop anchor.  Thanks, guys!

We had traveled 3,266 nautical miles since March 30.  We were never in any real danger, but we did have some exciting periods along the way.  We're happy to have been able to drop the anchor and look forward to some extended rest before we plunge into the repair game.