Like A Horse To The Barn

Miles traveled day 13: 130
Miles traveled day 14: 114
Miles traveled day 15: 119
Miles traveled total: 1,708
Miles to Majuro (as of 11/10): 196

Since the last update we’ve had some marvelous days and nights sailing, and we’ve had some real stinkers. Last night just before dinner I tried to outrun what we thought was just another growing squall. We managed to get to an edge of it as it began to pass, but then it started growing and growing. Pretty soon the radar was showing us completely surrounded by rain for 8 miles all around us. The wind was piping up and gusting to 35 and the rain was just pouring down. And it poured for hours. For the first time in 3 years of cruising we chose to just batten down the hatches and wait it out inside. When Rob woke me at 11:00 the rain had stopped, but there was another cell forming just upwind of us. Rats, it was another monster squall, this time with 40 knots of wind and driving rain. But it only lasted a couple of hours and when I woke Rob at 2:00 I was happy to report that the rain was done for the moment.

Last night on the PacSea net I was told by the net controller that he had been looking at a weather chart for our area, and his conclusion agreed with our Buoyweather passage forecast that there would be no wind at all here today. We’ve got plenty of fuel left and can easily motor the rest of the way in. Imagine my surprise when the wind piped up at sunrise and I rolled out the jib and shut off the motor. Pretty soon it had built to 20 knots on our beam and we were screaming along at 7 knots. That would be all well and good, but we get to the edge of Majuro atoll in 60 miles and don’t want it to be in the middle of the night. So I’ve rolled in the jib and slowed us to 4 knots, hoping for a sunrise approach to the atoll. It’s had to try and go slow in good wind after 16 days of trying to go fast in light winds. But we really don’t like being anywhere near land in the middle of the night, even though we have paper charts and radar and chart plotters and multiple gps units all telling us exactly where we are and where land is.


We should be on a buoy and checked in by noon tomorrow. First order of business in town after checking in is buying cat litter. Poor Maya is literally scraping the bottom of the box. Little did we expect to not find any after we left Bora Bora, since it had been everywhere before there. We actually were planning a rendezvous with friends in Pago Pago to make a stealth stop on the way to Majuro and get some. Since the tsunami the port captain has increased the check-in fees to $150 for cruising boats, so it didn’t make sense to stop just for shopping at that price. But I had not received email confirmation that we could buy litter in Majuro, so I was getting pretty concerned. Our friends on Carina were arranging for us to either sneak in on Sunday and get to the store, or meet us in the harbor with cat litter in hand. Finally I heard back from the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) host at Majuro that we could buy three different kinds of cat litter there. Good news for all aboard, that’s for sure.

So now we’re plugging along at 4 knots, keeping the reigns in tight because after 16 days at sea and with 20 knots of wind Yohelah wants to sail to the buoy like a horse returning to the barn.