Anila Day 4: Rain & Squalls

Summary: We are thankful the engine is running again and for the good wind we had last night, sailing at 7-9 kts. This morning we came into a rain and squall zone with confused seas and shifting winds again as we constantly adjust sails.
Position: 07 14.16 S 096 59.82 W at 12:30 pm CST
COG: 225 degrees m
Distance : 160 nm (24 hr), 610 nm total
Average Speed 6.7 kts (24 hr)
Distance to go to Hiva Oa: 2,500 nm
We had excellent sailing conditions and speed last light, however we are not so lucky today. It’s been nearly constant rain, squalls, confused seas and shifting winds. Latest forecasts show lighter winds coming our way so we’re trying to continue SW where we may find better conditions. We had to run the engine this morning to charge batteries as the generator exhaust is often below the waterline on our port tack. Later in the afternoon the winds started to straighten themselves out and as of 2:45 pm CST we’re not getting rocked as much and cruising along at 8.5 knots. We need to break out some brownies tonight for yummy dessert. Thank goodness we stocked up on a lot of good food.
Wildlife Sightings: More dead flying fish and squid on deck.

Hiva Oa Passage Day 3: Engine Trouble

Summary: Yesterday’s wind was short-lived, and we’re back to motoring with variable winds and side-to-side rolling conditions. But then our trusty engine puttered out just as we thought we’d soon see wind. Not surprisingly, progress is slower than we had hoped.
Position: 06 17.93 S 094 51.65 W at 22:30 UTC
COG: 241 degrees m
Distance : 142 nm (24 hr), 450 nm total
Average Speed 5.9 kts (24 hr)
Distance to go to Hiva Oa: 2,649 nm
The winds disappeared once again yesterday afternoon around 3 pm and we returned to motoring when our speed dropped to 2.5 kts with variable wind direction and speed. Later we tried to take advantage of slight SW winds by heading more south. So far the PredictWind forecasts (PWG and PWE in particular) have not borne much resemblance to actual conditions encountered. Wind direction has often been 90-180 degree difference and speed completely variable. Based on forecasts we thought we would catch better winds by this morning, but the calm zone seems to be moving along with us. The latest forecast again shows the calm winds tracking along with us and we’re getting a little bummed out.
At least that’s what I thought at 12:45 pm when the engine RPMs started surging up and down. A quick check of the Racor fuel filter bowls and vacuum gauge didn’t reveal anything wrong. Our next suspect was the engine fuel filter. A quick check with the aux fuel pump indicated restricted flow through the engine primary filter. We dug into the spare parts inventory and replaced both the primary and secondary filters with new ones. For good measure we ran the aux pump again to prime the system and noted a definite difference in flow rate between the old and the new. Low and behold the engine started up and ran once again. We are relieved to get back to reading, resting, and apparently not schoolwork. We managed to sail 14 nm in 3.5 hours during the repair with very light winds (attempted spinnaker was too floppy with the rollers).
We hope there wasn’t any issue related to heat or run time and shall see again soon if the winds remain stalled, but for now we’re enjoying some peace and quiet while we scour over the latest forecasts for our next move.
Wildlife Sightings: Seabirds and two flying fish on deck.

Day 2 Update for Hiva Oa Passage

Summary: We’re finally sailing after a little bit of everything.
Position: 04 46.26 S 092 53.73 W
COG: 202 degrees m
24 hour distance: 155 nm
Average speed 6.45 kts
Distance to go to Hiva Oa: 2,762 nm
Day 2 Summary: Our winds died down yesterday afternoon as we were back to motoring with flappy sails and no more favorable current (as far as we could tell). Fortunately the multi-directional waves subsided and the seas evened out making for a comfortable, if not slow, afternoon. This allowed the girls to make progress on some schoolwork and for us to catch some good afternoon naps. The sky cleared giving us a beautiful blue afternoon, but clouds were looming on the horizon.
Later into the evening we were able to deploy more sails to try to take advantage of wind with a real direction. After midnight we put out the spinnaker again and were able to get back over 7 kts of speed, whereas we had been in the low 6s most of the day. Just after 3 am, Satin alerted Dave and Camille to increasing wind speeds and an approaching squall. We leapt into action and got the spinnaker down (not without some difficultly and some rope burn) before we were hit with even strong wind and rain. You can see the sharp course correction on our tracking map while we managed the sails.
For the rest of the evening into early morning we motored again through constant rain and variable winds. Finally around 9 am the winds picked up from a steady N direction around the small low pressure bubble we’ve been skirting. Now we are sailing at 8 kts, close-hauled in 18-22 kts of wind with the engine finally shut down. We’re not sure how long this will keep up, but it looks like we’ll be moving SW/W with this current system and expect cloudy weather and rains until at least Saturday. It’s stuffy down below with the windows closed, but at least we’ve finally found some wind.
Wildlife Sightings: Tuesday afternoon we caught a nice 3.5 foot Wahoo but turned him loose because our refrigerator and freezer are packed full and we didn’t think we could eat it all for dinner. Playful dolphins 1/2 mile off the bow breaching and leaping about. Many seabirds keeping us company in the rain. A small flying fish in the cockpit this morning.

Day 1 Passage Update to Hiva Oa

We are going to try to post daily passage notes via our satellite email as we make our way from the Galapagos to Hiva Oa. This is a low bandwidth connection so we can’t add pretty pictures and can’t respond to comments until we arrive, but we hope you enjoy these updates.
Summary: Calm seas and nice afternoon and evening winds helped speed us out of the Galapagos. Now trying to escape light winds and rolly seas to get to the trades.
Position: 02 26.83 S 097 07.38 W
COG: 202 degrees m (has been 220, re-adjusting for tomorrow’s predicted winds)
22 hour distance: 153 nm
Average speed 6.95 kts
Distance to go to Hiva Oa: 2,831 nm as the frigate bird flies
Day 1 Summary: We checked out and bought some final supplies and souvenirs Monday morning (best find: cranberry juice). Nice afternoon winds from the aft beam allowed us to fly with the main and asymmetrical spinnaker until nearly midnight, with motor assist to charge batteries and make water. This morning we have light and variable winds with waves from multiple directions creating rolly conditions. Lots of rain washing deck clean. Kyra bumped her head and has been icing it, moving around is challenging. Based on forecasts, it looks like we have at least another day under power to reach better winds. We can’t wait.
Wildlife sighting: 2 squid on deck were returned to the ocean (Camille says #savethesquid). 2 whales of some sort passed by this morning. A giant moth.

Birthday Girl – Camille

October 13 – The birthday girl sleeps in and then is served Starbucks coffee, French toast with real maple syrup, bacon and fruit along with a Princess balloon. Later we went to a non-descript Italian restaurant in downtown Chula Vista – the food was amazing! Highly recommend Italianissimo Trattoria at 323 Third Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91910.