28.10.2017

Position

A good calm sailing day passed by without any events. All well up.
Position at 0000 local time (11UTC):
16deg 06,9S and 166deg 20,1W

27.10.2017

A day in the life of a sailor

The day started with a beautiful sunrise at the end if my first shift. A gorgeous day with some pretty little clouds, not too much wind and still small waves. For most of the days we were gliding through the water at slow speed, which is comfortable sailing. At 12.20 we had to run the motor for an hour because the wind had basically died. It was then that Marcus wanted to run the watermaker - as always when the engine is on, like last night when we started in Niue. Just that this time one of the pre-filters (25micron) exploded. Overpressure. Marcus took the filter out and changed the connection. But still too much pressure. He had to take the ETD out, the main device that controls the waterflow if I am right. A big heavy part. He put the old replacement one in, but now there is not enough pressure. At least the fresh water flush worked so the membrane will survive without algae production in it. Poor Marcus was standing and sweating in the very front (bow) in the saillocker w
here the watermaker lives. Thank god it was a calm sailing day. We are continuing to Suwarrow as Marcus is positive he will be able to fix the ETD. In the meantime we are like most of the other sailing yachts, we have to be even more careful with water usage. No shower, no hair wash, dishes with salt water and a mini rinse in fresh water. We have 400l and we need to calculate to live on that for the next 4 weeks. Not a drama, but limiting. And if the repair in Suwarrow does not work, we have to think of a plan B. We can't take on water other than in Samoa (we were thinking of going to American Samoa, but it's almost impossible to get away from there into the direction we have to go) or Hawaii. Kiririmati is very dry so they most probably won't have water, neither does Penrhyn or Fanning. So, we hope plan A works.

Just after our dinner as Marcus was relaxing a bit a nice size Vahoo decided to give his life for us. So that was the next work for Marcus. Now we have about 20 nice filets in the fridge & freezer. As if nothing has happened the day ended with the same colours as the sunrise. Now I am on nightshift with the moon and the stars.
We are all well up and healthy.

Current position at 2110 local time (0810 UTC): 17deg26,4S and 168deg 31,3W

26.10.2017

On the move again

We have left Niue last evening and are heading NE, aiming for Suwarrow.
It was very calm last night, with winds under 10 knots, but we managed to sail close hauled nicely on course.
As expected towards the morning the wind shifted a bit to the north of east, so we had to bear away a bit. It will shift back towards the south tonight - hopefully.
All is good aboard.
Our position on 26.10.17 1725 UTC is 18°18.1'S 169°25.3'
COG 022°
SOG 6.0kn

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Nightshift #1

Pos at 0300: 18deg 35,9S and 169deg 35W

As I am sitting in my first nightshift out I am thinking of how spoilt we are being able to see this just amazing night sky. The longer I look up the more little dots come up. This view is always overwhelming for me and I can't stop looking up into infinity, knowing we're just one more of these little dots.
And then we also have our little stars next to Alita produced by the fluorescent algea. Just magic.

We left Niue without escort service. The dolphins had not been back after our 3 encounters on friday. So far it's a beautiful sail with little waves and light wind so we're smoothly riding along at 5.5-6.3 knots.

This last day in Niue was busy: getting one more jerry can full of diesel (we had one the day before as well) to fill up our tanks again to the maximum with what we had used on the way to Niue; filling up gas bottle; return rental car; final grocery shopping especially for our new crew member who sails with us all the way to Kiririmati; pre-cooking pasta salad & bread & banana bread; dry bananas &papaya and store away; check out; blog; cook dinner, leave.

Checking out was a sensational different experience. We were picked up by the ministries van (old dirty van) and driven to a quite far away field out in the country where all of a sudden a big very modern but pretty building appeared. You can see where NZ puts its 25Million $ a year into this country. This building inside and outside is so out of the world in comparison to the rest of the country. Well I have to say that Niue is kept way better -prettier and cleaner - than then other pacific islands. No wonder, the people all hold NZ residency since many many years ago the Niueans pleaded to the Queen to take them as colony and after a while they were accepted and given into NZ care. NZ is trying every effort to make the Niueans independent and self containing. If you look around Niue it is crazy, all the foreign aid that's being given. New road by China, water tanks & solar by Japan, some infrastructure by the EU and all the rest by NZ. There is a funny story about the aid
of a Rescue boat by NZ. It was meant to be that boat (Tonga had received one as well). But in consequence it was: a trailer, a tractor to pull that thing, upgrade of the boat lift to accomodate the boat incl the (heavy) crew, a new lockable garage for the whole trailer and boat, training for people in driving the boat and in rescue operations, training in tractor driving. So far only one guy from the police can drive it...It seems kind of nice to live in a place where everything is given to you. At least they habe pride in showing their toys: brand new amazing firetruck, ambulance among other things. If they had to extinguish a fire in a village other than Alofi they would always be too late. The road has so many potholes they could not go fast enough.
They have little income on their own. Mostly tourism (which NZ is highly supporting e.g. by having built the Matavi resort) and vanilla production.
Anyways, it was strange to be on a pacific island and enter a building like with top modern work spaces, about 30 of them, and meeting rooms. Dress code: flipflops ("jandals"), shorts and T-Shirt. So we finally received our stamps for arrival - and at the same time for departure. Good thing that the date is adjustable. After we put our fee of $80 per person plus $15 for trash on the table we received a receipt and a beautifully sealed and tripple stamped customs clearing certificate. And then we were told to just sit and relax. The van was taken by someone and we had to wait for the return. Half an hour later we said we really have to go. Oh, surprise. They found another guy and van to drive us back to the wharf. What an experience. Good bye Niue. I shall come back by plane/land some time and enjoy the beauty.

Bye bye Niue

Time to say good-bye again. We're leaving Niue tonight, in a couple of hours. We had a great time here despite the rainy, holiday and sick start. I practiced some photography as you saw in the three last posts. Most of the raw material however is still unprocessed. We're heading to the uninhabited atoll "Suwarrow" next. The trip should take us about 4 days. I will keep you updated daily on the way. So long

24.10.2017

Togo chasm

A truly beautiful place. Gonna go back now once more for some photography with the real camera.

Paradise continues

Good news: Marcus and I are both almost recovered.
Today was the first day we actually could do real sightseeing. And so we did all the "long and hard" walks. That meant: 10-20min and max. 60meters height to walk over stairs... Niue really has so many neat places. A rock in the middle of the ocean with 64km pothole-street around it which is partly owned by dog gangs and huge chicken families. A place where beautiful tropical rainforest (reminded us of some parts in New Zealand South Island though) meets washed down lava that stands there like million soldiers watching over paradise. This big rock called Niue ends with a reef all around it and in that reef there are many pools good for snorkling. And then if you turn around and look towards land you might see a cave. Yes, there are many caves on this rock. Some saltwater, some fresh water filtered through that limestone/ lava over many years. We got to swim in a very cool cave today, which is really only doable when the sun is on its zenith so that light can come into this super narrow chasm. The widest part is about 3m but as you swim to the other side (with no idea what's underneath you in the deep dark) it gets to about 1m width for a long time. The swim from one side to the other is about 25m. Very neat. When you get hungry from all this adventure there are many really nice cafés. Today, at Hio's café, I had the best food in VERY long. Can't even remember when I had food that good and beautifully prepared.
With such a great lunch we were ready to do the last "long and hard" hike to cool arches which you reach on a path over sharp rocks and through another amazing cave in about 20 min from car park. Another simply amazing place. I could just watch all day.

So I totally agree with my friend Vicky who has just been here and given me lots of information in advance, I am in love with this little place! I hope I find net on wednesday to upload some pictures.

22.10.2017

Sunshine after rain

and light after dark. It stopped raining, I found a rental car so we're good until wednesday morning and the sun came out just before sunset so: Niue, here we come. After having enjoyed your culture for three days with the canoe and raft race as well as the agricultural show it's time to see your nature. Tomorrow, here we come.