04.11.2017

Good night south sea

After a beautiful sunset with a beautiful moonrise we're heading into our first night out again. All calm, hoping the wind does not die completely.

03.11.2017

On the road again

Road? Ok, no, ocean. Half an hour out we can hardly see our sheltering island of the last 4 days. We enjoyed it despite the fact that Marcus hardly had any time and I did not have much either. But yesterday we went snorkling and Manta watching (actually it's a devil's ray) all together and then went for sundowner with Harry and Katu ashore. The first relaxing moment knowing that everything os fixed as much as possible, washing done and boat cleaned.
So now we're off to the first place this year that Marcus and I have never been to. The direct route would be possible to sail in 3,5 days, but with the wind directions we have to make detours so it's take us close to 5 days at least.
Our fresh food is almost gone, there is a bit of zucchini left as well as potato, pumpkins and onions. That'll do for the next two weeks, then that's the end to anything fresh other than fish. :-( The fishing lines are out.

Attached is the last view of Suwarrow and a shot from yesterday when it was calm and colourful

02.11.2017

update: watermaker running

So on the last try this morning after the cleaning of the membrane and the installation of a taken apart - lubricated - and put back together new ETD the watermaker finally decided to stop teasing Marcus. So now it works- although with one filter less. Hopefully for more than just a bit.
The sad news is we have to leave tomorrow - without a day to relax, especially for Marcus. So we have to clean up (that's going to be a lot of work, especially since the bilge is full of water) have to do more laundry, we have to check out and swap fuel.....And of course I am preparing food, so I have bread and pizza dough sitting there and will also make heaps of spaetzle tonight...
At least this morning I quickly paddled to my friend and he showed up so I am happy I got a snapshot. At least that. If time allows we'll go snorkling on a nicer place this afternoon.

More pets

The most inhabitants that Suwarrow has are hermit crabs. I love these guys. And there are a million out there. Especially in the afternoon, when they all come out. These guys fight over coconuts. That's so funny to watch. I could sit there all day and watch them.

Suwarrow, Manta Ray and the watermaker

There are quite some things I wanted to write about, but sad news is putting its shade over this place: despite all the work and love Marcus put into the watermaker he can't get it to work. So, that means we have to save save save water. And use the rain water from here. We do the dishes in the salt water with a minimal rinse in fresh (now rain) water. We are able to do our laundry on land using the ranger's watertank (I did heaps today). The tank is full and since they are leaving in 3 weeks (they were supposed to be picked up this week) they said we can have water. Starting tomorrow we'll do a million runs with our big blue bucket which holds I think about 30 liters to fill up 400 liters of water. It just poured down rain but that's just enough for a nice shower, nothing more. I love jumping around in the rain, especially when it's as hot as it is here and the rain is the only refreshment. When you go into the ocean it's just like jumping into a baby pool. So warm. After an
hour it starts cooling you down a little bit. Like yesterday when I snorkeled where the Manta ray is supposed to come in the morning and after about half an hour the completely black one, my favorite, showed up and came up swimming right to my face to check out what's going on. For those of you who don't know them, they are BIG. This one is quite "small" though with a wingspan of only about 3,5 meters. They are so humble, so elegant, so friendly. With all that's going on here I did not have time to visit them today - actually when I did I could not see the buoy of where to go, so I did not find the place in my Kajak. The sun was too low and the waves too high.

What brings us and the tangers closer than last time, way closer, is the fact that a) we're the only and last boat and b) the rangers are stuck and running out of supplies. They have to wait for someone to pick them up. They just found out yesterday that that won't happen until in three weeks. All their supplies were calculated for a pick up this week. When they get dropped mid may they are dropped with food and fuel to last for 4,5 months. If they are in need of something they have to rely on the sailors coming in here to give them something. We are boat number 53 for this year. All they wanted from us after we offered was tea. And now some more for the longer stay. That's no problem. But they also run out of fuel for the generator and that's a problem because we have little fuel and don't know when we next can get one. They say in Penrhyn, but for sure?? Anyways, since their boat - or better the outboard - also quit it's service we will swap their remaining ready mixed outb
oard fuel with pure fuel. So they have hopefully some power for the rest of their stay. They do have a solar panel and batteries but somehow that stuff is all broken. After my washing (which I transported back and forth with my Kajak, including the bucket) I came back with our voltmeter to check solar panel output, battery and their battery charger. Nothing worked. The batteries have 10V - so they are basically dead, the output of the solar panels is 10V - that's not sufficient either.
So, while we have no water they have no power. So we try to help each other. I brought them fresh bread yesterday which I had just made. They gave me coconut ;-)
I have to say the rangers are doing a wonderful job in keeping this place clean and beautiful. There is Harry, who has been beautifully managing this place for the past 6 years, and his new help, Katsu, a younger guy full of ideas, an artist, a strong guy, creative and learning and hard working (if he has to ;-)). I see him cleaning the beach from leaves every day. He has shown me his paintings / drawings, his amazing carving and the videos and music he made / composed. Wow, so inspiring, so unusual for an island person. He is the sample of a person where the "materials" coming from the west do good. With computer, tablet and phone he can video and compose music. He is also a dancer (traditional) and does choreographies for the yearly Cook island dance competition, having on 4 times in a row. I would love spending more time and sharing more creativity and learning about their culture and drawing (he showed me a technique in the sand). he loved his time out here in Suwarrow, w
orking on his ideas, making big plans. He is dreaming bid an I am sure he will make it come true. Right now he is also writing a screenplay based on a traditional story. I have hardly ever met someone so encouraged, fun, realxed and working at the same time, a natural talent in so many ways. Quite unbelievable to find that out here. He is a perfect match for Harry who is very disciplined, organized and does the fishing. They got along so well. It raises my spirit.

31.10.2017

Meet our pets

We have 3-5 sharks always circling the boat. Would you go swimming? When I do the dishes at the back of the boat I could pet them. Haha. I go swimming, in the meantime I don't care anymore. They are more afraid of me than me of them.
What a great calm night it was. Only down side: rain - no rain - rain - no rain. That means: hatch open - hatch close - hatch open - close...So that disturbed my sleep a bit. With closed hatches there is no air in the boat. It's so hot here. I have to move outside for sleeping, it's unbearable downstairs especially in the back cabin. No airstream.

First day Suwarrow

Poor Marcus had the sh.. job, literally: he dismantled the broken toilet (which he partly already cleaned under way last night taking the s... out by hand with gloves; thanks tough man). Meanwhile I mixed the bread to let it sit all day. After the nice smell work :-( we jumped into the water, onto the sharks. While the boys just did a short dip I took my kajak and took off snorkeling for a long while and then I ended up on the hammock under the palm tree and fell asleep! Zzzzzz. Oh boy, that felt so good!
Later I talked to one of the Rangers who opened me a coconut. He is a true artist, does and teaches painting, does sculpture work and so much more and, most fun for me, also composes music (he plays the guitar) and is working on a movie script and the music for it. So, tomorrow we'll share some of our creative work! I am so excited about this. We talked for ever about so many things that my poor men on board were already worried they wouldn't get dinner (which I am going to serve in a couple of minutes). We'll all sleep like dead tonight despite our afternoon sleeps. Good night

Pictures: clouds like this big one all over the sky last night, all dark except for the lightnings...
Second picture: dismantled toilet. Bad smell. :-((

30.10.2017

At anchor im Suwarrow

A horrible night without sleep, winds 4 to mostly 7Bf gusting at 8Bf (over 30knots), a broken toilet and a diesel engine that decided to tell us it's overheating the moment we switched it on with a very loud alarm (despite no having run in 4 days!) was a real challenge for our nervs. Everytime I thought "ok, that's it, storm and lightning are through", a new one came. Never more than a break of 15 min. I stopped counting the tacks (wenden) and jibes (Halsen) we did while also changing sails between the genoa and the storm headsail. So, except for the last day our passage was good.
Boy it feels so nice to be at anchor, calm, the sun coming out and also knowing that the nice Rangers here have enough water to fill our tanks and for us to do some washing ashore. The Rangers are very nice, we had a lovely chat. They were supposed to have the last day today but since we came in they have to work a bit longer :-). They don't know anyways when a ship is coming to pick them up and which ship. The check in procedure took about 30 minutes and 20 forms to fill out.
Now: bacon and eggs breakfast. More later.

Spending the night at the entrance

At 5.30pm local time I saw land - Moti Tou, tue south western islands of the reef of Suwarrow. Shortly after we took the main sail down and eventually also the Genoa to now be hoved to with the small foresail. Why? Because we can't enter in the dark, it's too dangerous. So we have to spend 14hrs hanging out here around the north west corner from the entrance to the atoll. At least it's calm over here in the lee of the island - only small waves. We were hoping to be able to open some hatches to let air in but we encounter the same welcoming wash down as we did in Niue. Well, it's good to get the boat cleaned. Once it's clean we can start catching the rainwater. I might take a fresh water shower outside :-)

Position at 2109 board time: 13deg 12,8S and 163deg 10,4W

29.10.2017

Position day 3,5

Last morning the wind picked up and has been around 15-16kn all the time which means we're traveling at an average of a good 6-6,5kn with apparent wind of 18-20kn. Main sail in 2nd reef, genoa in reef as well. The air in the boat is very hot and humid and not refreshing making it a bit difficult to sleep downstairs. We are 16hrs / about 90nm away from Suwarrow. However, since we can't drive into the atoll at night (way too dangerous with all the corals) we will have to slow down and, if necessary, hove to (beidrehen) to wait for the sun to be up high enough for us to enter (2-3hrs after sunrise). We should actually also change our local time, as Suw. is in the next time zone, UTC -10. Captain and cree are well up and well fed.
I am enjoying my nightshift admiring this beautiful nightsky with a gazillion of little white dots, more or less bright, in and around a brilliantly clear Milky Way.

Position at 0315 local time (UTC -11) Oct 29, 2017: 14deg 21,7S and 164deg 18,6W