DAY 1: We were all giddy with excitement as we raised the anchor and set the sails. Our plan was to head south until we caught the trade winds, then use them to carry us all the way to Marquesas. The creatures made a caterpillar out of paper, the first segment having 100 written on it, and the last 3000. The idea is to pull off a segment every 100 nautical miles.
Our first sunset of the voyage was beautiful.
DAY 2: We found the trades and are on a port tack sailing between 9 and 10 knots. If we keep up this speed we’ll be there way before our three week estimation. The creatures built a blanket fort in the main salon to cut the glare on the TV so they could watch a movie during the day. Mycah kicked Kjira and Jude’s butt at wall sits. We’ve been through two squalls now – they washed all the salt off the boat.
DAY 3: We woke up to a deck full of squid and flying fish. We are going to keep a tally of how many we end up with over the entire trip. Jude was so sweet to make Danny a flying fish sandwich on moldy bread. In the night we reefed both main and jib which took us down to 7 knots, but are back up at 9-10 this morning. All the bananas are ripening. I figured that if we get sick of them I’ll just freeze some for banana bread. I have two loaves in the oven right now. I’m so proud of Kjira, she hasn’t been sea sick once!
DAY 4: I made 2 loaves of cheesy French bread and 2 loaves plain French bread today. The cheese one was quite hit. We caught an over 6ft long marlin and Danny did beautifully reeling it in and filleting it. We got enough meat for 10 meals for the 7 of us. Here in the South Pacific, one need not catch a whole bunch of fish because they are huge. Just one or two would feed us for the entire trip. Danny called me to the bow at about 10pm, where he and the creatures were standing watching the brilliant bioluminescence. What made it even more magical, was that a single bottlenose dolphin was bow riding, leaving a glittering trail around its body and all behind it. Each time it exhaled while underwater, an even larger eruption of bright sparkles broke out and made their way to the surface. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
DAY 5: Another great day of sailing. We set the spinnaker and are back up at 9 knots again. The creatures made my Dad’s hot sauce today and we ate some of it with fish (marlin) tacos for dinner with caramelized plantains. It was delicious. We have reached our 1/3rd of the distance mark and celebrated with South African crunchy bars. I made more banana bread. Aidan is a madman…a goofball.
DAY 6: Danny opened up the starboard engine room to find 2 ft of standing water today. The bilge pump had failed and seawater was coming out of the rudder post. Aidan pulled buckets of water out and once it was all over Danny inspected then worked on rigging up another bilge pump. He grease the leaking area generously and since then the leak has stopped. It seems to leak more when we are in high rolling following seas. Jude took the time to sit and hand Danny tools and while she was at it, sorted through and reorganized it all. I made steak fajitas for dinner tonight and the crew feasted and enjoyed. Mycah spent three hours on Kjjira’s hair today, she now has a head full of corn rows and little braids. She beautiful.
DAY 7: We have under 1800 nm to go, all still feel good and are loving the sail. I haven’t once tired of the beauty of the ocean nor the gentle sway and roll of Tanda Malaika over the swells. We’ve changed our clocks back an hour and will do it again once we reach our 1000 nm to go mark.
Our dwindling bunch of bananas has served us well. I’m so glad I paid the $15 for it. Everyone is enjoying fresh bananas, endless loaves of banana bread and smoothies. Today we will eat the last watermelon for lunch. Our fresh produce has been lasting us well. I grilled marlin for dinner with a balsamic rosemary reduction, it was quite a hit.
DAY 8: Kjira got us all started on an exercise routine today. Twenty five laps running around the boat, starting at the stern, forward up the starboard deck, run over to the port deck and on the way do lunges, run to the stern down port then back across the stern. We worked up quite a sweat! Tomorrow we’ll do thirty laps. We have been playing so many games. I’m the official Monopoly Queen – luck has been on my side. We finally removed the last of the bananas from the Goliath bunch purchased in Galapagos. Not one went to went and none of us will be suffering from low potassium levels! In about 75nm we will reach our half way mark…I could do this forever.
DAY 9: May 1st. We passed half way in the night so when I got up for my 4am watch I baked cinnamon rolls and planned a scavenger hunt with a big candy bar and a bottle of coke for each person, to celebrate. Seas are REALLY flat today. I think we’ve hit the doldrums. I made steak fajitas for dinner.
DAY 10: Emma is knitting a beanie for Kjira, and is doing a beautiful job. Everyone continue to busy themselves with school work, reading, games, exercise, eating and sleeping. Still no wind.
DAY 11: The wind picked up considerably, which is awesome after two days of doldrums. Half way through the day the spinnaker halyard snapped and the spinnaker flew out into the water and under the boat. I jumped in to see what it was hung up on, and landed perfectly on a Portuguese Man of War. It’s tentacles which are covered in stinging cells wrapped around my legs from calf to thigh, my back and chest, arms and face. When I felt the intense sting I told Jude, who had just jumped in, to back away, and she did as she was stung on her belly, back and shoulder. She reached over and pulled the blue bottle part of the man of war off her shoulder, and climbed back on the boat. I dove down to see where the sail was hung up, and as I surfaced, I was once again wrapped up in another series of stinging tentacles. My muscles started to ache and freeze up in all the areas I’d been stung, and I became nauseated. I finally made it back on deck and found that Judes muscles ached too. We all worked together to drag the spinnaker up the sugar scoop and to the bow, and Jude and I quickly found that the hot sun on our stings made them feel like they were on fire! Using Mycah’s loofa, we doused our stings in vinegar, which helped for about ten seconds then stung like the dickens once more again. I feel like such a baby writing about all this, because I generally quite enjoy pain, but this was such a sting/muscle ache/nausea combo of feelings that it was tough to enjoy. Finally the one thing that brought some relief, was an allergy pill. It seemed to take the edge off the and allow us to relax and enjoy the experience a bit more.
Kjira mixed up a paste of baking soda and water, and that also brought a much appreciated cooling relief.
DAY 12: We ran laps around the boat today, doing lunges as we crossed over the bow. What great exercise. We also sent Jude up the mast in the bosuns chair to rerun the spinnaker halyard line down inside the mast. She did well being up that high with the boat movement, but will most definitely have some intense bruising on her legs. The spinnaker has a couple of small tears in it from the ordeal.
The crew are all in good spirits. We laugh a lot and play a lot. Danny became obsessed with a game on his computer and only really surfaced to eat for the first week of the trip. The creatures watch a few episodes of Seinfeld every night, and I spend a considerable amount of time in the galley preparing tasty things for everyone to enjoy. Tonight we’ll have Artichoke chicken with couscous for dinner. Flying fish and squid are not as plentiful on the deck in the mornings.
DAY 13: After 13 days at sea, we haven’t seen another soul or vessel, just wide open ocean all around, and 12-19000 ft of it below us. Late this morning, Emma ran out the stern salon doors, pointing off our starboard side and yelling excitedly that a pallet was floating by. We of course, all had to see and appreciated the rich brown color of wet wood as it bounced over the waves. It was an amazing sight after this many days of nothing but blue ocean and blue skies. Who knew a wooden pallet could get such attention! When we went to raise the spinnaker we realized that no one had remembered to put a stopper knot in the bitter end, so we had to send Mycah up the mast this time and rerun the spinnaker line! Emma wrote a note, placed it in a bottle and sent it flying over the stern. Her prediction is that it will make landfall in Japan or on some island in the South Pacific. We think the gecko family that have been with us for 2 years now, are getting a little hungry. We must be running low on bugs, because they are venturing our more and more. Jude, Mycah and Kjira have started watching a TV series together. I love my girls so much. What a beautiful sunset again tonight.
DAY 14: We caught a big fat Bigeye Tuna today. It was such a fat fish! Danny was on the rod, and Kjira gaffed it like a pro. She is now our official gaffer lady!!!
The creatures made sushi, which we enjoyed for dinner along with tuna steaks, cinnamon sugar squash and a tomato/cucumber salad. They decided it was easier to leave the sushi rolls whole rather than cut them, and called them ‘sushito’s.’
DAY 15: Kjira made her world famous perogies with the creatures, and we enjoyed them for dinner, They were so delicious. Our fresh food supply is holding up so well. We still have fresh potatoes, beets and squash – aside from frozen and canned veggies. It rained most of the day, so we all read, played and watched shows today. I made caramel corn and we all felt cozy and satisfied. Tanda Malaika is performing so well. She takes such good care of us. Her hulls have a brown growth on them and will need a thorough scrub when we make landfall. We have sailed at 13 knots for some stretches and she still feels so comfortable. We love our home.
DAY 16: We have had wonderful wind again. On a run with spinnaker raised and huge swells greet us at the stern and push us forward. We took the 500 mile segment off the worm today, which is another huge milestone. I baked South African Crunchies for all to enjoy, and we saw our first frigate bird. Kjira is such an amazing artist, and started a gorgeous drawing of a squid today. I love her talent. Today is our sweet Ashley’s 26th birthday. We wish she were here too. We messaged her and tried to call, but the sat phone didn’t jive with the universe for some reason. I think I’ll make beef stroganoff for dinner.
DAY 17: After 17 days at sea, we decided it time to tackle Aidan’s hair…I was afraid that dreadlocks were forming. Jude patiently washed it, lathered it in leave in conditioner and slowly combed through his incredibly tight curls. We love his hair. Allis right in the world on his head once again. I shaved my legs for the first time in 17 days – had to replace the cord on the weed whacker 3 times but got the job done. Our boat seems to be sitting nighter in the water now!
The ocean was calm and the sunset so beautiful this evening. I just never tire of it.
DAY 18: We caught another huge Marlin today, which is awesome because we just have one marlin fillet left in the freezer. As this one approached the stern, it decided to scramble up the sugar scoop and stabbed Kjira in the thigh when she went to gaff it. We doctored her up and she’ll be fine. If it leaves a scar, that’ll be a fun one to tell stories about! I love the way we have been getting short downpours in the afternoons. It washes salt off everything.
DAY 19: This is our last full day at sea for this voyage. I have mixed feelings about it. I did laundry this morning and while scrubbing away, Danny announced he could see another vessel on the AIS about 6 miles to starboard. The first sign of human life in 19 days! He radioed them and they are a British couple who are on day 22 of their voyage. I made a big potato salad for everyone for lunch, and tonight I’ll bake some pizzas for dinner, that should put another big smile on the crews faces.
LATER….We made it safely to Hiva Oa!!! Since we knew we’d make landfall in the dark, we lowered sails and motored slowly on one engine through the night, timing our arrival to be at sunrise, and are so glad we did. Twenty miles from land we could start to smell the rich aromas of earth and foliage, like a dense stew of palms, flowers and dirt. In the darkness, land masses looked like sleeping giants floating on the ocean. As the morning light swelled we could make out the texture of land, and the grandness of the mountains. Many shades of green, palms standing tall, bright scrub, large leafed shade and fruit trees and dark long scraggly pines covered the landscape among dark boulders the color of creamy milk chocolate. The morning sun bathed the mountains in a soft glow that welcomed us in. There is something amazing about traveling 3042 nautical miles all while never leaving home, then finally anchoring…home once again.