Position at 23.30 UTC Tuesday 6th May: 21 deg 53 min south, 175 deg 43 min west
Distance travelled in the last 24 hours: 154 nm
Sailing became a little frustrating last night as the wind showed signs of dying, causing us to hand-steer and do some mental arithmetic as to how far our remaining diesel would take us if it came to having to use the engine. At one point Dianne was glued to the wheel as a huge rain squall came over and soaked her; she stayed at her post and was amazed to find that her fleece top dried very quickly in the warm breeze that followed it.
Thankfully, though, this morning has dawned bright and sunny with a blue sky dotted with little fluffy clouds (this is a recognised metrological term, usually abbreviated to LFC ) and the sun-polished waves are alive with flying fish; best of all, the wind has returned to about 16 knots so we're charging along with a sparkly white wake. It's now properly warm so we don't expect the fleece tops to make another appearance and the solar panels are, for the first time on the passage, really earning their keep as the batteries are now fully-charged.
As dawn broke we saw the solitary island of 'Ata about 17 miles to port and we're looking forward to seeing the low island of Tongatapu ahead of us later this afternoon.
During this morning's radio net we learnt that Kiapa is safely arrived in Tongatapu and that several other boats have set sail from Opua; in all there were 13 boats at sea and it sounds as though the Customs team at Opua will be busy with more departures in the next two days. A couple of boats radioed in from harbour, including our Canadian friends Tom & Kim on 'Exit Strategy' from Auckland, nearly a thousand miles away! They are flying home to Vancouver this weekend for the northern hemisphere summer so will leave the boat on the hard, returning to her in November to restart their travels.
Happy birthday to Mick and Barbara (for the 6th)!