Hello from 23:54S/171.17E at 15.00 Ship's Time.
It's Saturday afternoon on Maunie and, with around 230 nm to go, we anticipate an arrival in Aneityum, Vanuatu to be very late Sunday or early Monday. Indeed some key points of passage planning are when to set off, when you're going to get to the other end and in what conditions (plus all the bits in between). A quick calculation of different boat speeds sees a range of ETAs; the fastest would give an arrival at midnight on Sunday whilst our current 6 kts would get us in at roughly 05.00 on Monday morning. Thrown into this equation is the slightly increased wind speed forecast by our weather router, Bob. Normally on Maunie we'd be going for speed and grabbing the chance to fly the Parasailor at every perfect opportunity. We've developed a bit of a reputation with our 'posh sail'!
This morning presented that perfect slot and the Maunie crew weighed up all the pros and cons. A safe arrival in the dark is definitely feasible as we have almost a full moon, the area is well charted with lots of information and waypoints plus our friends on S/Y Iolea will have arrived ahead of us in daylight so will be able to offer helpful hints. On the other hand if the winds are going to increase we'd end up taking the Parasailor down (possibly in the middle of tonight and involving all three of us). So staying with white sails it is and a nice steady 6 kts....for now!
Meanwhile our 3 hours on, 6 hours off watch system continues to work well. The daytime watches are a little more relaxed with off-watch crew grabbing a snooze if they want. That's getting more of a challenge during the day as temperatures increase – the fans are going in the cabins (or is that snoring?) At night, the watches roll on so we all get a variety of times over a 3 day pattern. The favourite one always tends to be the 04.00 to 07.00 slot as it includes the dawn. This morning's was clear blue sky! No doubt we'll all be there on that watch to look out for land fall on Monday morning so perhaps another reason not to rush to get there.
No whales to report today but thank you to Graham's Mum for suggesting the possibility of a pygmy-beaked-whale. If this was the sighting, they are rare but certainly seen in these waters. To the other extreme, Laura experienced her first flying fish today. It was tiny in her hand.
Finally, our main prepared meals are finished and we now need to prepare from scratch. But lunchtime saw a hearty and warming home-made soup with Graham's famous bread rolls. Maunie remains the boat that likes to eat so we better get that fishing line out!