Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

NZ to Tonga Day 4 - A new crew member

Position at 00.00 UTC Saturday 3rd May: 29 deg 56 min south, 178 deg 39 min east
We're delighted to report that, since yesterday morning, we've been sailing for most of the time. At a sedate pace, it must be said, but it's lovely to have the silence. The engine on Maunie (a 56hp, 4-cylinder naturally-aspirated Yanmar 4JH3E diesel, if you're curious. Thought not.) is a pretty good installation in that it's mounted below the floor in the pilot house in a sound-insulated compartment so it's relatively quiet but, even so, after a few hours the noise does get on your nerves. Incidentally, before we left Opua we filled up the tank with fuel and it came to $170 (about £88); alongside us at the other pump was a 50ft blue-water motor yacht. Their pump stopped when it reached $999 (the credit limit on the self-service system) and their tank wasn't even one-third full!
So we've been making 5-6 knots in a north-easterly direction and after 3 days and 5 degrees of latitude, the temperature is already warming up. The duvet will be packed away soon we think! The sea has turned that lovely mid-blue of the deep Pacific and the wildlife is already starting to thin out. We had a dolphin escort on Day 1 but no sightings since and only the deep ocean skuas can be seen in the skies now. Apart from a little visitor we had yesterday, that is. A Swift, no doubt on some incredibly long migration, flew around us looking exhausted and even landed in the sea with his wings spread out on the surface. He managed to take off again and landed on the outboard motor on the stern rail for a couple of hours rest. We tried to tempt him with water and crumbs from freshly-backed muffins (a new night-watch snack!) but he just seemed to want a bit of kip and flew off a couple of hours later. Hope he makes it to wherever he's heading.
We are both slowly adjusting to the watch system and sleeping better off-watch but it'll take another couple of days before we do that wonderful fast-asleep-as-your-head-hit-the-pillow trick that only comes with tiredness bordering on exhaustion.


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