Sitting Out a Blow…..

Dear F&F,

June 20-21, 2010
Mopelia – Days #16-17
Sitting Out a Blow

A bit of cabin fever as we are onboard for Day #4. Not that easy/safe to lower, get in, get to shore (wet landing), then raise dingy with 15-20 knots of wind especially with my right hand not fully operational.

Last night Jerome visited us from about 5:30-7:30 p.m. I had only eaten 1/2 my dinner (lamb & green beans) but told him we were done, cleared the table, poured him red wine and we yacked. It was a lovely visit. He has all the endearing qualities of Alain Ades (our boat builder) & none of the b.s. Since he is the second owner of his Switch he did not have to endure Alain\’s antics, but heard all about him from the guy he bought the boat from. He loves to escape the mayhem on his own boat home with the 3 boys. We compared finger owies. His looks perfect, just a small scar, he went spear fishing again already. Scott burned him a CD of underwater photos of his dives with us & when son Leo snorkeled above. He was very happy.

Weather Report: Stronger winds so more boat motion. Taking seasick prevention meds all day, but also avoided reading/computer. Nice nap from 2-3 pm. Discussion about re-anchoring closer to shore at 3:00 p.m. I had a lot of concern because of negative past experience anchoring in strong winds. Good exchange of thoughts, feelings, concerns. My two biggest concerns are how difficult it is to communicate because we cannot hear each other in the wind. I cannot do the bow job because of my hand. Scott is not always patient with me at the helm, even though I believe I drive the boat nearly as well to him. Upshot: we stayed put.

Both of us are edgy. I think Scott is a bit seasick but does not recognize it. He refuses meds when I suggest them. Yet he is not on the computer working on photos or doing anything he would normally do. Honestly it is hard to say what we did all day. I made breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks.

Dinner: Kalami (French Polynesian local here) appeared in his boat about 4:00 p.m. and gave us a gift of 1/2 a tuna. Voila-dinner. Scott bravely filleted it. I cooked white rice, chopped onion, thinly sliced cuke, had wasabi in a tube to mix with soy sauce. He is squeamish about fish overall, but likes fresh sashimi. This was delicious. I will have it again tomorrow. We were glad to have a photo print of the deep wreck anchor to give him in appreciation. Not lobster, but I am happy.

Mon 6/21
Slept well, the wind shifted N a little so more protection from the atoll, just as well we did not re-anchor.

Scott edited and posted my last 6 Ships Logs plus added his own about the \”Seeadler\” shipwreck.
Jerome came to visit by dinghy. We said we were going to shore for a walk across to see the swell height. He said he would like to join us, ok.

We pick up not only Jerome, but Leo (10) & Artur (4) hop in the dinghy also. Natalie stays onboard with the twin 4 your old who has had a fever for 2 days. Poor baby.

The local boy (8) joins the parade. We say hello to Kalami\’s wife, Sophie. This small \”L\” shaped atoll, a 4 miles strip of sand & palm trees is our only protection from the raging sea. We walk 15 minutes from the protected side where all 4 boats are anchored to the windy side. The seas are angry, the wind very strong on your body. A little rain. There are breaking waves. Jerome says that under \”normal\” weather it is a nice place where he swims with the kids & snorkels & can spear fish. Now it is all whitecaps & whipped up.

What information this \”on the ground\” weather report gave us is that it will be a MINIMUM of 2 more days before we can leave. And more likely 3-4. The wind creates the waves and the waves are what makes sailing uncomfortable. Swell if behind us, spaced far apart is ok. Our boat is designed to surf down waves like that. But breaking waves from the side is horrible, no reason so rush out in that. So we sit. The wind needs to calm down for at least 1-2 days to help the sea lie down. The weather reports we get via sailmail say 3-4 METERS swell height. Too big for these fair weather sailors. So we will wait.

Onshore we saw a Mama pig with two 4 day old piglets. So adorable. But the stench of the pigpen just about knocked us out. Seems the method is to let the Mamas roam & keep the males penned up. To say they live in squalor is possibly an understatement. Jerome explained that who owns what part of the island is not settled yet so no permanent structures can be built. No real house. Only a couple wall-less shacks. Yikes. I expect we will see more & more people living like this as we get further off the grid. The return to civilization in NZ, then CA will be much appreciated by December.

We were invited to Jerome & Natalie\’s boat for pizza. We enjoy them, but sometimes find the kids exhausting. We will take the rest of the fresh tuna, as we already ate it for appetizer. I had a good nap, and 1/2 bottle of Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio so am sufficiently prepared to engage 3 children! We don\’t know how couples can cope with small children on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Patience of the Saints comes to mind.

LATER: The mayhem with kids only lasted about 45 minutes, then Natalie in her infinite wisdom got them glued to a DVD inside so we 4 adults got to enjoy dining al fresca. It is a lucky, special thing that all four of us get along very well. Jerome lived several summers in the US during his 20s and did biz with American software companies, so is a bit an American-phile. A most unusual Frenchman. We learned that Natalie only agreed to marry him just before they left cruising for the 2nd time. First time on a monohull with just Leo, oldest boy. When the twins came along they set sail again when they were only 2 yrs old. We are amazed at how seemingly casual they are about the dangers on the boat. She says: They fall down & then they quickly learn to be more careful. She is petite, I think a bit shorter & skinnier than me (with no evidence of having borne 3 kids) and said she didn\’t want to become the property of a man which can sometimes be the feeling with marriage. Jerome respects her a lot. She was a sailor long before him and besides doing most of the galley & kid duties, is very involved with weather & route planning, navigation, etc. Hats Off – a braver woman than I.

The moon is about three quarters. If we get to sail away from here soon (still looks like 2-3 days) it will be lovely to have a lot of moonshine for company on the night watches. It will be good company on the night watches. It will be about 48 hours journey to Aitutaki.

Cindy & Scott