30.05.2015

Heading out

Today we went to the reef and I swam back. Marcus and I did some repiars on the boat - already again. Yes, that never ends. THe water pump, that has just been repaired in Whangarei is leaking again. We can't beleive it! So we have to repair it again in Fiji.
Over the next days the wind will die more and more. So unfortunately we either have to spend over a week here in Minerva, which is not really an option as we have to get going to Fiji and the crew would like to see something of Fiji (besides that, there is nothing to do in Minerva than swim, snorkel or be on the boat). So, early sunday morning we'll leave for Minerva south to go snorkling, because there is no better snorkling anywhere. Then either in the evening same day or early next morning we head of to Fiji. Uff. I still have not recoevered from the last passage (we had only one night so far) and somehow during the passage tomorrow to South Minerva I need to bake bread for the next passage. We'll most likely head for Lefuka, the old capitol of Fiji on the island of Oavalu. I wanted to go there last year already. My book says that time stood stil in this place for the last 150 years. We'll see where we end up or, better, where the wind (if there) carries us. I will report during the passage.

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28.05.2015

Alita in Minerva Reef north

Almost to the minute 5 days after we left the gas station in Opua we dropped the anchor in North Minerva. A 31kg yellow fin tuna delayed our arrival here for about an hour - the time it took to fight it and get it on board. I think we have food for a week, the boys have enough beer and I am going to bake bread now. All is good. My first action of course was to jump into and swim in the water, which has perfect swimming temperature of 24degrees C. I had forgotten how incredibly clear and blue the water is here. While swimming I looked for the anchor to see if it had good holding. Well, I saw a very small chain and the bow of the anchor. It looked as if it was in 2m deep water so I was wondering why it is so small- until I remembered that we're anchored at 13m!
Yesterday shortly after I set off my message the wind came back, quite strong. So of the 5 days we managed to sail 4 - way better than expected.
We're expecting strong wind and rain this afternoon and night and as of tomorrow afternoon it should be fine. If so, we'll move on to south minerva the day after tomorrow. Talk to you soon!

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27.05.2015

Day 4

All is good, we're motoring (we just had 2 hrs of sailing, but not enough wind again). One more day to go. Hoping for a fish to come. Had a fisherboat this morning on collision course, we had to detour, he did not answer the radio.
Position: 25deg30,8S and 179deg30,0E / see also the page "Where is Alita".

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Day 3

This morning the forseeable, unavoidable happened: at 9am we had to start the motor. All our efforts to keep sailing without hurting the Alita and her equipment too much (spinnaker, poled out genoa) failed in the end. So we took all sails down and started the engine. Yesterday was lalready light wind day, we put the spinnaker up for a while. At night the wind picked up again and this morning it died. We're still rolling, of course. Waves up to 2m are still rolling in from behind and smaller waves going different directions. But it's nothing bad. Just disturbing the cooking ;-) Now it seems strange that 1,5 day ago we had wind gusting up to 50 (!) knots). Through all the strong wind the waves had stayed amazingly small with up to 4m - and no one got seasick (I cheated, however. I took a light pill the first 2 days before I felt anything. Otherwise cooking would have been quite difficult). Today with the dying wind the summer started. All of a sudden we all exchanged long pants (at nights I even wore 2 layers) and warm shirts + Jacktes to T-Shirts and Shorts and there is no expression how my first shower on this trip felt today - open air on deck. SOOO refreshing. To celebrate haveing survived the rougher weather I made "Kaiserschamrrn" for lunch. Yummy. So on we motor. In 2 days we should arrive in Minerva Reef north. So far we travelled 500nm through the water (with all the detours we did trying to catch enough sailing wind), we have 270nm left to go.
Our position at lunch time can be found as always on the page "Where is Alita".
27deg23,8S and 177deg 53,8E

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25.05.2015

Day 2

After 2 days of sailing we travelled half the distance. Unfortunately now the wind is dying, like predicted. We're trying to make some way with the spinnaker up right now, but soon we will have to start motoring. Crew and captain are well, all good. Check the page "Where is Alita?" for the current position.

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24.05.2015

First day out

20 hrs and 147nm ago we left Opua and have been rocking and rolling since in winds averaging between 35-30 knots, gusts to 40 knots. We're fast and no one is seasick, so all is good. We all have to get used to the constant motions which is a real challenge to our internal muscles, even when you sit or sleep - there is no such thing as relaxing. Preparing food is extremely challenging, as not only you but also the things you cut up move away. At least our predicted ETMAL (distance travelled in a day) of at least 180nm gets us to our destination faster, yeah. So far so good, talk to you tomorrow.
Current position: 33deg12min S and 175deg33,1 E

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