11.05.2017

all good

Just to let you know: it seems Ella has changed her mind and has already weakened. No cyclone will come our way. Also looks like we'll be stuck in Minerva for the next 10 days until a nice weather window comes our way. The next one, the day after tomorrow, is too short and we would have to bang against wind and waves again. So we decided to spend another couple of calm days here. The wind should drop tomorrow and thus the waves hitting the reef and coming over the reef making a bit rolly here at anchorage at high tide and halfway to low tide. Last night after cleaning, cooking and dinner we had a nice glass of beer and wine and quickly rolled away into sleep. Today we were busy with a nice breakfast, bread baking, and more cleaning (getting all the salt off) as well as washing the clothes which had gotten all salty during the trip up here. Then we went for a walk on the reef where we met our neighbours and we invited ourselves over to them for sundowner. Haha. That's where we're heading to soon once bread and my Obatz'der are ready. So all good, thanks for prayers.

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10.05.2017

We're at Minerva

As you can see from Marcus' post we safely made it to Minerva. But this past day was testing our nerves. The waves started to break more and more as the current went against the wind waves. I don't think we ever had so many waves constantly breaking over Alita as today. We even closed up the companion waya in fear water would come down. But our construction with the dodger, the hardtop and the clears held most of the splashing out of the cockpit, thank god. Just before the entrance to Minerva a shark greeted us so that we know we're back in the tropical waters. After anchor drop and clearing the boat from lines and sails I went into the water and had a short hot shower afterwards. Man that felt so good.
Now I need you to pray for us that the tropical cyclone which is thinking about creating itself north of Fiji between Fiji and Tonga is not going to happen. That would be really bad news for us. There are a couple of scenarios to avoid it if it came, one of them would be going back to New Zealand. I would not survive that, especially then having to come up all the way again. There is NO WAY. We'll keep an eye on the weather, like all the other boats here in Minerva as well. There are five of us here including the one that came up with us and stayed at equal distance for a while and actually wanted to go to Fiji but apparently never did because they can't in these wind conditions and because of the possible cyclone Ella. They arrived here 2 hours before us- because we slowed down today deliberately. We will have to decide the next days what to do. The poor guys and girls in the catamaran that left Opua 2 hrs after us had to turn around, they were already a day behind us yesterday and have no chance of making it into Minerva theses days so they are on their way to Raoul Island - where birdie came from. Their friends who left a day before us actually turned around after 3 days and went back to New Zealand. It's all not that easy. We'll keep you posted.

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Alita's passage - Interlude

At 4pm NZST we droped our anchor in Minerva Nord!

Position at 10.05.2017 04:00 UTC

23°39'S 178°54'W

After a beer and a rest, we will start looking into that predicted cyclone and what we'll do, should it really manifest.

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09.05.2017

Alita's passage - Interlude

Planing to enter North Minerva this afternoon.
All good aboard, but will be nice to be out of the chop that has developed.
Just heared there is a possibility for another cyclone forming around Fiji in a few days. Let`s hope not!

Position at 10.05.2017 04:30am NZST

24°43'S 178°40'W
COG 350
SOG 6,1kn

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Last bit

Oh these last 1,5 days are hardly bearable for me. 25 knots of wind on the beam (Halbwind) with seas of 2,8-3m, some higher, some smaller, coming from different directions and Alita shooting through it all too fast does not make this a pleasant trip anymore. Waves are constantly washing over us. We're bound to arrive some time tomorrow afternoon our time. I can't wait to get out of this sh..
And I have sad news on our passenger: birdie died early this morning. No wonder in these conditions. It must have been a heart attack in combination with being worn out from the flight and hunger (he would not take the food I tried to give him) and being lost and afraid. We had to give him back to nature.

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08.05.2017

Alita's passage - Part 4

Wind and waves have been most cooperative and the sailing is going good.
We have made it far enough east to turn north towards Minerva, where we plan to arrive the day after tomorrow.
Picked up a stowaway 80 miles west off it's home at Raoul island - a small swallow like bird, who has moved in with us and is now sleeping on a shelf in the salon.
All well aboard, even birdy for now. But if he doesn't start to drink and eat soon, I do not forsee a happy ending.

Position at 09.05.2017 05:15am NZST

27°17'S 178°42'W
COG 010
SOG 7,0kn

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Passenger

So today another passenger boarded. The only thing he does not know where we are going and it will be far away from his home, family and friends. And he does not speak the language of the others in Tonga. That little singing bird does not know what he is up to, but he would have died had he not found us. Just tonight I thought about the bird we rescued in Brazil and brought to land from 50 miles out and I wondered if this could happen here as well. And there he is. We guess that his home is Raoul Island in the Kermedec Islands, 74nm east of here, against the wind. I feel so sorry for him. He will most probably not survive because he will try to fly away and it won't get him anywhere. He already tried to fly away once today after he had a rest but came back. Right now he is flying around here downstairs. I already had him back out but he came back in since he saw we're always going down here. I put him some food and water outside, I hope he will take some. Poor sweet little guy. We can't go against the wind to bring him home. We would loose our weather window and it would put us at hardship with the weather. So he'll die on the way or start a new life in Tonga. If only I could change that. He already made me so happy today, changed my mindset from hanging in there to cheerful because I got this little guy to look after. He is now sitting on a hatch curtain. PLease pray for the little one to survive. The only problem with having him on board: he poos everywhere...
update 2 hrs later: You won't believe where I just found birdie: on Marcus' pillow while Marcus is sleeping there. He is just 10 cm away from Marcus' head! So cute, he seems to like Marcus.

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07.05.2017

Alita's passage - Part 3

The weather is sticking to the forecast so far and all is going according to plan.
We were fighting with some clouds the first part of the night, giving us alternating gusts and clams and 60° windshifts. Nothing major, just keeping us on our toes. All good aboard, all healthy, happy and well fed!

Position at 08.05.2017 05:30am NZST

29°52'W 180°00'
COG 040
SOG 7,5kn

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