Day 208, Year 1: Procyon’s Sea Rescue a Success–Day 22
Date: Saturday, May 13, 2006
Weather: Blue Skies Dotted with Puffy White Clouds—More Than Usual
Air Temperature: 80 degrees F now—89 degrees earlier in the day
Water Surface Temperature: 82 degrees F
Latitude: 10 degrees 18 minutes S
Longitude: 136 degrees 57 minutes W
Location: Passage from Galapagos to the Marquesas, Day 22
Miles to Go: 114 (~127 miles last 24 hours)
Miles to Date: 2905

The saga with Procyon goes on but we are now into a new chapter. The evacuation happened last evening and everything went well. Checkmate and Necessity, the Norwegian boats near Procyon, did a fantastic job of making the transfer happen without Manet, the large ship, having to come alongside Procyon. Sheri and Randy will be forever grateful for their kindness. Randy was able to call into our radio net this morning from Manet to talk to Sheri one more time before Manet is out of range. He actually sounded great this morning, but I thought I heard him choke down a tear as he asked Sheri if she was okay. This must be incredibly hard for him. He will be in Papeete on Monday and then we will find out if he has to have surgery again. Sheri has a satellite phone, so we are hoping Randy will be able to call her that way and let her know how he is doing. After the evacuation last night, Sheri changed course and is now headed to Nuka Hiva. There is an airport there and she will be able to get to Papeete if needed. She has parted ways with the Norwegian boats who are headed to Fatu Hiva, so she really is out there all alone. We hope we will hear her on the radio morning and evening so we can track her progress. Since she is motoring, I’m actually glad the wind has died. Hopefully, she will have calm seas and an uneventful passage from now on. A catamaran with friends aboard is leaving Nuka Hiva in the morning to come out and meet her to give her fuel and crew. We will all be glad when they rendezvous and when Procyon makes it into port. That will not be until later in the week as Sheri has almost 700 miles to go. Our most positive thoughts are with her.

The “landscape” here at sea is beginning to change as we near land. It is definitely getting warmer. It was 89 degrees in the cockpit today and that is the highest we have seen the thermometer go since leaving Panama. The water temperature is up another degree, now at 82 degrees F. And although it was a beautiful day, it was much cloudier than we have had and we had two different storm systems following us, one on one side and one on the other, most of the afternoon. We finally got a few sprinkles and now it is clear once again. We have had very little rain, almost none, and only one little squall that we managed to avoid. But Fatu Hiva is so beautiful because it is so green, so I suspect we will be having more rain now that we are closer to land. We have had birds close by all day. They are beautiful little white birds and they play around the boat like the dolphins play with us in the water. They fly toward us and then dip, soar, glide, and dip again. I think they are White Terns. These birds feed over the open ocean and fit the description of what we have been seeing. They are supposed to be extremely graceful, and that they have been. Fish have been jumping in the water all day, but none has decided to take a bite on our lure. These fish are silverfish when they jump out of the water, but when I watch them by looking straight down into the water, they are a pinkish-purple. They are small, probably only a foot long. What could they be?

The wind angels have abandoned us and we are now motoring. The wind went from 15 to 12 to 10 to 8, and has settled out at 4 to 8 knots. That plus the fact that we have a half to a full knot current against us convinced us that it was time to turn on the motor. We have been motoring since 0115 last night and will probably have to motor the rest o the way in. If things continue as they are now, we will arrive tomorrow afternoon. Our friends Patrick and Margaret on Aqua Magic will be arriving tomorrow as well. They left three days before us, but we have had better wind conditions and have made up the time. Our friends Doug and Silvie are in Fatu Hiva and we are anxious to see them once again. The activity level aboard Windbird has accelerated today. We have been running the water maker non-stop to fill up the tanks now that the engine is running. I have washed every piece of dirty clothing I could find, including the towels, which have been hung out on the life lines to dry. Mark has been working all afternoon on charting software and checking and rechecking waypoints. And we just raised the courtesy and quarantine flags for French Polynesia. As the full moon sets in the morning and the sun rises, we should be able to see the mountains of Fatu Hiva. Wow! It didn’t really seem real until now, but 24 hours from now we should be sitting in one of the most beautiful anchorages in the world watching a South Pacific sunset. I’m ready.

There are 12 islands in the Marquesas. We will be visiting five of them in the following order: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Tahuata, Ua Pou, and Nuka Hiva. We’ve read and reread all of the cruising guides and we have a spreadsheet that outlines our itinerary. I have this one last night to complete it and then we begin our explorations. And it is right now time to get ready for our last night of watches for this passage under a full moon. What more could you ask for?

060513 Day 187 – Day 208 Transit to Marqueses
Day 209, Year 1: Arrival in the Marquesas
Day 207, Year 1: Rescue at Sea for Procyon--Day 21