Day 271, Year 1: Moody Ocean
Date: Saturday, July 15, 2006
Weather: ESE Tradewinds 18-20 During the Day, Blue Skies with Puffy White Clouds
Latitude: 18 degrees 07 minutes
Longitude: 154 degrees 01 minutes
Location: Transit from Raiatea to Rarotonga, Day 2
Miles to Go: 373 (out of 550 total)

The ocean has a personality like a very moody person. It can sometimes be peaceful and placid, and then can change quickly to an angry sea. Even with all of the weather information you receive, it is very difficult to know just what a passage will be like. Last night was lumpy with confused seas throwing us this way and that-not what we expected. As the sun rose this morning, however, the seas and winds calmed down a bit and we have had a delightful day. We have had 18 to 20 knot winds on a broad reach and the seas have rolled comfortably under aft port side of the boat and out the forward starboard side. It is a bit like a dance. Unfortunately, our moody sea is deciding to become rowdy again at the end of the day. We will probably have another boisterous night, but at least we are making good time toward our destination. I am finding moving about a bit challenging with this cast on my leg, but so far, so good. Unfortunately, Mark is left with most of the sailing responsibilities as well as providing the meals. Balancing on one foot in rolly seas is not my expertise, so I have to do most things from a sitting position. He is doing a great job and might decide that single-handing is easier than he thought. Could I lose my valuable position as first mate?

Last night when I was on watch, I was so grateful that the auto pilot is repaired. I could sit in place and use our remote control device to adjust direction. In these seas, it is impossible for me to stand at the helm. I tried this morning, just to get a compass reading, and immediately fell. Not something I will try again. But at least with the auto pilot and remote control, I can do my watches and keep the boat on track as the winds shift. Richard, the guy we first met via radio in Raiatea, was a wonderful help and we will be forever grateful.

As you travel around the world like this, there is no way to see and experience everything you would like. As we are sailing on from French Polynesia, I keep hearing the lyrics to a song, “We may never pass this way again.” Did we see everything we wanted? No. Did we have a wonderful experience? Yes. Do we have regrets? Not really. We are actually excited to be moving on to the see the next part of the world. Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, is our next destination. It is a place I had really never heard of before planning this trip. And this comes from someone who started out as a history and geography teacher at the high school level. I think my “next career” when we return home will be to work with children to help them expand their knowledge of the small world we live in.

One last thing. We started this passage with no other boats going our way. We checked into the Net this morning, however, and found that Vol (pronounced Yawl) had started out yesterday from Bora Bora for Aitutaki, just north of Rarotonga. Also, Endangered Species checked in as starting out his morning from Bora Bora, but before the end of the Net, they reported that they had oil pressure problems and were returning to port. It was a bit lonely last night to think that no one else was out here with us, but thanks to the Net that is run by cruisers, we connected this morning. French Polynesia is a decision point. Some boats are headed through the north Cook Islands to Samoa, some are heading directly to Tonga, and a few are heading to the south Cook’s as we are. Many of the boats we have traveled with previously are still back in Tahiti. I guess we are just on the fast track. Some things never change.

Day 272, Year 1: The Squash Zone
Day 270, Year 1: Leaving on a Friday--Not a Good Idea