Jon Sanders is nearing the end of his 10th circumnavigation of the planet. When things go quite on board, his mind goes into overdrive and he commits his random thoughts to paper - or rather, his computer. This is his latest effort, as he (slowly) approaches New Caledonia...
In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds.
All the way from South America to Australia. ie Sailing between the equator & the Tropic of Capricorn.
I cleared Tahiti and headed for New Caledonia. (A sizeable French elongated Island) all in the trade wind belt. And after Noumea "New Caledonia" to Bundaberg where rum is made in Australia.
Going right way true. Trade winds Nup. They stopped, so they did.
Before I had sunk below the Tropic of Capricorn. (Close to 23 degrees south latitude).
Winter weather I guess. I ran into nothing. No wind at all. Swell died down, blue sky, blue oil calm sea.
Nice. Motor sailing at low revs. Good fuel economy. All day, all night, all day, all night.
The bloody thing is not an oil tanker.
When there was wind and when it came, it was west and not a lot.
Wrong way wind. Must ration fuel and put up with going nowhere much.
Supposed to be in the trade winds.
The trade winds are caused by the spinning of the earth.
Way south in the 40 degrees south latitudes are the westerlies..
When sailing in them they go in a cycle. Wind backs north-east, goes north - often a good sailing breeze, backs north-west and increases.
Depending how near the low pressure you are - often a gale.
Wind goes south-west, sometimes with a violent storm force line squall. Followed by heavy weather.
It modifies and goes brrrr south. Then south-east, not much and starts all over again in the north-east.
(Wind backs, that's anti clockwise. Shifts = clockwise). Thought you already knew that.
So in between the easterly trades to the north and the westerlies in the south are the variables.
Wind might come from wherever. Including calm. (High barometer provokes calm).
"I have been getting variables".
Mainly light winds, but not all. One night the westerlies freshened and gave me a bumpy ride. Jerky too.
I receive an email from an age old friend (reading this blog) in Bundaberg.
Maree Stainton. Her husband Richard (Bundaberg Sailmaker) had done a heap of sailing on my previous "Perie Banou". The S&S 34 (in our younger days).
She writes "Linda" is in Tonga. She will be sorry if you do not stop.
Linda in her 30s makes a habit of sailing her yachts solo (currently a S&S 34) between Bundaberg and the United States - and the other way. As does her boyfriend BJ Caldwell a Hawaiian, in his yacht.
BJ delivers yachts, generally after races, also races his mini transatlantic in the North Atlantic.
Linda and BJ have done 1000s of miles (with me) on this Perie Banou 2 & others.
So I hope she catches up in New Caledonia.
Then I will have to change from drinking 1, 2' or 3 beers to wine. Probably French.
She has her ways and means of making you eat and drink what she approves.
Then she will probably beat me to Bundaberg. I don't care.
(Linda Pasquariello, Australian born - Italian parents).
Tonight I think I will have pasta (Linda reckons I never cook it right) with "Bella Sun Luci" sun dried tomato pasta sauce. (What the heck does that all mean?) with, I might add ' whole pine nuts', and Carrefour tinned legumes ( no fresh food market out here) . Plus add a tin of peas and carrots canned in USA with mixed spices bought in Woolworths Carnarvon on the upper mid coast of Western Australia.
I wish the weather was more better, so I can get to Noumea quicker and go to McDonalds.
Whilst writing the foregoing I stopped to stand on the cockpit ladder step. Have a gink.
Until then I seemed to have an adverse current. (Recent days). Dunno why.
But now I noticed lots of ripples - wee wavelets - in the mild sea. Looks like a current.
Had another gink, this time at the B&G screen. (B&G never lies) Hey boat speed has jumped 1 to 1 1/4 knots. (It is a wonder I never got Whiplash).
I received an email from Kelly Scott Royal Perth Yacht Club that Paul King (RPYC) CEO Seashells Resorts might be in Noumea when I get there. - hope so.
Shall I suggest to him, he install a McDonalds in one of his resorts?
Gosh he will probably read this.
As you can read things are quiet.
Never stays that way.
Over the years I have put into Tahiti (& other ports a lot of times. So one knows the procedure of one coming in. Or I thought so.
Other times Tahiti had one or two persons in an office on the waterfront. Do all the formalities simple and "done".
Come in Friday night or Saturday. A weekend. The office is closed, come in Monday.
Cannot do that no more.. One must go to three offices. - need a taxi - immigration police at the airport the all-important one.
Robin Morritt sent 6 short 2 or 3 line SMS (iridium) sentences to me re entry
That has changed too. Instead of going to visitor wharf first one must anchor out.
Immigration is near the Cruise Liner wharf and I presume the Customs may come out to the yacht.
It bothers me not what the correct system is. (World political situation) as long as they sell eggs and still speak the French language.
Best regards to all.