11/11/2014 – The Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly.

Last night was lovely. The seas were a flat calm, the wind a gentle zephyr, the sky was clear, the moon very bright and the engine a mighty motive force towards our waypoint. I don’t think it was as cold as Sunday night but it was nevertheless quite chilly. Today started with very little wind but by mid-afternoon it had filled in from the west and built quite quickly to 20 knots. That allowed us to sail quite fast, rolling just like on the Atlantic crossing. We have made excellent progress and our ETA came forward from Thursday midday perhaps to Wednesday midnight. We have now reviewed that and hope to arrive at about 1800 tomorrow, to achieve that we are making best speed with the help of the engine because of the ‘Ugly’. I have had another productive day, experimenting with baking a carrot cake in the Remoska. The poor cake didn’t stand much chance because the boat was rolling and you could see the batter swishing from one side of the tin to the other through the glass panel in the lid. Somewhat against the odds, I have produced a slightly dark cake which tastes good, especially with the cream cheese butter icing! I don’t think you should count the calories when you are trying to demolish a food mountain. Unfortunately only one boat could hear us in the morning roll call though we could hear all but one, all of the boats were expecting to arrive in Opua by mid night except Brizo who arrived last night. We were over 150 miles away but that shouldn’t have been a problem on 4 MHz. This evening we could hear Firefly and Flomaida but no boat could hear any other. You suddenly feel very alone. Late afternoon John got a GRIB which didn’t look nice, then we caught the end of the New Zealand shipping forecast on VHF even though we were about 80 miles from the nearest Coast Radio Station. What we did hear was worrying, gale warnings in most areas. John called up the Coast Radio Station to ask for forecast for the area Brett which covers the coast from Cape Reniga on the northwest tip round the east coast to Cape Brett, south of Opua. They were very helpful, the winds aren’t expected to get really high until mid-afternoon by which time we hope to be some way down the coast and sticking fairly closely to land to get some protection from the wind and better sea conditions. To reach that shelter means going fast, so that is why we are using the engine to back up the effort from the sails and are making 8 knots. As I write this we have 165 miles to go to the marina so a late afternoon/early evening arrival is possible. The food mountain is reducing: porridge for breakfast because it is cold, with dried cranberries and maple syrup (maple syrup permitted, dried cranberries probably not); lunch was cold roast chicken with the remaining coleslaw, cucumber and mayonnaise (all prohibited); dinner was cassoulet with extra cannellini beans, rehydrated golden apples from St Lucia with cranberries, tinned pineapple slices and cream (Spanish long life). All of this meal would probably be prohibited except the tinned pineapple, 4 years ago friends reported that British cream was accepted, Spanish cream wasn’t, though some restrictions have apparently been loosened. I hope tomorrow’s log will come from the quarantine dock in Opua. Now a plea, how are all our family and friends getting on? We love reading the e-mails we receive, but would love to receive more. Both our personal e-mail addresses should work from Friday as getting SIM cards for the I-pads is a priority! Hoping to hear from some of you soon, Joyce.

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