Annemie and Elisabeth sailed with us in Fiji for ten days - they are going to write a guest blog, so we'll leave that bit up to them. It was a very happy time.
We left Musket Cove on 11 October at 1200 after clearing out. It's 1050 NM to Opua in Northland, New Zealand. We had strong winds from the south and some lumpy waves for the first few hours, then it flattened out and the wind helpfully went a bit in the east. It is now 0800 on Friday 13th, and we have 18-20 knots of wind from about 110 degrees or about 45 degrees apparent wind off the port bow. So it's very close to a beat, pretty tippy [TOO tippy for my liking - Nicky] (20 degrees), and seas are now probably about 3m - quite full on but fast. We are averaging about 7.5 knots so 180NM in 24 hours and are about 330NM out from Fiji. All being well we should make it into Opua on the 17th with about 10 other boats who left at the same time. On the 17th the weather is meant to get a bit tougher and the wind a bit more from the south so it looks as though our timing should be about right if we can keep up the pace. After 10000NM of downwind sailing this all feels like hard work, but Calliope is really plunging forward, waves over the deck, everything seems to be working ok. But certainly different to have 6 days of a beat. We have Logan and Fraser, two Kiwi sailors, with us and that is really good. Dog bowls are in use, but the food in them has been delicious thanks to the first mate and the freezer. Bit of a panic when I woke up on the day of departure to find the freezer thermometer saying 0 degrees. Luckily taking the water pump that feeds sea water through the system to act as heat exchanger and giving it a good clean of the odd barnacle in there seemed to solve the problem.
Nicky here: Life at an angle has its drawbacks: the shower doesn't drain, everything slides off surfaces and sleeping is a real challenge. But we are supposedly exercising our core muscles simply by clenching, balancing, bracing and hanging on, so that's good, I think. The night skies have been
wonderful and I'm learning to orientate myself using the Southern Cross, rather than the Plough. Still, I'm looking forward to arriving in New Zealand. We have a great itinerary in North Island (with a quick visit back to Picton on South Island, which Pippa and I enjoyed so much), and then three weeks in Australia, a substantial amount of it in Tasmania. It will be fun to meet up with Karen, who used to teach at Pakeman, and to spend time with the O'Briens and Bensons, too. Back to London on 10th December, which doesn't leave much time for organising Christmas - but it will be wonderful to see our children and my parents - and I should be there in time to see Pakeman's Nativity play, always a highlight of the season!