Position: 33°S, 162°W
One night this week, the Skipper called out to the First Mate from his bunk - "Hey Dave". As if we don't have enough to deal with crossing an ocean, now the Skipper is mistaking his wife for his brother! He says he was dreaming of the two of them at sea, embarking on a smuggling adventure of some sort. Whatever next.
It's been another tough week on board Ashling as we seem to find ourselves moving from one squash zone (between a high and low weather system) to another. The wind builds up, the sea swell follows and we are have a few days of rocking and rolling around as we try to make as much ground as possible. Then the weather clears and we have a nice day or two before it starts all over again. The upside of this is that we have continued to make good progress and are covering more than our expected 100 miles per day. The downside is that we work hard for 3-4 days to get sails up and down and trimmed at all times of day and night; we get wet and can't get dry; and we wonder how on earth this was supposed to be fun.
The irony of Ashling's model – Endurance – is not lost on us as we realise that she has what it takes to handle these ocean passages but wonder do we? In all our dreaming and planning, we pictured us cruising around beautiful, blue waters; stopping in quiet, sheltered anchorages; and enjoying sundowners and a barbeque on deck as we watch the sun goes down. So far the passage from New Zealand to Tahiti has provided us with a much more arduous adventure - average winds over 25 knots and five metre swells. For now though, our focus is to get to Papeete, Tahiti within the next ten days and review our next passage over beer and steaks.
This week the Skipper turned hunter and threw out a fishing line with the hope of bringing in something exciting for dinner. Whatever about the fish, our regular albatross visitors were very interested; so much so that we had to pull in the line before we had a plucking incident on our hands. We haven't seen much marine life over the past two weeks but we know there is definitely something out there as the rope pulling our toed generator line through the water is now a few chunks less than what it was when we left Auckland. Probably best not to think about that one too much.
And last but not least...best of luck to the Mayo football team as they attempt to break a 51 year drought and win the All Ireland Gaelic Football Final at Croke Park in Dublin tomorrow. On board Ashling, we'll be putting on our red and green, and cheering you on from the Pacific. Mayo for Sam!
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