Our visitor the following night was not a Booby this time but a petrel, which is much smaller and less intimidating than a Booby. Thus, I was able to adopt a new tactic with this one. It insisted on perching on the outboard engine, with its bum pointed inwards into the cockpit. Scaring it away was to no avail.
Day 9 and all is well on Bob. It’s been long enough now that the days have rolled together, and I had to go and have a look at the ship’s log to figure out how many days we’d been at sea. Most of those days recently have been grey and drizzly, but we’re happy with that because the alternative wouldn’t have been much fun at all. Our decision to stay well South appears to have paid off – just 100 miles to our North yesterday was an area of intense thunder storms with light winds that had organised themselves into a well-defined cyclonic motion. The Coral Sea, where we are now, is the birthplace of South Pacific cyclones. We’re here at the wrong time of year (or the right time of year depending on how you look at it!) and the sea temperatures are too low for cyclone development but if that hadn’t been the case we might have just witnessed the formation of one of those infamous beasts.
It is 10am on Wednesday August 15th (UTC+11) and we are into our 5th day at sea en-route from Luganville, Vanuatu to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Our position is 15 00 S, 158 57 E. Bob is bowling along down-wind at about 6.5 knots under half of a genoa in a force 6, rising to the swells, occasionally corkscrewing at the crest and then sliding down into the trough. It’s not an uncomfortable motion under the circumstances. I am down below writing this and Sarah is on deck reading. The sun has shown itself this morning so we’ve raised our solar panels out like wings in an effort to capture as much power as possible while it lasts. Yesterday was grey and squally. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Well, I think we can safely say that Vanuatu has been one of our favourite destinations so far. It really is like walking through the pages of a National Geographic Magazine.
As promised, this next blog is about all the work we did to Bob in New Zealand after our camper van trip and before setting sail to Vanuatu. This probably won’t be of much interest to most of you but other boat people might be interested and in particular other owners of West Indies 36s.