Saturday, May 11, 2013

Near Maupihaa atoll

May 11, 2013 (5am local [UTC-10})
Position: 16°50'S 153°16'W

It's 5am and the sun has yet to brighten a moonless night filled with a grand array of stars. I'm guessing we're now on the edge of a different time zone as there should be at least a little glimmer of a new day on the eastern horizon by 5am. Our passage from Moorea has been a tiny bit bumpy at times with frequent squalls and plenty of rain, but overall pretty easy as sailing. In contrast, friends Cinda and Fred on s/v Songline are doing some bashing as they sail directly into the NE trades on their way from American Samoa toward Hawaii and Alaska. As of day 18 they've covered 900nm with 1360 remaining to Honolulu. These two define patience. Back in January we contemplated the same voyage and decided it would be better to sail twice the distance by sailing back to the Marquesas to set up for a better angle to Hawaii, but after all that effort we bailed on the Hawaii idea and are now circling back. 4000nm under the keel later we are living proof that not having a really firm plan can burn you from time to time.

Getting back to the question of why the suns not up yet. Along the equator the sun rises later at a rate of one minute per 15 nautical miles of easting sailed. (360 degrees/24 hours = 15 degrees longitude * 60 nautical miles per degree = 900 nautical miles / 60 minutes = 15 nautical miles per minute. At a latitude of 17 south it's something like 14.35 nautical miles per minute as it's a smaller circle and 15 degrees of longitude requires only 861 nautical miles of sailing (861/60 = 14.35). So, having sailed 912 nm to the west since Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas the sun is now rising something like (912/14.35)= 63 minutes later each day. Yep, time to change the clocks.

Today we should be dropping anchor at Maupihaa atoll, our all time favorite atoll in the South Pacific. The pass is tricky, but we think the conditions will be settled enough to safely transit the 60 foot wide opening in the reef gaining access to the calm waters inside. Huge seas are on the way so once we get safely inside the pass will close out for a few days as the 5 meter SSW swell roar through.

That's it for now.

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