Sunday, December 7, 2014

Yachts, Like Ships, Pass in the Night

Hello from the big empty.

No marine mammals, only one tiny flying fish on deck since we left the Gambier, no fish on the line (when it has been mellow enough to fish) and the briefest handful of birds about - Kermadec petrels perhaps? I have completely wasted these years when I could have been turning myself into an expert on South Pacific pelagic seabirds.

We did, however, have a nice visit with our friends on Windora, who are also bound for Valdivia.

The AIS notified us of the presence of a vessel at 0100 a couple nights ago, just as we were in the last stages of a long struggle, doomed from the beginning though valuable for the optimism that it stirred in our hearts, to keep ahead of a front heralding the arrival of that much-feared state, no wind.

So it was raining, and blowing. I had just wrapped up the jib completely and shifted our course 20 degrees more northward, under double-reefed main and staysail, playing out the last option open to us before the front would overtake and carry the wind to fuel someone else's dreams of sailing to Patagonia.

And there, after the AIS alarm had been turned off, was a light. A green light, just on our port quarter. An enquiry on the radio brought back Lynda's familiar voice.

We all had a nice chat while our courses crossed, less than a mile apart. When you look at the scale of this bit of ocean that we're crossing, particularly on a globe, you can see what a lucky chance it was that brought us together.

We compared notes. Yes, they too wondered if setting out in that particular weather was really a good idea while the crossed the lagoon of the Gambier, heading for the pass and the open sea. Yep, kind of a rough start those first few days, but nice and fast. And, yes, they know Akimbo too! Great folks. (It's remarkable how many Aussie and Kiwi sailing friends we have in common with these guys.) And, yep, we all were getting more and more excited for Chile. The conversation died off, as radio talks will at that hour of the night, and we never said goodbye. In the morning we heard Phil hailing us ever so faintly, but could not raise a reply. We will presumably see them in a few weeks in Valdivia.

And so now we're in that no-wind, waiting for something different to come along. We managed a fairly heroic job of avoiding the use of the motor, running it for only an hour yesterday right after the front had left us, but this morning I shrugged my shoulders and fired it up, most likely for the whole day by the looks of things. Best to make some progress in the right direction.

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