Saturday, February 16, 2013

D' Tasman

Writing this at 0100 local time, just after waking from my two and a half hours off watch. Never sure if it's a good idea to post while so groggy!

Here we find ourselves, pounding along in the southern Tasman Sea, a bit more than 36 hours into our crossing.

So far at least, this hasn't been one of those "ineffable peace of the open ocean" passages that some people write about in their sailing books.

First off, we've been motoring ever since we've left the dock, with only brief pauses to top up the oil (leaky old British engine!) or to pump coolant from the overflow tank back into the header tank. (This one is a mystery - if we run at 2200 RPM, we don't lose any coolant at all. If we run at 2500 RPM, we lose a liter in about three hours...)

So we've had the engine noise as a constant so far, which keeps things from being peaceful and reflective on board. But we're not dallying on this crossing - the whole idea is to be safely in Bluff, drinking the bottle of wine that our friends on Triddar gave us as a goodbye gift, before the weather has time to get up to anything inventive.

Eric has been through his initial bout of seasickness, puking up a ham sandwich the first day out and an offering of green stomach fluid this morning. That will keep the parents involved jumping for a bucket, and thanking the sea gods that they didn't decide to leave when there was a five meter swell forecast. He seems to be over it now, though, and eagerly watches for dolphins or albatross, or points ahead and says, "New Zealand there?".

Motoring away from Hobart was also enlivened by the appearance of water in the bilge, source unknown. That really gets your attention at the start of a passage. As near as I can figure, the port water tank has sprung a leak that declares itself only when the tank is pressed up full. So that'll be something to occupy me in New Zealand.

Really, we're just feeling our way into the shipboard routine. We each got about five or six hours of sleep last night, and then had the two antsy or seasick boys to parent all through the day, and the effort of that, along with the stress of this particular crossing, colored the day. Alisa very kindly let me do all the napping yesterday, and I feel like I'm just starting to get into the sleep-interrupted rhythm of our at-sea lifestyle. Hopefully I'll start to enjoy the trip a bit more tomorrow. If nothing else, we've had a good selection of pelagic seabirds passing by, and I might work up the energy to photograph them tomorrow.

Last night I watched the glow of Hobart, over the horizon, slowly disappear behind us. We have little moon, and have agreed to wake each other if the southern lights make an appearance. We are enjoying the improbable going away gift of 20 professionally-done chicken and wallaby tamales from our friends Gabe and Brie. I am cautiously optimistic about the speed we have been making so far, and tomorrow we hope to pick up some wind and start sailing without the aid of the donk.

More later.

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