28.12.06 – magical moments

Now 17 days out of NZ, we’re and about half way to Chile (3827s/13511w). Tainui is being her generous self – always coddling, forgiving our mistakes. No problems other than a snapped steering cable and some chainplate leaks.

Since the Chathams we’ve had a high barometer and continuous squally headwinds. ESE 20-35 kts – so much for the fabled westerlies, although in fact “Ocean Passages” refers to the high incidence of easterly winds in this bit of ocean, so we should have been warned. There’s been much crashing and thumping and, below, that pervasive dampness which only tiredness defeats. From 43S we’re being pushed steadly north of the rhumb line (never mind the great circle!) and we’re now on 3830S. We can’t do much about it though, because the other tack is such a dead loser.

Now the breeze is dying and we’ve a big fat high sitting over us like Santa stuck in the chimney. The sun warms and dries, while lamb stew and coffee bring cheer. Tainui slides along as effortlessly as the grey-headed albatrosses and chequered pintados in our wake. In this little universe it seems I’m the only one still to discover the secret of effortlessness.

Such a beautiful evening. A calm, moonlit sea, scarcely a ripple. A night for whispering. A night for shared dreams, loving, touching. If only. We have just enough breeze to fill the sails and keep us moving. Quite warm – certainly not tropical, but the main hatch is open.

Dave’s abed early after a light meal only tonight – salami, sun-dried tomatoes cheese and biscuits. I’ve decided to stay home and have a quiet night also. Sitting at the chart table, reading and dozing. We had a big lunch – finished off last night’s potato stew. The stew was a triumphant affirmation of Chris’s Moroccan spice melange – that secret purple box which I’ve cossetted and coddled to Macquarie Island and back. For this stew I chose ‘ras el hanout’, as you might have guessed.

We’ve invented a new measurement unit of time – the hutley (h). 1 hutley equals 72 hours, which is exactly the time it took us to devour Alex Hutley’s gorgeous Xmas pudding. David, whose sweet tooth is atavistic at best, praises her to the skies. I smile quietly and say – “that’s just how Alex does things….”.

Tainui is half way across the pond, near as dammit. Can we believe it? Less than 10 hutleys to Valparaiso.

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