5th week on the Pacific Ocean: On ne vient pas enfiller des perles

Lots of adventure this week. Ya almost lost the outer jib in a squall and meets with an unexpected visitor. Also, energy is slowly running out. How is Ya’s crew holding? Well, ‘on ne vient pas enfiller des perles’.

Adventure and a Fixing day

Day 1. Sat Apr 27 2024

Last evening the wind decreased. Early in the night, the wind picked up a bit and Peter also heard a funny noise. The wind picked up because you could see a squall approaching in the moonlight. The noise appeared to be caused by the tack of the outerjib that was off its place. The sail worked itself more and more up to the top.
Meanwhile, the squall entered and the wind got stronger. Before Peter could call Pierrot, but he already stood in the cockpit: “Need help?” Yes for sure!
Pierrot took the helm and put the Ya on the best possible course. Peter went to the foredeck to lower the pole that was holding out the outerjib. First the mast side. Yes, lowered. Then the pole out of the donky dick at the mast. The strong winds helped in a sort of way to get it out, since the outerjib was slamming every now and then when the wind was too strong to keep the boat on course. Then the pole, 4 meters long has to get from the outerjib sheet. To open the lock there on 4 meters distance, there is a little line along the pole to open the lock. Peter pulled. nothing happened. The pole was still connected to that slamming outerjib. Again a pull, Peter pulled a third time and kept pulling… and the pole fell from the sheet. the tip hit the sea water but that was OK. Now the rest of the outerjib down. Pierrot made sure that the halyard was free and without twists -while steering in the meanwhile- and Peter let the outerjib go down and pulled it on deck.
Bingo, job done. Need to fix this tomorrow morning.
Then, Pierrot discovered in his watch a jammed block of the staysail sheet. Need to fix this tomorrow morning.
Then, when Peter got up to take the morning watch, he missed his life vest. Yes, the hanger was broken and it had ended up somewhere on a couch under it. Need to be fixed this morning.
Also we had to fix the twist in the Parasailors’ sock. So Peter started at 7 o’clock, Pierrot helped from when he woke up, and we have fixed all jobs at 3 in the afternoon. By the way, two of them are done that way that the chance on a next fix is very, very small.
In the calm weather we did not make many miles. But, during dinner -Pierrot made a good risotto- we agreed: what the heck, it was a great fixing day.

A close visitor

Day 2. Sun Apr 28 2024

The steady weather is back. This means no squalls, a shiny sun and a nice little 12 knot wind. A perfect weather for Pierrot to fix the fishing lines. But this time with smaller baits, because we have learned our lessons of the braking fishing lines.
A few seconds after the line was in the water, a shadow appeared, surfing underneath the waves. It came dangerously close to our bait. A shark? No, that can’t be true -we just fixed the lines and this bait is too small for him. After a few underwater surfs, it came to the surface to breathe: a lonely little whale (well, about 6 meters). It circled around the Ya for some times, played with the waves and from time to time came out of the water to catch breath. The whale gave a nice show, that Pierrot tried to film. Which is not easy on a boat going up and down. Did it want some company for a while? Or was it just curious by the sounds the propellers made? Nevertheless, we enjoyed its playing around, It deep dived into the sea to say a goodbye.

Our food after 2800 miles

Day 3. Mon Apr 29 2024

What do you think we eat after 2800 miles and 5 weeks on the ocean? An old sail and a shoe string? No.

Try this.
Today Pierrot made a puree with milk and butter, seasoned with tamarinde, a bit of cinnamon, and pepper.
He cut a chicken breast in pieces, made a mushroom sauce and put it in. This is the base. Then he chopped an union , a bit of red cabbage and garlic. You let it cook for a while. Then as late as possible a can of peas in it (including juice)
You serve the puree and sauce separately.

Bon appetit!

An energy issue

Day 4. Tue Apr 30 2024

For a part of the day the sails block the sun rays on the solar panels. But we are not worried at all about the energy, because both our propellers run when we sail. They make the motors rotate and that gives us hydrogeneration to charge the batteries. So we have abundant energy when we sail. Every time we arrive after a long trip, we always have a (nearly) fully charged battery bank.

In the beginning of this voyage one of our motors stopped generating.
And some days ago, the other one stopped.
Now we are losing energy. We could cut some usage. For example, we switched of our second plotter and that saves 20-25 Watt, so about 400-500 Watthour a day. That is one percent of our battery bank.
But still we lose energy.
So, yesterday we set appointments. We estimated the worst case scenario and then we can afford to lose another 1.5 percent of the battery bank each day. As soon as we loose more, we cut down the freezer. And then the fridge. And then… laptops, whatever.

But so far, we lose not more than 1 percent.
So no worries, fossil free sailing stays safe.

1000 miles to Gambier

Day 5. Wed May 01 2024

This afternoon Pierrot noticed it is only 1000 miles to Gambier.
Well, only… But we did already 3000, which included a track through the Doldrums.
With the current friendly weather (fingers crossed it will stay this way), we will arrive beginning of the second week of May.
So now and then we talk about Gambier. All we know is that the main source of income are the pearls they grow.
We discuss what we could do there. For sure we want to visit such an oyster bank with pearls. Yesterday Pierrot started a shopping list. Peter started listing the jobs to do when on anchor. Pierrot questions how French it will be, and how Polynesian. Peter thinks of learning from the people there, as well as showing people how we do things fossilfree. Most Polynesians are religious, so a visit on Sunday to the Catholic church will be on the list.
As Pierrot would say: On ne vient pas enfiller des perles.


Day 6. Thu May 02 2024

When the weather and waves are a bit easy, we do maintenance jobs. Now, the weather is easy for weeks. Every day slides by with the wind and the waves and the sun making its curve around Ya.
We do jobs like polishing stainless steel, whipping lines of the sheets and halyards, repair a waterline, fix a lamp We have that much time, that with every repair we first ask how it could be made better than it was.

It is also nice to read a book, but every job that you have done, marks the day in a nice way. That is good for you.
And in the meanwhile, it is good fot Ya. When we will arrive in Gambier the Ya will look better than at her departure in Panama.


Day 7. Fri May 03 2024

We are now exactly 5 weeks at sea and the vegetables come to an end.

Pierrot bought all the vegetables in an open market in Panama where they came straight from the farmer and were kept at ambient temperature. We can’t keep them cool on board so you must buy un-chilled vegetables to keep them as long as possible.
Pierrot tried to tell the vegetables sellers in the best Spanish he could to select the freshest products possible, and even though we did our best not to bruise the vegetables, we still had some rotten tomatoes and carrots and others that we had to throw away in the first week.

During the last five weeks Pierrot selected the vegetables thoroughly. We kept the strongest ones as long as possible, and there is lef : a piece of cucumber, 1 and a half cabbage, 1 onion, 5 potatoes and a bunch of garlic.

We still have enough to survive, even for a couple of weeks. But that is just not fresh but in cans. But no worries, it will just require Pierrot to show some of his magic cooking skills.