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Monday, May 3, 2010

May 1, 2010 - Blast off! Leaving New Zealand

When departure time arrives for an open ocean passage, the air is static with energy and emotions, ranging from excitement to anxiety. Everyone in the community of Opua in addition to the cruisers speak of nothing but weather, boat repairs, boat parts and where best to procure them, provisions from food to toilet paper and booze and where to procure these, boats looking for crew and crew looking for a boat to take them to exotic island destinations. Everyone wants to be heard and few want to listen. High-octane stuff! Although we will dearly miss some very special friends we have made here, Frank and I were ready to go.
Earlier on we had signed on to join the ICA Rally to Tonga, with plans to make haste from there to Western Samoa then on to Wallis, Futuna, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and ending up in Australia by the end of October. As is usually the case with us we changed our minds and have decided to go to directly to Fiji, then spend a month in Vanuatu and a month in New Cal before sailing to Australia. Of course, that is always subject to change. Although not going to Tonga, we arranged to sail with the ICA fleet as far as Minerva before turning northwest to Fiji. Hence, when the whistle blew on Saturday morning we waited a few beats to let the Tonga fleet depart and then off we went.
We left knowing that we would have a fairly rough sea-state and winds from behind, aka "downwind", which is not comfortable for some boats such as ours. I have been known to break away from Southern Lady tradition to curse (a lot) and to sometimes use foul language; however, I am often surprised and disgusted at the way some cruisers casually say things such as, "We're gonna take it up the butt today, Mates!" Some of the more refined sailors use "bum" instead. Anyway, that is how we took it for the first several hours. We all tacked and jibed trying to fill our sails without having to raise the whisker poles. These were not spinnaker/gennaker conditions. Eventually, Destiny found her sweet spot and sped away. We had a fabulous first 24 hours, making incredible time and distance. Our first sunset was just as lovely as could be, then before the near-full moonrise the stars shone brilliantly! The Southern Cross was just overhead amidst the glow of the Milky Way. It was a nice ending to a good first day out of the shoot. All we needed to do now was get in the groove for our night watches which seems so easy for others but we are just too excited to make ourselves go to sleep on demand.

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