Monday, October 27, 2008

Wallis to Funafuti

Midnight and 200 miles to go, about 48 hours.

We left Wallis about 9:00 AM and motored down to and out the pass. It took over an hour. I had forgotten how long the island and its atoll are. We were late for the slack water, but there was still not much current. When we went in last week, we had about 4 knots against us, which made traversing the pass a slow 1 knot ordeal. The wind was light but OK around 10 knots on the stern till we rounded the southern tip of the reef and turned NW.

Just before we left, the lady we met in the store close to the Gendarmerie, Malia (no 'R' in the alphabet here for Maria), came down to the beach and waved us in. She had gifts for Trinda. A lavalava (sarong) and a small purse made of tapa covered in plastic. Tapa is a paper hammered from tree bark and then painted with black ink very similar to tattoos. They are both beautiful gifts and very unexpected. Trinda did try to teach her how to do the flocking for the cibutus (blouses) that she learned
in Fanning.

I met her co-worker in the little store, Petelo. He wanted to be our guide with the car, but the car was too small for 5 people and he doesn't really speak English anyway. He has some, and very correct but it is limited. He is a Johova's Witness and says he is brothers with others all over the world, even with Gary and Ronnie! If you show up here he'll put you up and take care of you in his house, he says! Actually a really nice guy.

The wind has been steady except for the occasional squall. We've had 7 or 8 in the last 36 hours! Some with gusts up to 35. But they don't last long.

We had some shoalls to pass, about 60 miles out the water goes from 6000 feet deep to only 20 feet! We skirted them with 15 miles to spare then turned directly toward Tuvalu, I thought! I made one of the classical errors. We are cressing the real International dateline this time. Although we already had to change the calendar and the clock, we are crossing the 180 degree line. Funafuti lies at 179 degrees East and we have only cruised in the West longitudes so far. I forgot to change the target in
the GPS so we were headed 100 miles too far East, but only for an hour or two.

The auto pilot is being persnickety again. It tripped up the steering oar every 30 minutes this morning for several hours. I changed the bungee twice and hammered on it some too. It is wearing out some I think. I may need to have a welder rebuild the catches soon.

We are both getting tired, as usual but every thing is fine.

Still not fishing. Don't know why.

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