Monday 4 May

After two days at sea we are now about 130 miles from Lord Howe Island, inching our way out into the Tasman. The plan is to head just north of Lord Howe, but below the small outcrops of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs – I didn’t know they were there either until I looked.
None of us felt like fishing until about lunch time today when Will set up a “fish retrieval device” – you could hardly equate it to sport – from the railing at the back on the left. Basically it’s a reel of line the thickness of fencing wire with a big tasty plastic lure on the end attached to which are lots of sharp hooks. Good thing the fish don’t have many brains, I can immediately tell it’s not very tasty. Will also attached a variable slip mechanism with a fish alarm made of an old pear slices tin which rotates and makes lots of noise in the event of a strike.
Well there was action aplenty just before nightfall – about 45 minutes ago – when the tin madly rotated as line raced out the back. It was then a case of fishing by committee as one held the line, one wound the reel and another looked after the net. What is it? A Mackeral, a barracouta, a whale … in the end it turned out to be a tuna about two feet long. As recipes are discussed life has now got back to some form of normality.

We’ve had the engine on most of the day, with winds still slight and seas even slighter. Our weather map suggests a stronger breeze tomorrow, again from the southerly quarter, which is wonderful.

We may get to see Lord Howe in the distance, but it’ll probably be late tomorrow.

Kathy has a special birthday greeting for Mer, who is turning 40ish on the 4th May. Happy Birthday from the Tasman!!

Bob, (or as Mrs Bob calls him, Mr Tidy) has been working his way through the store room, sorting and re-categorising tools, spare parts and “stuff”. I must say it looks very organised in there. We’ll just have to take extra care of Bob from now on – I think he’ll become the only one who knows where everything is!!

The kind weather has enabled us all to get a lot of rest and now that dinner is approaching there’ll be a healthy discussion about what’s on the menu. Judging by Martin’s successful and very popular contribution last night, I think he may win the job again tonight. Will is still up on deck cutting tuna steaks!

I sent our first SatPhone text message today. And even got a reply!! Thank you Andrew. Text messages are about 70 cents each, whereas voice communication costs are measured in dollars per nano-second I think. I’m happy to stick with text. Even better is this sailmail, which is transmitted by HF radio, via a modem decoder attached to the laptop – that’s all I know, apart from which buttons to press and which holes to plug the cords.

Graeme Duke is at the end of his first day’s walk. All the best Graeme!! Check out his website.

Thank you to everyone for your interest and support. A special mention to co-owner Andrew, who has put so much into this enterprise – financially, emotionally, time-wise, it would be great if you were here with us, but I understand work commitments prevent this. But it will be great to see you in Tanna on our arrival – hopefully we’ll beat you there. Andrew will spend 2 wks aboard as crew and then return again in August for another stint aboard at the end of the mission when we sail back south to Pt Vila from Santo (Espiritu Santo)

Slight sea, fair breeze and tasty tuna fish !!

Rob

 Received from Chimere – Monday 4 May 6.49 pm