Sunday 27 June 2010, 3:30pm, Luganville

The weather seems to be in a definite pattern. The forecast reads: Wind E to SE light to moderate, fresh at times (That covers all possibilities short of a gale) and showers throughout the forecast area, heavy at times (Yep that covers it too). It rained most of yesterday and today and the wind has been fresh most of the time.
I mentioned yesterday that Carl, Paul and Grant had gone off to do an errand and otherwise shake off the cabin fever that all this rain has brought about. They got home quite late last night with very sore heads. Uncle Carl had the situation under control but the lads have spent a very quiet day on the boat today.
I met our neighbour in the anchorage yesterday. The yacht is a 38 footer crewed by 2 men. It was 3 but the third flew out as soon as they got to Luganville from Brisbane. Their crossing had been horrific. Part of the rig failed on two consecutive days and all the sails blew out. They had strong head winds and contrary currents all the way. When they were below decks they were mending sails by hand. The third crewman was not very experienced and found the whole voyage too much. They are good company and the two remaining guys have taken the difficulties on the chin.
Chris is pining for her tennis and her beloved Roger. She cant wait to be sitting in front of the tele watching Wimbledon. Her son is under strict instructions to record any game Roger is in.
Ray and I went ashore this morning to stretch the legs with a walk into town. Ray went to the internet café and we bought a few supplies on the way home. Not much is open in Luganville on a Sunday. We are back on board and the others have gone off for a similar leg stretching stint. With the weather being a bit foul we have kept a full sailing crew on board at all times and have even furled the awning due to the windage.
There was a question about the radio and sailmail the other day and now seems a good moment to reply. Our main long distance means of communication is an HF (high frequency) radio set which uses the backstay as an aerial. It bounces the radio signal off the ionosphere and by this means sends a message a very long way. Unfortunately it uses a huge amount of energy doing that and as we watch the Amp meter dive into negative territory we can visualize the signal being physically hurled into space. To this bit of kit we have added a special modem which connects the lap top to the radio and uses a service called sailmail. You know the joke about snailmail; well this is slower. I use this equipment to send the ships log to the folk in Melbourne who put it on the website.
We have a second means of long distance communication; that is the satellite phone. We had hoped to use it for data transmission this year but after spending the money and hanging on the help line for hours, we never got it working before the boat left Sydney in April. Maybe next year.
The other radio we sometimes refer to in the log is the VHF (very high frequency) radio. This is limited to communication between radios within a line of sight of each other. This is the radio Rob used to call Pacific Dawn (P&O cruise ship) when Andy broke a bone in his hand back in May. It is also the radio we use to communicate between the yacht and the dinghy or shore crew who carry waterproof hand held radios.
While on the subject of communication I should mention the humble mobile phone. For Tour 2 reception has been available off and on which is an advancement on last year where coverage was more limited.
Fair winds, smooth seas and the rain can stop now