Hi all....Dave here on nightshift. I have not done a blog update for so long so figured rather than doing a daily update we try and email to family, I would do this blog update via Iridium email for a change.
We are on passage to Tonga and are just over 40 miles away...We should arrive early tomorrow morning. Just as the sun was going down tonight, a group of whales swam in front of us. One was wallowing literally 30 feet in front of the bow so we changed course to avoid any possible contact. I took some pics so will try and upload them when we get internet again. These are the kind of things that make you so thankful to witness, and that never get old, no matter how often we see them.
As we sail from Niue to Tonga and head ever further west, we finally changed timezones and lost a day. Niue is -11 hours behind GMT, and Tonga is +13 hours ahead of GMT......so despite them only being 250 miles apart, Tonga is literally a day ahead, but the same time.....so all we had to do was change the date on our watches....not the time ;)
Tonight will also be the last night we spend at sea for a while, before heading from Tonga to New Zealand. We will spend the rest of October exploring Tonga's many islands and then look for a suitable weather window in November to turn south and sail to NZL, hopefully via Minerva Reef if the weather allows a stop over there.
It's incredible how time has flown since we left Madeira Beach in April !!!! I looked over our track in the chart plotter today, and since leaving home we have sailed just over 8,000 miles, with still another 1,200 miles remaining to get to NZL. When looking at the track today, I also reflected on how relatively "green" we were in the beginning, and how far we have come thus far experience wise.
We have certainly gelled so nicely as a family in recent months. I said something similar in a recent email update to our families, but will say it again......it's amazing how many times on even a daily basis our lives depend on each other. In many of these ultra remote and deserted places you are 100 percent on your own.......no 911 to call, no home depot etc......if you are injured you better take care of it yourself.....if and when things break, you fix them, or do without.
The kids have come a long way and now actively help with so many critical tasks like taking down the spinnaker or Puff when the winds get too high; they now drive themselves around in the dinghy to fellow kid boats etc, rather than relying on dad ;) They help stand watch while Guds and I rest. Ben loves winching in sails, launching and driving the dinghy, and reminds me so much of when you first get a driver's license! Gaby loves to help clean the underside of the boat and has become fearless diving down to even clean the keels and rudders. She has also taken a shining to cooking, and has created her own hand written cook book.
It certainly was a tough beginning with multiple breakages etc, but it seems as time passes, less goes wrong and more goes right! I am sure it's a combination of us getting to know the boat and ourselves better, being more careful to pick suitable weather windows, and just much more experience in general the more time we spend cruising. I have no doubt there are many tough and challenging times ahead, but they will be overcome and ultimately make us all stronger and better people. Thank you to all of our family and friends, that have helped us along the way, and that continue to help us, and most importantly, thank you to my wonderful wife and partner in this crazy adventure of ours!!!!!
So as I read up today on Tonga and did some planning, it was fun to look back at our track and reflect over the past 7 months. Guds and I talked about what we want to do in NZL and where we want to go and explore in 2017. We are so privileged and blessed to be doing what we are doing as a family, and Guds and I often look at each other and say "can you believe we are ACTUALLY doing this....?!... very cool ;)
So with that, back to looking out for boats, whales etc. It's a moon lit night so hopefully will be an easy nightshift ;)
Cheers and all the best to everyone.... and thanks for all the great emails and well wishes we receive from so many different people!!! We can't wait to catch up with friends and family in NZL and AUS!!!!!
Dave and the Cool Runnings crew.
Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.