Wednesday, September 5th ended and it is now Friday, September7th. So what the heck happened to Thursday? It simply didn't happen aboard Astarte. You see, we crossed the international date line and we literally miss a day. So hopefully nothing noteworthy would have happened aboard Astarte on that day – because history will not record it! It is strange to suddenly be missing a day – in fact, there are days in our lives we would rather miss!! Who knows what might have happened to us on Thursday, 09/06/2012 (or as they write it here (06/09/12).
We continue to make our way to the Kingdom of Tonga – as this is being written we have less than 70 miles to go. It has been an interesting trip. It started well with decent winds and a steady 5 plus knots boat speed. Then, the wind just died. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We simply drifted in the Pacific. We knew there was this big storm ahead – a trough that was part of a convergence zone (whatever that means). And we could see grey clouds ahead – this was the calm before the storm. Then about 1900 (7 pm) the winds started to hoot and the squalls started. We were ready. We knew it was coming and we had heard on a radio net that it had passed over the Vavau group in Tonga just around 1730 with 25 knots (someone else reported 40 knots). It was coming our way and we had a very small reefed mainsail centered so we could manage the backing winds that were forecast. The lack of wind earlier proved to be relatively good news. The seas didn't have a chance to build – so even as the wind was a steady 20 plus with higher gusts – the seas were not unbearable. In fact, Astarte handled the storm quite well. And so did we. We both kept watch for the first few hours of the storm and then we shifted off and on after a few hours each. The storm passed but the winds and rain squalls stayed with us throughout most of the night. About daybreak the winds just died again to absolutely nothing. This lasted through most of the morning and then picked up again. Now it is blowing a steady 12-16 knots and we are making good time – though we did have to slow down to arrive at daybreak tomorrow. It took us an extra day out here for this relatively short trip – but with no winds for so long, you don't tick off the miles quickly.
It seems the last two passages have been tough ones – but we are learning more and more about how this boat handles in big seas or big wind or a both. We should arrive in the Kingdom of Tonga sometime on Saturday morning (Friday morning for many of you!) now that we are on the other side of the International Date Line.