Lord Howe to Noumea, Day 4

Last night was interesting aboard “Moonshadow.” “Interesting” usually means no sleep for me and last night was no exception.

A cold front began passing over us, bringing lots of wacky wind shifts, dramatic changes in wind speed, squalls and the odd “sparkler” or lightning flash in the clouds. This always makes for challenging sailing, especially at night when visibility is already poor and it is very easy to become disoriented. Twice when the squalls hit we hove to, or parked the boat with the sails up, while the wind did it’s convulsive routine and the heavens opened up with rain. It was sort of like running through Nature’s Coral Sea Yacht Wash-pounding rain, driving wind, zero visibilty. The only thing missing was the $25 bill and free cappucino while you wait. “Moonshadow” was sparkling clean this morning, the salt, grime and fish scales washed away by the water blast.

After three good drenchings in the middle of the night, the winds finally backed around to the west and we began sailing a course directly toward the pass entrance to Noumea in the lumpy seas left over from the noreasterly. The breeze steadily dropped off and once again we are motorsailing, albeit in a gentle swell and clear, sunny skies.

Tim and I were reflecting on the huge mahi he caught yesterday. Tim commented when he was reeling this monster in, the drag in the reel was getting hot! Mahi do an interesting chameleon act. In the water, they have an irridescent blue color. When they come out of the water, they change to a greenish gold color. This is why the Mexicans call them “dorado,” meaning “golden.” When they die, they turn silver, as if their soul has left their body. A few minutes later, they return to their green-gold color. At the end of the day, they taste great.

As of this writing, our postition was 24 deg. 15 min. south by 164 deg. 32 min. east, or 149 miles southwest of the reef pass entry to Noumea and a stone’s throw from the Tropic of Capricorn (23 deg. 27 min. south) Given our present course and speed, we should arrive at the pass just after sunrise tomorrow morning (good timing!) and be at the Customs dock in Port Moselle about two hours later.

Champagne is cooling.


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