December 11, 2004

So its the 11th now and weve been here almost 2 weeks now. Weve got a lot done. We sent the mainsail off to New Zealand to be repaired, if it can be. Weve been tracking it via the FedEx web site and it h as been in NZ for 3 days. The sail maker, however, reports that it has not been delivered. They say the FedEx people have told them it is awaiting customs clearance. Who knows how long that will take.

We took on fuel yesterday. It was not too much trouble though it took a while to arrange and there was a lot of waiting at the dock once we arrived for the fueling to start. First a guy from Mobil had to come down and inspect our setup and advise us on how to prevent fuel spills (they provided some absorbent pads which they insisted we use to stuff into the hawse holes (holes in the side of the deck where water drains off) to prevent any spilled fuel from going into the water there. This is more care then I have seen taken with fuel anywhere in the third world and, though it is a bother, is a good thing as it keeps fuel out of the water. We always stuff rags or something in there to prevent spills anyway.

Meanwhile, now we are sitting here waiting for a big blow to come through. As of this morning it is a Tropical Depression, 2 steps below a hurricane (called a typhoon in the Pacific). After TD comes a Tropical Storm, then a Typhoon. The demarcation is based on wind speed of course and a Hurricane/Typhoon has a wind speed of 64k (I think). I cant remember right now what the wind is for a TS, but the reports now are saying 30k gusting to 40k, so obviously a TS is (roughly) between 50k and 64k.

At its current speed it should arrive here tomorrow morning. Today the weather is beautiful and we had planned to move over to the other side of the island to Nan Madol, but we would rather not sit through a cyclone in an unknown anchorage. Better the devil you know, and it is a devil here. The mountains around us have gaps in them to the West. Reportedly, winds funnel through the gaps at higher speeds then they are beyond the island. Further, the winds vary from North to West and in between and come in huge gusts then pause and then switch to the other direction and blow like hell again. So, we are going to put out a second anchor, about 100 degrees West of the direction of the first (which is oriented to the North).

Oh, did I mention the bottom is a loose slurry of thin mud and that holding sucks? It is and it does. So it should be fun. We dragged our CQR (plow style) anchor the second day here in 15k of wind. We switched to our big Fortress (danforth style) and weve been fine since. That anchor is really built for mud and burrows down deep as more force is applied. But if the wind blows 50k from the West the Fortress will trip (pull out) as it is not designed to hold with a side load. It will reset, usually. But having the second anchor (a 66lb bruce) set to our West should prevent the Fortress from experiencing side loads.