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3 Oct 05

Monday, 3 October 2005, at sea - 18 28'S 176 76'E

Dear Friends and Family,

After two weeks of heavy SSE tradewinds the weather moderated yesterday.  So last night we said our sad/warm farewells to Fijian friends ashore at Robinson Crusoe Island and set sail at 8am this morning for New Caledonia.

Amanda gets out the spinnaker sheets
Amanda gets out the spinnaker sheets,
just in case...

The skies are bright blue, the sun hot, the sea relatively calm, and Ocelot is loping along at a peaceful 5 to 6 knots on a close reach to the Southwest.  This is our first ocean passage in about a year and we are getting our sea-legs back slowly but surely.  Our niece Tianna (almost 17) is with us so we have a crew of four: Jon and three women!

We are sailing loosely in company with another "teen" boat, Scud.  They're a family of four (two teen sons) who we first met in Grenada 3 yeas ago.  It has been wonderful to re-connect with them and the kids have been spending many hours together.  Their sons have finished high school so while Amanda and Tianna were doing school work in the mornings, the Scud guys were usually out windsurfing, surfing or kite-boarding.  Afternoons were spent playing cards, swimming or just hanging out.  The last activity usually extended until midnight each night, often ashore at the island in hammocks or around a bonfire with the Fijian staff.  Anther teen boat, Safari, arrived a few days ago so there were 7 boat kids having a blast.

Reaching across the trades into another beautiful sunset
Ocelot reaching across the trades into
another beautiful South Pacific sunset

Jon and Peter (Scud) have had endless conversations about the weather, trying to find us a relatively comfortable window for our 630 mile passage to New Caledonia.  Good fun for them to have each other to throw ideas around with.  We made good friends with the Australian owners of Robinson Crusoe Island and hope to see them in Australia in December.  Sue and Tina (Scud mom) have been swimming an hour each day with snorkel and mask but no fins so the arms get a work-out.  This has, of course, been combined with shelling activity, producing some beautiful new species of cones and cowries, plus gorgeous (empty) harp shells.

It's now late afternoon and we're scooting along at 6 knots with a gentle sea.  We had fresh green salad for lunch and Amanda is now making ginger cookies for comfort on this, our first night watch in many months.  We anticipate a night of bright stars for we are sailing at the dark of the moon.

Best wishes and Fair Winds -- Sue, Jon, Amanda and Tianna aboard s/v Ocelot

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