Sometimes it's no use fighting things you can't control....The wind being foremost in my mind.

We set out from Kavieng on the 16th of March after waiting all morning for the weather to clear (no point starting out wet) and soon found that our preferred course to the Hermits then on to Palau was somewhat a physical impossibility. We had a strong north easterly, easterly waves and a head current of about one knot making sailing not only uncomfortable but painfully slow (Hafskip doesn't really like the wind right up her ass) quite simply...we capitulated and took the path of least resistance....North, with our closest landfall being Chuuk. Funny how, when you make these decisions things fall into place a little and we made pretty good progress (not record breaking) to our new destination with the wind half on at about 10-15knots helping us cut our way through the 3 metre waves.

Now of course the inevitable happened....our newly fashioned and subsequently re-worked (twice) autopilot couldn't cope with those side on waves and bent, rendering it useless (again). So my extra special hand steering callouses are back again and our well worn piece of string now takes pride of place at the helm.

Actually we did pretty well with our bit of string (christened Steve after he became such a valued crew member)....aside from the odd squall and after squall fickle, farty winds, Steve held tight through most of the trip. Unfortunately we did cop quite a few squalls, averaging 4 a day for a while there. In fact we'd had a bout the buggers before we approached the equator which meant both of us on deck for most of the day and night and our celebrated equator crossing was a little damp and weary. Neptune still scored the compulsory offering though, but omitted the traditional dousing as we felt we'd been doused enough!

Most of the squalls we encountered were travelling west so we managed to position ourselves to minimise the gusts and rainfall, but every now and then we got blasted or would have little choice but to pass through them. Luckily the nastiest only reached 30 knots of wind and as we were reefed pretty much the whole trip we were usually able to hold course. In fact even Steve managed to deal with a few of them on his own.

Our nice strong North Easterlies abated somewhat the closer we got to Chuuk so our planned North East passage through the reefs that encircle the lagoon became the westerly Piaanu Passage. It saved us a good 50 miles of sailing but did mean we had a strong head wind and as we needed to motor through the reefs this put a strain on our engine that we really could have done without!.... You see, whilst the engine itself is grand that water pump is still a pain in the ass (yes another part to replace before we move on) and we were showering the bilge and engine with sea water every moment the engine was running... OK for a while, but with a head wind of 20 knots, 2 metre chop to battle and reefs to negotiate, inevitably it overheated. This meant we had to hoist sail and sail right past Weno Harbour to a suitable anchorage downwind (the Blue lagoon Resort, aka Intercontinental Hotel). We managed this successfully and almost before we'd set the anchor down, Ralph was out in the Dinghy in search of Beer.

So all in all not a bad run, no major engine damage, pleasant anchorage and our first beers in 10 days gratefully consumed before crashing unceremoniously for a well-deserved sleep. Only check in to perform as best we could in the morning.