In hind sight (wouldn’t it be nice if we had more fore and less hind), if we had entered the pass at Tarawa (Kiribati) and then lost our engine, it would likely have been a disaster of epic proportions. A boat friend who was in the Tarawa lagoon at the time told us that just inside the pass the waves had worked up serious altitude with the wind coming directly from the anchorage and a zig zagging sailing course would have made it impossible to avoid the coral heads (boat eaters) in the dark. Even if we had made it to the anchorage, there were no facilities to fix our mechanical problems and being located in the cyclone zone would be no place for a disabled boat. But I digress.
Dois spent a lot of time over the next week trying to find a leak he could fix but finally came to believe it was beyond his MacGyver abilities. It was likely the main seal between the engine and the trans and there was nothing to be done about it. Having no engine for getting into Majuro in the Marshall Islands weighed heavy on us but it is still sailboat and we were determined to make the best of the situation. All we could do was pray for an end to this nasty weather before we entered the atoll.
Ashika had crossed the equator just before Tarawa, so we were well into the area known as the doldrums; infamous for its unstable weather. This time of year was one when the cyclone season to the south was just starting up and the hurricane season to the north was just ending and we were in the middle of the confusion left behind. The wind was often light or non-existent in lumpy seas until a squall line would run over us and the tempest would scare me half to death. I think for the most part, Dois loved it because he’d much rather have wind than not.
Thank goodness we bought a boat with two heads (bathrooms). Now we had a new home for the dislodged solar panel to live. Due to the lack of sun in the forward head, our journey had a few more complications. The relocated panel supplies about 30 to 40 percent of our electrical needs, so the fridge struggled and all our frozen foods thawed and the iPad competed with the Inreach and the chartplotter for power.
The last two nights of this voyage were besieged by one long storm and we were tossed like a Mexican jumping bean. Sleep was illusive and fatigue was our worst enemy and these 48 hours are mostly a blur. We struggled to rest up for our sail into the lagoon at Majuro.
Don't miss the final installment of the journey to the Marshall Islands, coming soon to a blog near you: Hard on the Wind in Majuro - Part 3
Me: Its a book about the South Pacific from the ocean floor up and I keep going back to it to read passages again and again. This is an ocean lover's book and it does have meandering parts that I skipped.