FPB 78-1 Cochise is Panama-bound, 4700 nautical miles east from our present location, and the question of the day is when? We only arrived in Raiaitea four days ago, after 1800 miles, and you are probably thinking we are crazy to consider another passage so quickly.
But Cochise is so comfortable at sea that we enjoy being underway as much as sitting on the anchor…most of the time. Having Steve Parsons aboard with us to help with chores and watch keeping means we get more sleep on a passage–with the routine of three hours on, six hours off–than we do when sitting still.
So what is keeping us in lovely Raiatea?
After mid-day today absolutely nothing, even though the sunsets and sunrises have been wonderful. We have attended to the needs of Cochise. Engine oil has been changed, the bolt torque on the engine, drive line, and steering system has been checked, we have given the engine room a thorough look, and inspected the rig. This morning will see the propellers polished and the bottom inspected. We have our outward bound clearance to Panama from the French authorities, and will refill our center fuel tank (Cochise consumed less than a third of her fuel capacity on the trip from Fiji). The local grocery store is across the street from the fuel dock, which makes filling our fridge at the same time quite simple.
With 4700 NM ahead of us you might think the departure timing isn’t that critical. But when you have the speed and range of a cruising tool like Cochise available to you, it opens up a different perspective on weather routing. Leaving today makes the first third of the voyage more comfortable and more efficient than leaving tomorrow, and the next day is better than the day after. So having taken care of Cochise’s needs, caught up with business and family news, and had a walk ashore, somewhere in the next 24 hours we are Panama-bound (unless we change our minds).
Finally, a favorite photo of this year’s cruising. The barrier reef fronting the village of Uturoa shot with available light from the full moon, from the deck of Cochise at anchor.