The Merry Maiden  

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16:00 September 6, 1979

28.S 176.E


Welcome aboard. We are on our way to Fiji. We left N.Z. at 15:00 Sept. 3, 1979. Rain fell heavily for the first 3 hours and since we cleared the Whangarei head there has been only the slightest showers. Lots of clouds but also a fair share of blue sky and even stars and a full moon at night. We had strong S.W. winds for 2 and a half days. From 15-35 knots and we had, for the most part, just the Ticonderoda and storm jib for a stay sail. Making in one days time 180 miles! The decks were often very wet but it was a fabulous and exciting passage. Then this morning the wind let up till it was calm and we lowered the sails.

OOPS - I was interrupted.

Now it's the 9th 15:45. it's 82 degrees and calm as glass. We have had a few swimmers. Nice cool water. There have been porpoises entertaining us occasionally these last few days. Everyone gets excited when they come around. Today we had lots of 3' to 8' pilot fish and 2 Mahi-Mahi. There were lots of attempts to catch them. But we aren't moving. I mean not even a knot! It's crazy this place. We are only barely rolling!

Last night the stars came out in all their glory and I took a look with the binoculars and couldn't believe just how clear the night was and how many stars I could see. Oh yes-then sunset was great and I saw the green flash, no one else. Too bad. The moon rose as big as could be and it was neatly reflected on the sea as were the stars earlier.

Everyone really seems to be enjoying the calm and the warmth after N.Z.'s cold. We all get along amazingly well. It's a good group. Lots of smiles, jokes and laughter.

Today I rigged the drain for the double sink (before there was only one drain) and they work like a charm! They drain on their own with out a pump! No screen and no problem with chunks of food. What a pleasure. Two sinks and no need for a pump! The sinks are made of Kauri boards and they are so quiet compared to the old metal one.

The floor is now a foot higher and it's a joy to look out the portholes. The stove on its gimbals works great and everyone works with it fine. Only one spill, when Larry fell and grabbed the rail for support. What do you expect anyway!

I think you know about my crew already but, I will say some more in case I didn't. Bill, British, onboard for 2 months possibly for 3, then returns to N.Z. Jay, Canada, 2 months onboard and the unknown what he will do. Money is a shortage. Angi, German, 2 months then flying westward to Germany. Mike, Colorado, 2 months and then maybe 6 months or who knows. This is what he wants to do. Money not much problem. He says he has many friends who would sign on anytime. Offers to recruit crew. Not eager to sail to Hawaii. Prefers to go Westward. Reckons crew is no problem. Offers to pay more per month if its needed!

Anyway, It seems no one is in a hurry and yet they do want to see a lot. So I expect we will be in Fiji 2 weeks or less. Then on to New Caledonia, 1 week; New Hebrides, 1 week; Santa Cruz, 1 week; Solomons, 2 weeks; New Britain- New Guinea, 2 weeks. That's a fast bit of cruising but I feel that is what my crew will want. We shall see what develops. There are people we know in N.Z. who want to join in 2 to 4 months from now.

I can only say that. I can't tell if they will join or not. But there are quite a few people. So it might be that we won't be needing crew for a while. At this stage, and distance, it will probably be best if we find our own crew. On the other hand, if you come across someone with possible long-term potential, let me know about it.

The table that is being sent is for you to have and enjoy I'm sure. It is so very beautiful, all N.Z. woods put together with such care and beauty. I would like to have paid it in full and just sent it along to surprise you. I didn't have enough time to organize the money. So you will get a bill I'm sorry to say. I feel that you will find a good market for these tables and make a bit of a profit. The men that make them are very interested to have an agent in the states. They will make tables to design and size. They also make incredible chairs the likes of which I have never seen before. I fell in love with the things they had made. A genuine love of the wood with which they work. I feel the price is quite low, when you consider the quality and beauty. Just wait. You will see for yourself.

I was wondering if you have had any more dealings with Pitcairn Island. Have you bought any sharks? I also thought that Peabody would be interested in one of the marvelous models of the "Bounty". It's about $80.00 I think and well worth it. I will be buying more artwork soon and I'll keep it in mind that they wanted expensive items. By the way what is the financial situation with Peabody today? If we reach the zero point are they wanting more?

Now it 's 18:30 Sept. 12/1979 and we are anchored once again in Suva. Didn't make it in time for customs so that will be tomorrow. My, what a fabulous trip up we had. 9 days of really fine weather. Sunshine, moon shine and star shine. So many good sailing days with full sail and making 8-9 knots so often! It's really a super mainsail and so much less trouble to handle and it is so quiet. It's too good to be true.

We might be staying here for one week but I can't say for sure. I'll keep in touch and surely let you know of any definitive plans. I'll call you in the morning tomorrow!

Take care, Seaton

P.S. Great to be back in Fiji!

Next Letter: Brisbane, Australia, May 6, 1980