Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On Gas and Wind

I'm on sunrise duty again. We're more than half way to Zihuatenajo and hope to make it in by tomorrow morning. We've been motoring for over 24 hours now as the winds are very light or non-existent and coming from directly behind us. That's the problem with Mexico cruising. Either there's a weather warning where we stay put, or there's a weather window, which means there's no wind.

Michael and I had a familiar conversation at 1:30 a.m. this morning, except it usually takes place in a car on a road trip somewhere: Should we stop and get gas? Although we started this passage with a full tank (105 gallons), our fuel gauge seems only to work intermittently. Most of the time it shows we are completely full. So Michael (aka McGyver) has taken to measuring the gas in the tank by using a long wooden dowel, and then measuring the fuel level with a ruler. We keep track of our engine hours, so this way we can figure out how much fuel we use per hour. Based on our estimates, we'll barely make it to Zihuatenajo, unless we get some real sailing in later today. That's what I'm hoping for.

Usually, in a car, like many men I know, Michael's the one to 'risk' it, which drives me crazy as I'm always worried we'll run out of gas and get stranded somewhere. I like the security of a full tank of gas (and, as an aside, a clean boat - another oddity of mine: I must start a passage with a clean boat - I was up 'til all hours the night before we left cleaning the windows...) This time, I'm willing to risk it, even if it means we have to bob around for a while going reeeeallllly slowwwwwly using only our sails. And of course cars don't have the option of hoisting a sail.

Like this longer 3 to 4 day passage, I figure it's a good dress rehearsal if we do end up going to the South Pacific, which we still haven't decided on yet. You see, this lack of wind requiring us to motor most of the time would continue into Central America. In the meantime, if we go to the South Pacific, there is much more wind. On the other hand, based on our calculations, we'd be spending 25% of our days getting to and around the South Pacific being on a passage (including 3+ weeks at sea just getting there, without seeing any land, or having the option of seeing any land, for that matter). But at least we'd be sailing, even if some of it is merely bobbing. With the continuous hum of the motor giving me a headache all day yesterday and continuing into today, the South Pacific is sounding much more attractive.

Sun is rising, dolphins at our bow. It's not all bad.

-Barb, 12 miles offshore, approx. 20 miles south of Manzanillo (we didn't stop for gas)
18 degrees 41.611 minutes North by 104 degrees 10.372 minutes West

P.S. Now that we've passed Manzanillo, we are officially the furthest south we've been yet. Another milestone.

1 comment:

  1. Have food, good weather, toilets still working...guess you can risk the gas tank.
    Home schooling still on the agenda during the day? What a life! 24 hours of labour without pay! But I bet you love it all!