A friend of ours, Rob, on another boat had to go into the water to check/repair something on their rudder. Turns out he got stung by a Portuguese Man-Of-War. Did you know that the Portuguese Man-Of-War is a free floating colony which is free-swimming and umbrella-shaped and has a gas-filled float and some polyps delivering a potent sting, some digesting food and others reproducing. These jellyfish are quite poisonous also to humans. It turns out that he was not wearing a wet suit or jellyfish suit. These generally provide the barrier of protection to avoid getting stung. Fortunately our friends were able to get the stingers out by scraping it off with a credit card and ingesting a high dosage of antihistamines and lots of rest. As of this morning it sounds like he is doing fine.
Eighteen boats checked into the net last night which is actually quite amazing. That's a lot of boats all heading (generally) together from Mexico to the South Pacific. All are doing well even though things always seem to break -- be it water in the engine, a torn sail, chafe, a problem with a VHF radio or SSB. These repairs tend to keep everyone active and busy through the day. Fortunately there have not been any major mechanical problems other than our friends on another catamaran that, when leaving Puerto Vallarta, one of the blades on one of their propellers fell off. With a catamaran they were able to use the other engine to return to the marina. They were hoping to get it repaired quickly and start again. The problem is that by the time they can get it repaired their window for crossing the Pacific narrows. As a result, they have taken the prudent route of deciding to push off their crossing until next year. While I am sure it is disappointing, itt has some real pros for them as they will get to spend more time in Mexico and then their plan is now to head south into Central America and cross to the Galapagos and then the South Pacific. So all in all they will end up seeing a lot more rather than being rushed through the South Pacific this year. We will miss hanging out with them though.
We've also been spending a lot of time as we get closer to the equator and beginning to cross the ITCZ dodging squalls. These tend to pack a lot of rain and sometimes gusty wind conditions and thunder/lightening (the latter we fortunately have not seen). They are something we try to avoid but they form and dissipate relatively quickly so they can come up on us rather quickly (like the one right now!). They do show up on the radar (because of all the rain) so when we see them on our track we do our best to adjust course and skirt around them. Usually works. Other times the boat gets a good wash down!
Michael (somewhere in the Pacific)
Day 10 Stats:
Distance: 132 miles; Total trip: 1519 miles; Average daily distance traveled: 152 miles
Average Speed: 5.5 knots -- slow day as winds have lightened as we have begun to enter the ITCZ; Average overall speed: 6.3 knots
Sea Conditions: Morning saw 100% cloud cover, and squally, and then in the afternoon it was beautiful, hot and humid with clear sunny skies. Seas have been 3-4 foot long period swells. Winds have been much lighter today from the E to the NE varying from 10-15 knots.
Incident Report: Dodging squalls as we go. We went through two bigger ones but they served nothing more than to wash down the boat. Still haven't seen any lightning. Some water in the bilges - not sure where it's coming from but nothing to worry about at this point as it could be from the rain showers.
Fish caught: Didn't put lines in the water yet again today. Which puts our number still at zero.
Produce Inventory: Everything else holding nicely. Can't believe I still have lettuce!
Meals/Snacks: Breakfast was matzah with cheese, jam and/or almond butter. Morning snack was kiwi and plums. Lunch was chicken matzah ball soup. Dinner (2nd seder) was egg in salt water, chicken soup with matzah balls, sweet and sour chicken meatballs, kugel, salad and apple peach cake for desert.
At 4/20/2011 05:01 (utc) our position was 07°00.96'N 125°54.39'W