Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 5 - Learning as we go

We've realized today that not all our blog posts were posting. We learn as we go, and this one we did because we hadn't heard anything from anybody for a couple of days. It's rather isolating out here, as you can imagine, so not hearing from anyone had us feeling a bit lonely. Our email gets sent over a very slow radio link and delivered by a High Frequency private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners ( Emails must be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) with no attachments. We had tried to post some photos (the shark that hooked our line, a sunset, Ruby the Booby sleeping on our solar panel), but unfortunately these files were too big to go. So we apologize in advance that from now on, you'll have to leave the scenes to your imaginations (think: water, water, water). Text only from now on. In addition, sending a file with a photo takes about 25 minutes to transmit and we are only assigned a total of 90 minutes per week of air time.

Today saw a bit of a rough day for me, although everyone else seemed to have been doing okay. I'm not sure if my nausea and headache were related to the sloppy sea conditions, falling barometer, lack of sleep or having the heavy refrigerator door fall on my head. Either way, I slept it off and am feeling much better now on my midnight watch. Daytime hours saw 15 to sometimes 25 knots of wind and our boat performs beautifully in these conditions. Today was our best day yet in terms of distance with 190 miles in 24 hours. Michael has been teaching me a bit about sail trim as we go, and I'm learning that it can be the subtlest tweaks that can make the difference between a choppy uncomfortable ride and smooth sailing.

It's been overcast almost the entire time since we left the Mexican coast, and this evening we experienced a little drizzle. The cooler temperatures are better for the produce and for the crew, so we're not complaining.

In the last 4 hours our wind has died to less than 10 knots and is clocking around behind us, so we are now bobbing around, going anywhere from 2-4 knots. We're pointing more toward Hawaii than the Marquesas. It's excruciating. The weather reports are still telling us to head more west than south to catch the trade winds earlier, so we are following this advice. Another learning-as-we-go: I thought the trade winds were 400 miles off shore and then we'd be sailing, so-to-speak, to the finish line. Not so. Looks like we need to chase those trades, and more than 800 miles later, they're nowhere in sight. Plus, you do the math: Heading more west and then turning south, as opposed to heading southwest, puts a lot more mileage onto this trip. I sit here watching the wind direction on our instruments and when it changes to a more favorable position, I change the boat's course to one that's more favorable. When the wind changes back behind us, I move the boat back upwind (towards Hawaii - sigh). And on it goes. You ask what keeps me awake at night? As tedious as this may sound, I am hopeful that after a few hours it will in fact make a difference. I don't know, but I'm learning as I go.

Our stats for Day Five:
Distance: 190 miles; Total trip: 811 miles
Average Speed: 7.9 knots; Average overall speed: 6.75 knots
Sea Conditions: Somewhat sloppy for part of the day; 6-8 foot swells; overcast most of the day; NNE winds about 15-20 knots
Incident Report: Barb got bonked in the head by the refrigerator door. It goes to show you that anything can happen anytime, so you must be alert at all times. Jib sail showing a bit of chafe from the seagull striker - will need to address in the a.m. A flying fish came flying through the small galley hatch and landed in the sink on Michael's night watch last night, then jumped onto the floor. Michael had to spend some time getting rid of all the scales that flew everywhere, as well as the stink!
Fish caught: zero
Produce Inventory: Way too many avocados. Michael made his famous guacamole today using 5 avocados and we'll freeze a couple of bags of it and see what happens. In the meantime, still way too many avocados left.
Meals/Snacks: Breakfast was veggie omelettes (onion, broccoli, zuchini, pepper) with toast; we ate late so our morning snack and lunch got kind of lost in the day with bagels and cheese and pears. Dinner was an easy bean taco and quesadillas with, you guessed it, guacamole, tomatoes and cabbage. Not a very exciting day as far as meals were concerned. I'm hoping to improve on the menu for tomorrow and throw in something special for my crew.

14 degrees 51.933 minutes North
118 degrees 05.663 minutes West
At 4/15/2011 08:08 (utc) our position was 14°51.74'N 118°06.23'W

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  1. As always, I'm facinated by the food! I have a hard time figuring out what meals to make on land. Can you just send me what you've planned for the next 3 weeks and I'll just make that. Looking forward to your Passover edition of the blog.

  2. I agree with Margo! We're having pre-passover meals like cheesebagels and fries, you know, whatever is left in freezer. Sounds like you guys are under control, please send your list of how you are managing that too. xox

  3. So true to life for us land people as Margo and Deb have confessed!

    My adventures this week were daring Sobey's and No Frills!

    Made macaroons today, Mike...sorry can't send any this year. They'd certainly get chewy anyway with all that moisture! Maybe you guys will make it to our seder table one of these years...we'd love it!

    Keep keeps mom calm!!

    Two weeks of kids off school starts officially now...


  4. Try making charoseth with avocados - let the mixture (mashed with chopped nuts, some red wine vinegar, and ...) get its dark color which will resemble mortar... Oh well, at least I tried to help...

  5. That sounds disgusting Freda! Nice Try.