Day 2: Light winds. Swell is sniffing out the trades like a hound dog on a rabbit scent. We are headed southwest at about 220 degrees, hoping to make it into latitude 3 and 4 south where the consensus seems to be that we will find winds that blow consistently in the same direction for thousands of miles. I’ll believe it when I see it. We’re motoring off and on. The cacophony of noises from the smacking sails in the light wind, along with a terribly rhythmic squeak coming from the tightly-packed hole where the dinghy is temporarily stored, are pushing me to the brink of insanity. Mother dearest is settling into the general discomfort of sea life mixed with its awe and glory. With amazingly ironic timing, the Ipod that my friend Seth gave me decided it did not want to cross the Pacific, and died on the spot. So much for the many months I spent collecting music for this very passage. Thankfully, I can still play music through the computer, but so much for moonlight dance parties with the headphones. (Little Ryan is still going strong though, so thank you again, Mr. Hargrave!)
Day 3: Still searching for wind. It’s scary to think of what would happen if we never found the trades. The squeak is still driving me mad. I made a sorry attempt at finding its origin, but gave up and ate cookies instead. My mom credits her bad hearing to the fact that “it’s not really bothering” her. I mounted the big fishing reel Jack gave me on the stern pulpit and team Clark successfully practiced setting the spinnaker pole. With Mom’s help, it went ultra smoothly. We made guacamole and toiled through a few crossword puzzles (her current obsession) after tackling the pole. She is getting more used to the motion, but admits to “dreading the coming of night.” The new moon mixed with her poor night vision seems to be making night watches a bit intimidating. We have yet to see a single boat, so I have restructured her watches to include either a setting or rising sun, so as not to leave her in the ‘dread’ for too long. I am quite happy to take over the dark hours, especially with an array of stars unlike any I have ever seen shining brightly during these hours. With the bow pointed just north of the Southern Cross, the sound of water rushing by the hull, dolphins crisscrossing in phosphorescent streamers… In the words of my Grandma Myra, “Heaven can wait!”
Day 4: We found the trades during the night and are now flying along at solidly over 7 knots on a broad reach that would probably be the sailor’s equivalent of a surfer’s barrel! Miles are now melting away, but we’ve decided to put electrical tape over the “Miles to Go” number on the GPS. It’s kinda like the numbers on a treadmill - impossible not to look at and always annoying, no matter how close you are to your goal. Our stalk of bananas seems to be getting more yellow right before our eyes - approximately three dozen are going to ripen all at one time. Needless to say, there will be no potassium deficit aboard.
The swells are getting bigger and more confused - some straight from the south and others more from the east. Staying directly on course is putting us right in their troughs and rolling us from side to side like Swell is trying to master the halfpipe. I made my second unsuccessful attempt at using the Monitor wind vane. I have read the manual from cover to cover twice. Every time I set it into use, the boat rounds up into the wind.
For now, the expensive piece of stainless will cling uselessly to Swell’s stern like it has for the first 4,000 miles of the trip. However, we did successfully eliminate “the squeak” with a combination of wedged screwdrivers and cursing, and we have now both decided that dinner can wait until tomorrow.
Enjoy a hot shower for us!!
Liz and Melissa