Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View
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Eric & Sherrell
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Posted on Wednesday Apr 24, 2013
My night shift usually sucks. It seems that the 3am to 11am tends to be the lightest wind everyday. Last night however I was treated to a nice 8-10 NE breeze which lasted all morning. I think I managed over 5 knots most of the night and our 24 hour average was about 115 miles. It's so nice just to sail rather than spend my time tweaking, adjusting, changing course, cursing the wind.
When I checked our distance to Hilo, I was surprised to see it about 950 nautical miles. Yeah! 3 Digits! The sad thing is NOAA is telling us to expect 6-8 knots for at least the next 24 hours, and they got it right. We've got the big guns out and we are lucky to push 3.5 to 3.8 knots.
(While writing this we hit 2.4 at one point).
The weather has warmed up and Michael was happily complaining about finally feeling hot. It still remains pretty cloudy which has put a damper on our star gazing plans, but each day the clouds seem thinner. Who knows maybe we'll get a clear night yet. The moon has been out and is almost full which is nice for sail changes or just hanging out.
Amazingly we had a ship pass us last night. I wouldn't have known about it without AIS because I was never able to see it. It was about 12 nm to the south of us and seemed to be on a course for Panama. This is the first traffic we've encountered in 14 days. Perhaps there is civilization out there after all. Sometimes we feel like we've entered some kind of twilight zone of endless sea.
Posted on Tuesday Apr 23, 2013
The calm, impossible to sail times have been few fortunately. We made pretty good mileage in the past 24 hours in spite of my painful watch where I only managed 7 miles in 4 hours. I think we did about 122 miles overall. Michael had a great watch with plenty of wind hitting high 5's and low 6's often. Fortunately I had the foresight to take down our large drifter sail before I went off watch last night as the wind kicked up. Taking it down when it is dark and windy can be difficult. We turn downwind and put the large sail behind the main, then I blow the tack's shackle and gather the base together like a mad-man while Michael lowers the halyard trying to lower it fast, but not too fast so it doesn't hit the water -- a sailing faux pas.
I had another slow watch in the morning and I put the drifter back up around 10am and we've been flying it since. I don't think I will take it down this evening though as the winds have been lighter and less gusty. The light winds means we are only running between 4 and 5 knots, but there are hardly any waves and the motion is calm.
I've been having problems making HF radio connections to send out our email all day today, so I don't know if this will make it out today or not.
Posted on Monday Apr 22, 2013
As I feared the wind dissapeared. This has been a weird year for the weather patterns, normally the trades are strong NE where we are.
Since we orginally stocked up with a lot of fuel, I opted to burn some more rather than drift. From 5am to 9am I tried to sail in almost no wind and only managed 7 miles. We'll probably go a few hours then shut it down again.
Tomorrow's weather looks more promising.
Posted on Sunday Apr 21, 2013
The winds have been light out of the east, making sailing pretty slow. Gone are the blistering 6+ knots of speed. We are usually running between 4 and 5 knots. Having calmer seas is a nice break from getting tossed and slammed. I have mixed feelings about it because I like the solid strong winds because you can just trim the boat and hold on. The lighter winds are usually more work and I'm paranoid that they'll die.
Nonetheless, we've been making steady progress, but due to the wind angle we've been creaping northward. The forecast shows that the wind might build more out of the north, which would allow us to reach faster and head a bit back south for a good approach into Hilo. We'll just have to wait and see. So far NOAA's forecasts have been accurate.
I do wish we could stop somewhere and hike around or do some walking. Sitting/living in a small boat for long periods of time turns your legs into toothpicks. There's a solo woman sailor going around the world non-stop. I believe she's from the North West and she checks into the Pacific Seafarer's net every night. I have to wonder what it must be like for her, day after day, alone on her boat for months. She just passed under Australia and is working her way east. That's got to be a long and lonely trip.
Posted on Saturday Apr 20, 2013
Time really is a blur. I somehow convinced myself that I counted the days wrong yesterday. Now I've convinced myself that I was wrong again. Not that I'm really paying that much attention to time. The only thing we've been watching is 130W because that it about the middle point in the passage. I'm happy to report we are well past the midpoint at 131W.
Whoo hoo! I saved two cold beers to mark the progress. It's all downhill now, right? Right?!
I could rapture you with more stories of dumped food items, cold weather and getting sprayed with salt water, but I won't. The fact is I managed not to spill anything yesterday or today, the weather has warmed up a few degrees and the winds are down out of the upper teens to 20's and blowing at a nice 12-15. So not much in the ocean spray report either. In fact we are able to fly a little more sail with the gusts being lower and we're keeping a good 5.5 to 6+ knot speed on a MUCH smoother sea.
I've already been browsing restaurants in Hilo on the GPS. Too soon? Probably, but Thai Kitchen is saving a table.
Posted on Friday Apr 19, 2013
I think I miscounted my days in the last post. I'm a bit groggy I guess.
Now that we are in some consistant winds and not having to constantly change course/sails or beat upwind time has sort of gone into a warp of sorts. The days are blending and boat keeps on moving. We've had to put up a weather cloth to keep the sea out of the cockpit and we are still taking waves occasionally. The brillant blue water looks amazing like an electric blueberry color, but it's cold.
And it's been cold for days. There's been no sun for almost a week now and the night watches require multiple layers. I'm probably repeating myself in these posts, but dman it's cold.
In about 72 miles we will reach the half way point to Hilo. All this time I've been a bit worried about Jordan's paperwork for the 5 day or less quarenteen procedure for rabis free Hawaii. It turns out I had reason to be worried. Apparently a few days after we left PV Sherrell was informed by Hawaii that Jordan didn't qualify. She almost told us to turn around.
One of our 2 proofs of rabis said "Macho" and didn't have all the proper names filled in, so they rejected our application. All this in spite of the passing labratory test results and other proof of vaccine. Sherrell then spent the past week trying to track down the vet and get a letter to correct the vaccine information. This vet was in Oxacca, so you can imagine how hard it was for Sherrell to track her down, explain the situation, and get the letter faxed (no fax machine around). Needless to say Sherrell pulled it off and got Jordan back on the approved list.
Posted on Thursday Apr 18, 2013
The wind is still blowing and the seas are a washing machine mix of NW and NE with some E and some SW just for fun. With a double reefed main and the staysail we are managing 5.5 knots through the slop. Last night Michael got doused by a wave that came into the cockpit. He was wearing waterproof gear fortunately but it's never fun taking a night time salt water shower.
We are closing in our half way point and currently we are west of the contential United States.
I made chili last night but not without some difficulty. Everything was rolling and bouncing around. My bowl full of dried beans took a tumble, sending beans everywhere inside the boat. I think we'll be finding them for months. Then as I was working on the seasoning, the entire bottle chili powder tipped over and dumped out. That was a huge mess. And if that's not enough, when I served my bowl, I turned to put the lid back on the pot as we rolled really hard the bowl which was on a non skid pad didn't slide, but rather just tipped over and dumped out my chili. Great. The chili turned out good and it's nice for this cold weather.
And it is cold. I'm wearing nylon layer with polor fleace and then full foul weather gear on top with a winter hat. I was finally able to do my night shift without shivering. There's been no sun for days making things cold, gloomy and damp.
Posted on Wednesday Apr 17, 2013
We did 130 miles in the last 24 hours and are on target to repeat that again. The down side it is very uncomfortable and COLD. Freezing cold. I'm in full foul weather gear and we had a light cold sprinkle to top off our 20-25 knots of NE wind.
It's a bumpy ride and we're hanging on tight.
Posted on Tuesday Apr 16, 2013
We've finally picked up some more wind and have been moving nicely for a while now. We are officially further west than Seattle now (a personal goal). In this trip though we still have many miles to go. In fact we are not even half way there yet. Theoretically the winds should be better and better as we get further out into the ocean. They are starting to turn NE slowly which is a good sign. The forecast shows 10-18 knots for the next couple of days. Hopefully we'll be able to settle in and make some miles.
We're experimenting with our watch schedule so we're doing something like a 8/8/4/4 for longer sleeping intervals. That is 7pm-3am, 3am-11am, 11am-3pm, 3pm-7pm. I've found that every boat does something different when it comes to watches because it all depends on the crew and often the conditions. We need a nother day or two to adjust to the new schedule to see how it goes.
So far the food is holding up well. We no longer have: bananas, grapefruit. Everything else is still fresh because the weather has been cold and cloudy. Mid day temperature is 71F...burr.
Posted on Monday Apr 15, 2013
The last couple of days the winds have been really light. I think we've only managed about 75 miles a day. However we got some wind last night and this afternoon so we are moving again. The forecast shows more wind tomorrow from the NE! This will be nice change from NW. When it does blow we've been walking on the walls due to the healing. No complaints though.
We've been completely becalmed several times to the point where the ocean turns glassy and that is worse than "climbing" round the bucking boat when it blows.
It really is hard to believe how much water is out here until you try crossing it at walking speed. It seems endless and the depth beneith us right now is about 13,952 feet.