28 March 2011 | Pacific Ocean
Today was our third day on the Pacific Ocean; we are now as I write, about 334 miles from our starting point. At this rate we are averaging about 137 nm per day. If (and that's a very BIG if) we kept up this rate we theoretically would get to the Marquesas in 19 days. Probably it will take longer.
Early this morning, I did the 3 am to 6 am watch. To our right side, and slightly behind us, was a bright glow on the horizon. Looking at the charts, it points directly to Cabo San Lucas. We could see the night time urban glow of Cabo from 320 nautical miles away! There was nothing else but sea in that direction so it had to be Cabo. John saw it too, on his watch.
We made very good time last night, averaging about 8 knots boat speed with the jib up in a 10 knot breeze. I was in the cockpit at 4 a.m. when something hit me in the leg. It was a squid. Those things get around. By morning we had several on deck.
We have been having a strange problem with the radar recently. The display says "no scanner", which is the dome shaped rotating antenna. Each time I turned the display unit off, and turned it on again, the radar would work again. Then a little while later, again, "no scanner".
Finally this morning, Pascale reported there was no radar scanner on her watch. I turned off the display unit, and turned it on again. No good, it still didn't work.
I'm fairly sure it's a problem with the electrical connection between the scanner and the display unit. A loose or corroded electrical connection, or a broken wire, probably.
We enlisted our friend and neighbor Judy to try to contact Raymarine for us. The stupid company only provides technical support via telephone or the web. No email!! What are sailors out in the middle of the ocean, with only email, supposed to do??
Thankfully, Judy pulled through. She got a very detailed troubleshooting procedure for us from Raymarine. We'll get into that tomorrow.
It will involve my getting into a bosun's chair and being hoisted up the rigging along the backstay to get to the scanner (radar dome). I'm not looking forward to that.
If we had to, we could live without radar. There are very few ships this far offshore, we probably won't see one until we get near Nuku Hiva. But the radar is also very good at observing squalls, which the ITCZ (inter tropical convergence zone) along the equator is famous for.
This afternoon, the wind died out and we were sailing at a leisurely 2 or 3 knots. So we hoisted our new spinnaker for the first time. The thing is a beauty and it had us moving at 8 knots in no time. We ran the spinnaker all afternoon until it started to get dark, not wanting to have to take a new, unfamiliar spinnaker down shorthanded in the dark when a sudden blow comes up.
We have been eating well. We had pancakes and syrup for breakfast. I barbecued hamburgers on the gas grill for lunch. For dinner I made Rock Cornish hens roasted with onions and squash, served with couscous. For now, I'm doing the cooking since the other crew members have yet to get their sea legs.
We adjusted our course to our ICTZ waypoint: 10 degrees latitude, 128 degrees longitude. This is supposed to be the point where the dreaded ICTZ is the narrowest. Our course is now 243 degrees magnetic.
All is well on board sailing vessel Calou.