House Arrest (Day 12)
06 April 2011
John's Blog Updated. Original post with photos: http://travel.reservationkey.com Latitude: 8.38386 Longitude: -124.44688
Antoine has been commenting that it feels like we are under house arrest, being confined to the boat like we are. That certainly is one way to put it, and not too far off from what it is like to sail on a boat for three weeks straight. While the time is getting long, it still is not too bad. And once we are there I am sure we will look back on this as being a great experience. I keep telling myself to enjoy the experience of being out here, since this big of an ocean passage is not something I will likely do again for a long time. Of course the trip from Tahiti to Hawaii is a pretty big ocean passage, and not too far off. Although, because of commitments at home, it is uncertain if I will be on board for that leg of the trip.
We are well into the trade winds now. We have had consistent winds of 15 to 22 knots for the past 24 hours and these conditions are predicted to stay with us for the next few days. At about 2.5 degrees north, the wind really starts dying off, and I am thinking we likely will have dead flat seas at the equator. Which is why it is good we have lots of fuel on board, so we can motor through that 300 mile wide equatorial no-man's zone.
Yesterday Bruce figured out why our batteries were not properly charging. It turns out to be neither the alternator or the regulator, but a slipping drive belt. The heavy load on the belt combined with hot weather probably caused it to wear out sooner than it ordinarily would have. Luckily we have spare belts and once a new one was installed, the batteries are charged to a much higher voltage than before. Without refrigeration, our drain on the batteries is much less. With solar and wind power we are able to maintain our battery levels, even while watching movies on two flat screen televisions, and charging three laptop computers. Maybe we should have turned the refrigerator off earlier. After all, computers and movies rank pretty highly in our lives here.