Storm (Day 16)
10 April 2011
John's Blog Updated. Original post with photos: http://travel.reservationkey.com Latitude: 2.3941 Longitude: -128.15114
Last night we experienced our first real storm at sea. We could see the clouds building in front of us all afternoon, and by sunset we were just entering into the thick of it. The clouds were dark, and spread for miles on either side of us. Just as we started eating dinner the rain began falling. The boat was drenched by about 10:00pm and the rain stopped. We thought that was all the rain, but things really started picking up when Bruce started his watch at midnight. Within about 10 minutes we went from motoring in calm seas to over 30 knots of wind with pounding rain. The strong wind lasted for about an hour, and slowly settled back down over the following six hours.
Now that we are in latitude two degrees north, the only wind we see is when we are near or in a squall, most of which are quite small. Since there is no wind we have started burning our diesel supply to get us through the equatorial zone. We will probably need to motor for about three days which will take us far enough south so that we pick up the southern Pacific trade winds. Those should start kicking in around two or three degrees south. Here, there is so little wind that the water becomes shiny and oily looking.
Our project for today was clearing a clogged line in the forward head's holding tank. This meant mostly a repeat of what we did a few weeks ago. The tank was about half full this time, so slightly less heavy, but still too heavy for one person to lift. Bruce rigged a lifting line so that Francois and I were able to raise the tank out of the sail locker, onto the deck. Then came the messy job of emptying the tank overboard. This turned out to be less messy than expected since we hose clamped a plastic Zip-Loc back over the outlet, and when the tank was on its side, we just punctured the bag with a screwdriver. The bag was ripped off by the pressure and everything drained pretty quickly. It turns out there were hard deposits built up in the drain hose, and after removing those, everything flowed smoothly. Bruce has now reworked the drain system so that the holding tank is now bypassed. He can pretty easily re-connect to the tank when needed. He also has ordered spare parts so that he can rebuild the hose configurations to make things easier to clean out in the future. These are just some of a bunch of parts which will hopefully be waiting for us when we arrive in Hiva Oa.