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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Day 21
Bruce
04/15/2011, South of the Equator

The previous 24 hours were good sailing. We logged 140 nautical mile sduring that period, which was characterized by flat calm interrupted by strong winds.

Today, the trade winds have disappeared. Today is our 21st day at sea. We have had very light winds throughout the day, in fact so light that by mid afternoon we had less than 5 knots of wind, coming from the North. So we were obligated to start the engine and make our way to our destination, hoping for more trade winds along the way.

We are actually hoping for a squall to come our way, to give us some wind so that we can sail again.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Winter Approaches (Day 21)
John
04/15/2011

John's Blog Updated. Original post with photos: http://travel.reservationkey.com Latitude: -5.30744 Longitude: -133.33444

It didn't take long for signs of winter in the southern hemisphere to start showing up. Since crossing the equator we have had much more clouds and rain than on the northern side. The good part is that these storms bring more wind which means we can keep moving. Yesterday we made about 130 miles which is pretty decent, especially considering we have had a lot of slower days recently. This weather also is less predictable. After light winds all morning, we are now motoring since the wind has pretty much disappeared. The storms also bring rain which is refreshing. Last night I was so hot I sat on deck in the rain and really chilled out for awhile.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Day 19
Bruce
04/14/2011, Southern Pacific Ocean

Today we finally found the tradewinds and sailed south west towards our destination, Hiva Oa. The sailing was highly variable, which kept us in our toes and busy all the time. Squalls are abundant, so we found ourselves frequently reefing the sails in anticipation of a big blow, then unfurling the sails after. At around 3 this afternoon, the wind died to almost nothing, less than 5 knots. We tried raising the spinnaker but even that would not stay filled. Finally around 3:30 PM we started the engine and motored. Less than a half hour later we had wind again, and within minutes we had 20 to 25 knots on a beam reach. We had a nice time sailing, getting 8 to 9 knots boat speed. Finally we saw another squall approaching so out of prudence we reefed the sails yet again. This was followed by about an hour of rain, then clear skies and reduced wind, so we unfurled the sails again.

This has been the pattern today: big wind, big seas, followed by very light winds and flat seas.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Squally Weather (Day 20)
John
04/14/2011

John's Blog Updated. Original post with photos: http://travel.reservationkey.com Latitude: -3.9184 Longitude: -131.60971

We seem to have entered squall territory as we are encountering them much more frequently now. Last night we sailed through several mild ones. During my watch last night we were able to do more than six knots for much of it, thanks in part to winds from the squalls.

Just as we were getting ready to have lunch we entered into the middle of several squalls. Conditions went from sunny and hot to completely overcast, rain, and cool temperatures. Suddenly we were making 7.5 knots over ground. If only we could keep that speed up we would be in the Marquesas in 78 more hours. I had a fun time driving the boat at those speeds, and it was a nice break from the monotonous slower speeds we've been experiencing. Then, about an hour later, the skies quickly cleared and the wind died. Thinking conditions were good for the spinnaker we had all hands on deck helping to raise it. But once we got it up the wind died completely so we lowered it and are now motoring along at 6.5 knots, with some help from a light breeze. At this rate, my GPS says we will be there in 81 hours. But unfortunately we don't have quite enough fuel to motor all the way. Plus, we are trying to save some diesel for when we arrive as we have been notified that Hiva Oa has run out of diesel and they don't expect more until April 28th.

It is fun to see how we are slowly closing in on Hiva Oa though. We are almost back inside a regular chart on my GPS. For the last thousands of miles we have been off the chart, so to speak.

For lunch today we had a nice cabbage salad with canned pineapple and diced tomatoes. We finished the last of our pressure cooked meat a few days ago and are now starting to dig into our supply of cans. In one hammock we are down to one mango, one grapefruit and two oranges. In the other hammock under the dinghy davits we still have lots of tomatoes and apples. Our bread supply is a few loaves of Bimbo brand bread that is growing some white mold, but we can't taste the mold when the bread is toasted and peanut butter spread on top. White mold is harmless and we are glad it is not black mold which is not healthy to eat.

Our solar panels are working nicely and when we have wind our wind generator produces enough power at night so that we don't need to charge the batteries. Last night was one of the first nights we did not need to run the motor at all to charge the batteries.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Day 19
Bruce
04/13/2011, Southern Hemisphere

The trade winds finally filled in, we have succesfully transited the ITCZ. We had to use a lot of diesel fuel to get across the windless Doldrums. We planned for this, carrying about 80 gallons of extra fuel in jerry cans. We are getting a steady wind from the south east at about 10 knots. Not much, but we can make 5 or 6 knots boat speed with the spinnaker. We hope that the winds will get stronger as we get to more southern latitudes.

So we are now on our final leg of the trip, destination Hiva Oa, about 600 nautical miles away.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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04/14/2011 | S Muirhead
Hi. Just wondering - are you updating this bog with a satphone or radio? Great reading! Thanks.
John and Francois swim across the Equator
Bruce
04/12/2011, equator

Here's the photo of John and Francois swimming across the equator. The Equatorial Line shimmered in view, it's a transient optical effect, I think because the sun's rays arrive from directly overhead. We were lucky to have crossed over in mid day so that it could be seen.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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04/13/2011 | Barbara
This is truly an amazing sight! Thank you for sharing...
04/13/2011 | Blair Hunt
Absolutely fascinating!!! To be in the Pacific at the middle of the world. Would have never know about this....thank you. May the wind fill your sails!!
All the best from the Pacific NW, S/V Sabrina Faire
Across The Equator (Day 18)
John
04/12/2011

John's Blog Updated. Original post with photos: http://travel.reservationkey.com Latitude: -1.59266 Longitude: -129.09039

After 17 days at sea we finally crossed the equator last night.

Francois and I jumped into the water about 100 feet north of the equator and swam across. The water is around 93F and so warm. We were lucky to have calm seas and arrive at the equator during daylight. Although it was partly cloudy we had enough sun so that we were able to see the equatorial line created by the sun. While swimming we inspected the bottom of the boat and were surprised to see a lot of growth on the hull. I am sure it is slowing us down a little bit, but there was way too much to clean off last night. It will be one of our first chores to take care of when we arrive though. If we don't clean it off right away, we have been told that it hardens very quickly and becomes much more difficult to remove.

After our swim, back onboard we opened a bottle of Champaign, and, as tradition dictates, first poured some into the sea as an offering to King Neptune, and then drank the rest ourselves. Next we opened gift bags from Pascale as part of our equator crossing party. Everyone received a nice tee-shirt from Puerto Vallarta. My bag also contained a few shots of Tequila from The Tequila Factor in PV and a tube of Pringle potato chips.

Today the wind seemed to pick up some and we tried flying the spinnaker the last few hours, but the wind is still pretty dismal so we are back to motoring. In about 60 more miles we should get into the southern trade winds. If not, we can afford to motor a bit further as we currently have enough fuel to cover about 350 miles. Our destination is about 770 miles away.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Crossing the Equator: Pollywogs to Shellbacks
Bruce
04/11/2011

We crossed the equator into the Southern Hemisphere this afternoon at about 6:15 PM, with great fanfare. This was a very special occasion, for we, the crew of Calou, have graduated from being mere "Pollywogs" (those sailors who have not crossed the Equator) to "Shellbacks". To become shellbacks, one must not merely cross the equator on a boat. One must partake of the traditions of the sea. This includes an offering to Poseidon (we opened a bottle of Mexico's finest champagne and let some of it spray into the ocean), as well as a dunking in the waters (we went for a swim, and the actual equator crossing was by swimming across it for John and Francois).

Following this, we brought out the gifts and favors that we had prepared back in Mexico, all five of us had presents to open.

Antoine dressed himself as Poseidon, reigning majestically over the proceedings.

We Calouligans, shellbacks all!

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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04/12/2011 | Blair Hunt
CHEERS to you all!!! How exciting for you to experience becoming "Shellbacks". Continued safe journey. All the best from the Pacific Northwest. S/V Sabrina Faire

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