Mexico to Marquesas Day 10 - Lazy Daze
08 April 2013 | 02 43'N:124 17'W, 150 Miles North of the Equator
Oh lord, I'm late with my daily blog update. I woke up today to gentle seas, a nice sunrise and mellow boat speeds. Why can I not get on the stick and get with it? Must be The Doldrums.
The environmental differences we have experienced throughout this passage continue to amaze me. Yesterday was clouds, wind and rain. The days before consisted of rocketing winds and large following seas. Before that, big waves and wind, but confused seas coming at us from all angles. Today, it's almost flat seas and low wind speeds. Like hiking in the mountains, the ocean seems to have eco-zones, yet we as we march south, we pass through them horizontally rather than vertically.
An example today would be the wind angle. Up until late yesterday, all the wind came from behind us from the NE and we've sailed the whole time (over 1500 miles) with some form of downwind sail configuration, either spinnaker, wing on wing or broad reach. Late yesterday, the wind shifted forward 90 degrees to SE and now we are sailing upwind on a close reach. It appears that we have moved from the NE trades to the SE trades and although we have yet to cross the equator, SE is the general wind direction of the South Pacific. Technically speaking, we are not yet in the South Pacific until we cross that line of 00 00 000, but from an ecological zone point of view, it seems that we are already there.
Although we are now sailing rather slowly, if we were really concerned about boat speed, we could turn on an engine, which we did for a few hours yesterday. But although yesterday's wind speeds were in about the same range as todays, the sea state yesterday was much rougher. Flying sails in conditions like what we were in then always results in sails flopping around and rigging banging with every wave induced jerk of the boat. There was not enough wind pressure to keep the sails fully inflated which prevents them from reacting noisily to the up and down, side to side pitching. The motors are certainly noisy too, but not in the loud, unpredictable and often annoying way that flopping sails can be.
This morning, seas are incredibly smooth. Wind speeds are under 10kts similar to yesterday, but we are able to keep the sails up and make 4 or 5 knots of boat speed in relative quiet and comfort due to the calm seas. We would go faster if we cranked on the motor, but with smooth sea conditions such as this, we're taking it slow and saving fuel with a pleasant, lazy and quiet ride.
Apparently, we're fortunate to have ANY wind. After all, this is the latitude of The Doldrums, the place of legend where sailing ships of old might languish for weeks. Or not. For the moment, we're in the "or not" category, moving slowly perhaps, but moving forward to our destination "only" 1100 miles ahead.
Position: 02 48 359N, 124 11 770W, Boat speed 5kts, Course 225T, Wind Speed 7-9kts, Temperature 83, Barometer 1012 steady, Humidity 68%
And still having fun.