04/15/2010, Off of Mexico a few days back
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|South Pacific Crossing||
04/14/2010, 2500 miles west of Venezuela
Confession: I, Manjula, in a post nap stupor, delirious from the tropical heat and stunned awake by a sudden lack of boat motion, stumbled into the salon and poured myself a refreshing cup of Capt May's twice-born water. Just previously, as I was un-lulled from my nap, the word "squall" had been uttered and as it wafted into my awakening consciousness, nervousness had overcome me. So when I climbed into the salon and saw Steve and Kurt about to jump in the ocean for a swim under clear skies, I was relieved, even joyful. It was an emotional moment. In such a state I forgot to put the water jug on the floor instead of the counter, one errant wave later, et voila. The Great Spill. Fortunately, I am the captain's favorite.
I almost feel like I should describe my 'three jibe night' last night as well. Perhaps not.
Here is an aviary update. We are now regularly accompanied by boobies. We are scaring up fish on the ocean's surface, and boobies are swooping and dive bombing around us from morning through evening. We have clearly been able to identify both Red-footed Boobies, and at least one Masked Booby- very handsome. We also have seen quite a few Wilson's Storm Petrels and possibly a White-tailed Tropicbird or Antartctic Tern migrating(?). This is a mostly snowy white bird with a couple of long, elegant tail feathers- a beauty. We had been given the impression that we would not see birds out here, and we are so happy that this is not the case. It is funny how exciting these birds are to us. We know there are fish all around us too, in spite of the first mate's inability to catch any, but we can't see them.
We are in the dark nights of the month now, as you may have noticed, and the stars are breathtaking out here. The Milky Way is glowing brightly and is very well defined. Plus the breeze is warm and the sea is full of phosphorescence; Endless Summer is leaving a trail of glowing, sparkling water. So the sensation while sitting outside during night watch is dreamy-- floating in the darkness yet seeing stars below and stars above.
|South Pacific Crossing||
04/13/2010, In the North East trade winds
We have definetly arrived in the "trades". Steady winds blowing east of north at over 10 knots. We have had up to 20+ knots of wind and it hasn't stopped since Sunday morning. We are averaging 7 knots and have been surfing at speeds into the low teens. Trade wind clouds are all around. they are low and fluffy and small, but everywhere. One would think it wouldn't be sunny , yet it is. The heat is becoming more intense with some very high humidity. We managed a swim this morning when we "hove to". It was still rough but endless summer sits quite still when hove to. The ocean temp was 82 and incredibly refreshing.
Our chief engineering officer and great leader has been in contact with the technician who helped him rebuild the water maker. Mike, the tech got info from Spectra, the water maker, on a work around and a fix. We tried the work around first as the other could make the water maker unusable. By running the water through the filter twice we were able to make water that tasted like "aire", essentially the same as distilled water. So our problem is solved. However we made only 3 gallons of this delicious elixir yesterday in several hours due to all the plumbing and experimentation. Also some seasickness working in the hot bowels of the boat with it pitching as we "haul ass" at 8 to 11 knots. We figured we would just make more today. This morning we had an instance where the 2.5 gallon jug of " aire" water so laboriously made was catapulted off the counter and spread all over the cabin floor. A few tears were shed but the bright side is the floor got a really nice fresh water mop and now feels great.
|South Pacific Crossing||
04/12/2010, east pac
-- Guest blogger Kurt here for an update from the Eastern pacific. We are on a similar latitude to Guatemala city or to Dominica in the Caribean. We made great progress yesterday due to increasing winds. We flew the spinnaker (fast complicated sail that really does the job) all day and took it down at 930 pm. Lucky we did because the wind came up even more during the night. Also we went from a sunny beach like weather condition to overcast with light drizzle, high humidity and heat.
On to a more important topic. This trip was billed as a paradise afloat. Microwave, vegetarian cuisine, lots of sun and fresh air and all the other necessities of a pleasant holiday. Right up on top of that billboard, shouted loudly from several rooftops was desalinated water that tasted like "aire". Having sailed on Endless Summer and tasted some desalinated water I was dubious. The problem is when you make fresh water from sea water you must discharge the first gallon or two as they are very briny. On occasion this discharge hasn't been done and the whole tank tastes yucky. Kinda like that cat in the the cat food commercial that lifts its nose at some lesser kibble waiting for its canned sardines, so too have the crew been lifting our noses recently at endless summers desalinated water in favor of bottled water.
Now I must give the Captain credit. He did spend an inordinate amount of money making sure this system is up to snuff, top of the heap, passing inspection, or tasting like "aire". I will freely admit that during a test tasting of water taken right out of the discharge hose in front of my eyes, that it did indeed taste like "aire" ( not san peligrino, it has salt). So the crew just figured somewhere along the line we (someone who does all the hard work and owns this boat) accidentally did not discharge the briny water in a tired early morning water maker session.
Well that's not the case. Turns out our learned and very experienced with boilermakers captain tried every trick in his considerable repertoire to unyucky the desal water. After hours of work he hoisted a cup of new an improved" aire". Manjula tried it and said, " gee thats some better, I think you did a great job, could be OK" She was very kind and supportive. I tried it and had to tell him the truth, It tastes like " yucky " still. So at this point we wondered just how much salt is in the water. Well good question we don't have a salinity meter aboard. We came up with the idea of boiling down some known quantity of water and seeing how much salt is left over in the pot, Kitchen science. Turns out there is half teaspoon per quart. Go ahead and mix this up for yourself and see how it tastes. For the heck of it we boiled down some seawater and got 9 times the salt.
Steve has had emails and phone calls to the technician who helped him rebuild this system just weeks ago. The jury is still out on what they may discover but so far nothing great.
But the silver lining to ll this is our wise and prudent captain has thought of this very predicament. He brought enough bottled water to last us through our 3 week holiday at sea. Actually there is a bright side. The small amount of salt in the desal water doesn't taste very good but it does feel great on your body after a shower and the dishes really sparkle.
Please let us know if the google earth info is getting through. Did our picture of Steve post also?
Bill and Sherry, nod nod , wink wink. I feel vindicated after your recent exploits. Stay out of trouble.
|South Pacific Crossing||
04/12/2010, A long way from Kansas
Greetings, and thanks again for reading our blog and all the comments and well wishers.
Nancy you asked if we would stop at Hawaii. Actually Hawaii is too far west for us. Hawaii is 2000 miles south west of LA, 2000 miles west of our current location, and 2000 miles north of where we are going. If we went to Hawaii it would be very difficult to sail to French Polynesia because of the wind angles. A couple of people have asked about our dogs. Last year we took both Mickey and Suki with us on our "practice cruise" to Mexico. Suki did great and loved it. Mickey liked being with us, but when we were gone from the boat visiting friends or going to a restaurant he would jump off the boat and swim to shore. One time he did this in a crocodile infested river where we were anchored. We were of course worried that something would happen to him so we sent him home. On this trip Manjula's mom Tami is again taking care of our house and this time has both our dogs along with her own two poodles. So it's Tami and four dogs!! She's good with the dogs and it is nice to have her taking care of our home for such an extended time. Thanks Tami!!
So we have had some pretty light winds for the last couple of days. We haven't made as much progress as we had hoped. We are moving at around 125 to 175 miles per day during the good winds, but we had a couple of sub 100 mile days. That was great for relaxing and swimming and getting caught up on sleep, but not great at getting us to the Marquesas. We are talking to other sailboats on the long range radio most days. One of the boats just arrived, and others are going to be arriving this week. There is another group behind us, or east of us. They left from various ports in Mexico. One of the problems with leaving from Mexico is that it can take 600 miles to get out to the steady winds. We are 800 to 1000 miles off shore and so we have not had the kind of no wind days that some of them are having. I heard one boat give his radio check in by saying that his course was nowhere, his speed was nothing, the wind was non existent, and he was just bobbing around...for days! Today we had light winds that slowly built until now at midnight we are sailing along nicely. We expect the next several days to be pretty good sailing days as well.
Up until now the winds have been mostly north west and then north for the last couple of days. We have been expecting the winds to veer to the east and are starting to see that happen, but it should go much more east over the next several days. If you can see our course on the map, you will notice that up until now we have gone mostly south with only a little bit of west. That has been our plan, but also has been up to the wind direction. As the wind veers east it should allow us to sail a little more toward the south west. We hope to go about 300 miles west over the next 500 miles south.
Speaking of south, we are now south of Mexico, and most of the Caribbean islands including: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, the Virgin islands and Haiti. We are really in the tropics now. It is not hot at night, but very humid. We have been seeing some more Boobies flying in pairs and small groups. I'm working on a nice sunburn.
When I was a young boy my Mom used to read a book to me. I can't remember the title but the story was about a guy who kept getting in and out of difficulties. It read, "Sam was flying in a plane. Unfortunately the plan started to crash. Fortunately Sam had a parachute. Unfortunately the parachute didn't open. Fortunately he landed in a hay stack. Unfortunately there was a needle in the hay stack." and on and on. That's a little bit like being out here in the great big ocean on this little sailboat. Unfortunately we ran out of wind last night. Fortunately we have a motor and turned it on. Unfortunately we blew an alternator belt and overheated the motor at 1:30 in the morning. Fortunately we have two motors and turned on the other one. Unfortunately everyone was awakened by the commotion. and so on...
I think we've got Kurt talked into making an entry so stay tuned.
Best to all.
|South Pacific Crossing||
04/11/2010, 1000 miles from Hawaii and Zihuatanejo
Good Morning~ My first truly middle of the night watch. Started at 2:30am and it is just getting to 6am. We are starting to get balmy nights-love that. I've been gazing up at the stars trying to recognize constellations but now that we are this far south the night sky is very different. Kurt- avid Astronomy mag reader- has been helping me. I think I just stared at Scorpio for the better part of the last 3 hours. Yes, we are getting to really slow down out here.
Yesterday was great. I took my first middle of the ocean swim. Kurt and Steve had done that the day before, but I had balked at the 72F water, whimp that I am. Yesterday our water temp gauge told us it was 75 degrees, so I was in! Steve and I tried out the new sup (stand up paddle board) which was awkward and awesome at the same time. Awkward because it takes some effort to stay balanced, and awesome because we know we'll get good at it and love it. Incredible experience to swim in that electric blue, perfectly clear water.
Our other highlight (unlike Steve, I do not consider repairing one's boat in exotic locations a highlight) was seeing a Booby bird. He is out here in the middle of the ocean and seemed as excited to see us as we were to see him. He circled us for around an hour, frequently trying to land on the top of the mast. He had some trouble doing it, and even more trouble staying there. He was big and beautifully aerodynamic.
Basically we see one boat and one bird a day. So we are not alone out here after all.
The sun is rising, everything is lilac and steel. Time to rouse the captain. Thank you all for your encouraging words!
|South Pacific Crossing||