Sleepless nights--Days 14-15
25 April 2012 | 6 Degrees North of Equator
We've missed the last few days to blog, as the weather deteriorated rather quickly. what we thought was the beginning of the ITCZ, was a trough of low pressure that brought lightning, winds to 35 knots, seas to 12 feet, and sleepless nights for all. The mainsail was dropped and the headsail was reefed to barely the size of a handkerchief to slow the boat down. The boat still managed to clock strong 7 and 8's throughout the day and night. The morning brought less winds, but the seas were still tossing Sherpa around pretty good.
Luckily, Passpartout, continues to steer us on course, but below decks through the night, gear was being tossed from one side of the boat to another. Those of us not on watch slept with one eye open, for a missile in the shape of a duffel bag or backpack.
The upside of our 36 hours of "weather", is we may miss the ITCZ entirely (which is a good thing), as the trough may just connect the NE trade directly to the SE trades, with no convection, lightning or unstable air. The ITCZ generally meanders around between 3N and 10N, but can't be predicted, especially for a slow moving sailboat.
You would think it would be pretty empty out here in this part of the Pacific, but we've spotted 2 ships, one looked to be a rusty old fishing boat about 75 feet or so, maybe from Mexico or some other Central American country. This morning Pete spotted another vessel, with all her lights on. I think it may have been a fish processing ship, but am only guessing.
Sea life has been plentiful, we have several birds that have been around for a 1000 miles, they feed on the flying fish that shoot out from the front of our bow. We think they are terns, albatross's and boobies. The booby has tried numerous times to hitch a ride on the top of the mast, but we have made it an undesirable spot, blowing the air horn. He got back at us though, a nice surprise he left on the canvas below. We've also spotted a sea turtle, long, long way from home.
We're about 400 miles or so from the equator and expect to cross it over the next few days. It should be a beam reach after that right into Hiva Oa, but we'll see, as other boats have reported light SE trades.