8 January 2008, La Paz, Baja California Sur
01/08/2008 4:45:21PM 24 12.911N 110 17.915W Day 213 Up this morning at 0700; 69 Degrees, Clear, Wind Calm.
[The above painting is titled, "Okay, so I was wrong..." and is hanging in the main saloon of the Star of India square-rigger at the San Diego Maritime Museum. It seems apropos for people planning to head over the horizon, eh?]
Right after, "What do you do at night when you're at sea?" the most common question we get from landlubbers and coastwise sailors is, "Aren't you afraid of being out of sight of land?"
Well, maybe Columbus was wrong and we will just fall over the edge where there be the moat of monsters. But from our experience so far -- most of the coast of North America -- we only briefly had the shore in sight while we were making our passages. Occasionally we'd see a mountain peak peeking up through the clouds, fog or mist, though that was extremely rare. Maybe surprisingly, offshore sailing provides a strong sense of security. There is no seaweed to tangle the underside, no fishing boats, no crab or lobster floats, no shoals, breakwaters or bar entrances. After the three-day passage from Neah Bay, Washington, to Newport, Oregon, we didn't become unnerved until we reached the hundred fathom line and began seeing other vessels. Closing with the coast created a new category of anxiety -- we'd rather be far offshore.
I spent much of the early part of the day doing routine ship's work, refilling the water tanks and cleaning out the navigation station chart drawer. There were several remaining paper charts of Alaska that I've now put aside for a boat called The Other Office. They're planning a cruise up north later this year and can use the charts. The skipper is planning to visit us next month and pick our brains on the best places to cruise in Southeast Alaska.
The Puddle Jump. This afternoon I located a place online to download the Atlas of Pilot Charts for the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. These books provide a month-by-month graphical depiction of the average winds and seas, number of gales, sea surface temperatures and more. The information is a compilation of reports from high-seas vessels over the past two centuries. Pilot Charts are an invaluable planning aid, especially when we're trying to map out a six month voyage halfway around the world.
Also today, 2nd Mate (our apprentice navigator) located star charts for the Southern Hemisphere, which we'll need for our celestial navigation on the way to the Marquesas Islands and beyond. As an amateur astronomer I'm more than familiar with the only sky I've known since birth, but the Southern Cross, Magellan Clouds and other celestial objects in the southern sky are completely foreign. The apprentice and I will begin studying the new-to-us stars now so we won't be completely displaced when we cross The Line.
1st Mate: We were all up early today. I made the kids eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast. Grace and I did a lot of projects today. I helped her with telling time by using some clock pictures where she had to write what time it was, 2:38, 3:14 and so on, then she had to look at two clocks and write how much time had passed. She did great and understood half hours and quarter hours much better. We did a lot with a globe today, too, and she is having fun practicing cursive, although it is not part of her actual lessons I threw it in because she is ready. I also made up two batches of cookie dough so we can bake cookies later. I made snicker doodle and oatmeal chocolate chip. I read some of a new book today by James Patterson and took a short nap. We getting ready for guests to bring pizza and we can all go see the movie up at the arena tonight. It was just a day to catch up and relax a bit.
2nd Mate: Wildlife seen today: red-tailed hawk, western grebe, frigate bird. First of all, I will stop mentioning western grebes as they are very common in this area. Also, I want to mention some background info on yesterday's "fun fact." As you probably read yesterday, I said that the term "gringo" came from Mexican soldiers during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) who yelled "Green, go home" to many of our soldiers who were wearing green uniforms. However, my cousin Adam emailed me this morning and stated that, although American soldiers wore green uniforms, they didn't wear them until the 1940s (WWII). Before that, we wore blue uniforms. I got the fact from a book, where I overlooked the word "myth" after reading it. Therefore, if you want to view possible origins, click on this link. Anyway, I woke up around 0710. Ayudé a tolerancia con un juego video antes de escuela (which translates into "I helped Grace with a video game before school"). I've been working on Ancient Greece for the past two weeks, and I must say it is very interesting. We had lunch and are now watching "Gilligan's Island." We are going to have the Theophilus crew over for dinner tonight. We plan to go see "Hairspray" on the big screen for a family movie tonight.
Cabin Girl: I woke up and I heard the SSB, which sounded like a UFO. I did some school work. I read my printed reader. I read the story of "Solomon Owl." I worked on the geography of the world's oceans and continents. I did some cursive and time puzzles. Then, I watched "Gilligan's Island" with Grant. I played with my "Polly Pocket" set and we're going to eat pizza with our friends. It is movie night!