Jumping the Puddle- part 5
07 April 2008 | 11? 26'N, 119? 50'W
Day 17 06? 16N, 129? 47'W
Last night we hit a bunch of squalls that we just couldn't get out from under. Lots of rain which is a good thing, it washed most of the salt off the deck and rigging. And lucky for us we didn't have any significant wind increase associated with them.
This morning the wind shifted to the south- that's a first- and it's still windy. Judging from the squall activity and shifty winds I'd say we're in the ITCZ. Maddie requested Christmas music so we were hunkered down below to stay dry and listen to Mannheim Steamroller.
The wind died in the afternoon so we're having to motor.
Day 18 04? 33N, 129? 48'W
Another great day of "Tradewind" sailing.
Even though we haven't seen another vessel since we saw Shambala eleven days ago, we don't feel completely isolated. We check in nightly via the SSB radio with the Puddle Jumper's Net- they track everyone's position, take reports on weather (barometer, wind, waves, etc.) and even submit our positions to Yotreps. Yotreps is similar to the www.shiptrak.org site that I submit my position reports to. (In fact, for those of you who don't already know this you can watch our progress by logging on to the shiptrak site and keying in our ham call sign: KI6HKE.)
In addition to the Puddle Jumper's Net, Kiell on Shambala had an informal net going twice a day with 3 other boats who left with them from Manzanillo. He welcomed us to his radio check in and has since also picked up Tin Soldier and Don Pedro. It's nice to hear everyone's voice and hear about what they're experiencing.
Day 19 02? 22N, 129? 55'W
Last night the wind clocked around to the NNE so we were losing a lot of our westing trying to go south. We finally gave in and ran the motor so we could maintain a reasonable course.
In the morning the wind died nearly completely (less than 2 knots of breeze).We ended up motoring ALL DAY. Aargh! We really hate burning the fuel like that but the only other options are to just bob around until the wind shifts or go sailing in the wrong direction. Neither too appealing, eh?
In addition, without the wind it became very hot in the cockpit- talk about an energy drain- until I finally rubbed two brain cells together and remembered to put up our shade cloths open up the center panel of the dodger.
We briefly considered going over to clean the bottom growth off the bottom of the boat. Yes, it's true. Some barnacles can attach themselves and start growing on a boat while it's moving at about 5 knots! And left unchecked it can slow a boat down by anywhere from a quarter to a full knot. We don't actually know how much we've accumulated but we figured there must be some because Tin Soldier found some when they went in the water. Also, we seem to be noticing a decrease in boat speed even when motoring.
So we talked about it but between my EXTREME lethargy today (sleep deprivation + heat + boredom one lazy girl!) and the fact that I'm a little freaked to be in water with thousands of feet in depth beneath me, we decided it wasn't critical at this point.
Day 20 00? 42N, 130? 29'W
After motoring all day and all night yesterday we finally got wind at 7:30 this morning and we are sailing once again. The wind is from the east so for the first time in a long time we are actually sailing toward our destination! We had hoped we'd be crossing the equator early this evening but now that we're sailing and the wind is still fairly light we're doing less than 5 knots so we'll have to put off the offering to Neptune until the wee hours.
Otherwise it was a gorgeous day, much cooler now that there's wind, and the girls and I made bread while we listened to the Dixie Chicks.
Since we knew we wouldn't be waking the girls up for the equator crossing, we had a "Pre-equator Crossing" happy hour in the cockpit- sans booze of course- and then watched "Bee Movie".
Later, just before midnight, we finally crossed into the southern hemisphere, thus evolving from "pollywogs" to "shellbacks". The tradition is to honor King Neptune by offering him (pouring over the side) a wee bit of the most expensive libation on board. Thanks to our dear friend, Uncle Jake, we had a bottle of very nice French Champagne to toast the King- and ourselves- with.