Chesapeake Bound - Day 5
20 May 2014 | 525 miles northwest of BVI
The winds have been very light, usually five knots or less. We did manage to try the spinnaker again yesterday and sailed for about two hours with it up. But soon we were back to motoring. We are only running the engine at 1200 to 1400 RPM. This is barely above an idle speed but we are making nearly five knots. We have a chart that shows us the fuel consumption at each engine speed. Combining that with the speed we are making through the water, we can figure out our miles per gallon. That's important because in rough conditions we would burn a lot of fuel and not get anywhere. We carry 75 gallons of diesel so we can motor for nearly 10 days at our lowest speed but only 3-1/2 days at our normal running speed of 2000 RPM. If we are motor sailing then the power from the sails makes a huge positive difference in our MPG. So, because the conditions are so light, we are motoring at our lowest engine speed to conserve fuel (and keep the noise level down). We should have plenty of fuel to get home.
So much for the technical stuff.. now for a word from Mother Nature. It has been incredibly beautiful out here. We are 450 miles from the nearest land, over 700 miles from the US coast and there is nothing around us. As far as you can see there is just the beautiful ocean. Yesterday, the ocean had no waves but with amazing long swells. That are, in fact, waves but are caused by forces far away not by the wind blowing right here. So they are smooth rolling hills of water that move the boat up and down but don't make things rough. They were about 6-8 feet high and rolled by about every 8-9 seconds.
These swells gave us a very unusual and amazing experience last night. As the sun was setting, the sky was clear so we were looking for the green flash. The green flash sometimes occurs just at the instant the last piece of the sun set below a clear sharp edge horizon (the ocean). There is a sudden flash of green light that is spectacular. Just as we hoped, we saw a great green flash as the sun set. Then the amazing thing happened. A swell lifted us up and caused the sun to set again and we saw an even better green flash. A double green flash! That's a first for us. Donna thinks she might have even seen a third one.
This morning as the sun rose, the sea was absolutely calm. There wasn't even a ripple on the water. The mostly overcast sky was reflected in the water. There were swells though but they were small and irregular. It made for an incredibly beautiful scene. If this were an English class paper my instructor would say I'm using "incredible", "beautiful", and "amazing" too often. But I disagree. Words don't do justice to how incredibly beautiful and amazing it is out here.
This morning we are 525 miles northwest of BVI. We have about 800 miles to go to get to the Chesapeake Bay.