Week 2 from Galapagos, via HF radio
07 June 2013 | In South Pacific
Week 2 remote post Friday, June 7th 2nd week at sea. Here is the second update to the blog using SSB radio. Since last updated nothing much have change. Haven't seen another boat, ship, or yacht since day 4, not even on radar or AIS. About the only thing I have seen of man is his trash, one can of WD40, some paper, fishing floats, and plastic cups and bottles.
I still haven't run into any fishing lines. And to top that I haven't caught any more fish either. But I did lose the only lour that I was catching fish with. Tried a few others, but no luck or no skill, but still managing to lose them also. Not complaining because right now the seas are so ruff I would properly release them just so I don't have to clean them on a pitching, rolling deck. And then again . . . The good side of not catching any fish I won't have to share my rum with them. Give them a shot of liquor and they quite flapping. They quit everything.
The Wind Vane steering oar is still on but with a following sea Windy is not able to put the boat back on course after one of those big waves knock Irie II off course. Will have to give the manufacture a call once I get an internet connection for Skype and see if we can fix the problem. In the mean time Otto and I got a lot of work to do. Been thinking what if I had to steer the rest of the way. Am I'm in shape for that, easy answer - hell no! So I have been doing a few hours of manually steering to try and build up my upper body strength. Am I'm ready to steer all day? Hell no! Maybe in a few more weeks.
The Southern Cross Net is for boats to share positions and problems with other boats on the way from the Galapagos to the Marquesas and in case of an emergency, well at least somebody will know. Most of the boats have already reached or will today. Only 3 of us left, Alamanda who left a few hours behind me but is 3 days ahead of me and Ithaka, who left one day after I did and is less than a day behind me. There are a couple of other boats out there but they don't have SSB or they don't care to share their position with anyone. So we all should be there by Friday. Phil and I have been managing to make radio contact almost every day now since I'm closer. He's still in the Marquesas, which is surprising to me; I figured he would be half way to China by now. Guess he really want his spare Autopilot that I got for him.
Now what do I do all day in the middle of nowhere? I have some F.U.N. Doing what you may ask, doing nothing is the answer. Finally Understanding Nothing. Anyone who have been at sea by themselves for over a week or anyone who have been locked up in solitary confinement will understand the concept of F.U.N. It's perfectly alright to do nothing and enjoy it. Back in the world if you're not doing anything then you are not productive and not being productive can get you fired or a spanking. At sea just watching the motion of the ocean all day is alright, just watching the stars race across the sky is alright. Getting a nap in the middle of the day is mandatory.
The weather report, GRIB files, say there are big swells headed this way, at least 5 meters high. They didn't give the direction or the period. But to be on the safe side the last three boats head north for the equator hoping to get far enough away that they don't bother us too much. Of course this adds distance to an already long trip, but a comfortable ride is well worth it.
On Monday I made it to the half way point. My water tanks are also half empty. I didn't get to filled them up before I left, because I found out that the little town dumped all of their untreated sewage into the little bay that I was anchored at. So no running the watermaker at anchor. No water is better then Bad water, I think? I'll just wait until I leave, only problem with this plan, I found out the watermaker don't work very well when the boat speed is over 3 knots. Keep loosing suction. So at the halfway point I drop sails. The seas are somewhat calm compared to the last few days. I guess to head north wasn't a bad idea. Turn on generator, turn on watermaker, and turn off my lights. Got about 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. No alarms to wake me up. Boy I needed that.
Next night those predicted swells start rolling in. Couldn't tell from which direction or how big, but damn did the boat rock. No matter which direction I turned. It would have help a little if there were some wind to steady the boat, but no - if you're going to mess with somebody do it in the dark. When the sun did come up I could see the swells, they where high. Some even 5m high, but that would be the average, some were bigger than that. When you on top of one it's like being on the mountain top, when you're on the bottom, like you're in the Grand Canyon. But the period was some 20 to 30 seconds apart. At that distance it was a gentle ride, but those local waves coming from the east - that is what cause all the confusion and rocking.
While talking to Phil on the SSB, I mention the problem with the GRIB files not showing the direction or the period between swells. The weather guru gets busy and by the next day I have instructions on what model to use, and what little boxes to check, and then I will get that info. But if you want other information you have to use the other model, so now just got to down load 2 GRIB files via HF radio, just don't get in any hurry, and being this far from a land station, I have to wait until night time to make a connection if I'm lucky.
The weather hasn't been perfect but it hasn't been bad. Still cloudy most of the time which means solar panels are not charging up the battery banks to 100%. But the rain gets rid of some of the salt build up on deck. So when I need some AC power instead of turning on the inverter I just turn on the generator, which charge up the batteries. But today the generator won't start. For the last few days and nights I've been getting hit with a few rain showers. Nothing major just the wind picks up a bit and it rains a bit. But yesterday I see this line of clouds behind me, yep I'm gonna get hit again, but it is 2400utc and time to update the log book and send my position reports. Didn't get to do either one, out of nowhere (or from the east) a big gust of wind hits, turn the boat on its side, not just healing I mean on its side. Crawled upstairs. The weather systems usually take a few hours to travel, but this one made it in a few minutes, rain and wind and lots of it. Of course Otto gave up and Irie II was left to fight for herself. I manage to get the jib rolled backed up before it rip to shreds, but the mainsail will just have to wait. So what seem like forever - I stayed at the helm getting soak until the wind and rain stopped. Or at least slowed down enough for me to go and reef the main, I put both reefs in this time, just in case. Back under sail with the jib partially rolled out. And no more rain but the wind stayed in the 20's all night. Now this morning, the generator won't start, must have backed water from the muffler back into the engine on that knock down, again. Damn it.
All those little black birds with the white tail that have been around since I left the Galapagos are now gone. Bigger birds that look like scissor tail sea gulls have appeared. Now where do these guys sleep? Ain't no trees out here. Only other animals I see are the flying fish. Is a group of flying fish called a school or a flock?
I have discovered a new drug to get high on, and it's not illegal and it's free. It's called LSD. No not that one, I'm talking about Longtime Sleep Denial. Take a hit of LSD and it's like smoking some really good weed. You get a good case of CRS, also known as Can't Remember Shit. Like the other day I was upstairs and really needed to do something, so I go downstairs to do it, but I can't remember what I went downstairs to do, so I go back upstairs and can't remember why I'm just sitting in the cockpit, so I go to the bow to clean the deck from dead squids and flying fish when this big wave comes out of nowhere and knock the shit out of me, Oh now I remember I went downstairs to take a shit. And the hallucinations, wow. The other day while having some F.U.N. and being somewhere between sleep and awake I see a bunch of giant Galapagos tortoises mating. They were even moaning and groaning, and unlike the ones at the breeding center these guys were really into it, more like rabbits. Then one of those waves bring me back to reality - Those were the big swells rolling on the horizon and the moaning was the autopilot motor noise steering up and down the swells. Could tell more, maybe at the bar.
The numbers; Total distance to travel on this leg of the round the world trip is 2920nm or about 3 weeks nonstop. In two weeks I have traveled 2077nm at an average of ~148nm/day. I have only 843+ miles to go. So I should make it by Thursday, 3 weeks just like I thought, unless something goes wrong. And if it does I'll just take another hit of LSD and have a little more F.U.N., heck I'm going to do that anyway.