08 August 2009 | 25 miles off of Oregon
The day dawns beautifully, I get my first sunrise at sea which is why I choose the 4-8 watch. When I first came on at 4am the moon light in the sky was so bright it cast shadows on the seas which look silver and smooth. The wind picks up over the first two hours and it looks like we'll be able to hoist a sail as soon as someone else is up to assist as we didn't set the lines all back to the cockpit. Our number one rule, well the rule right after boys sit in the head, is that no one leaves the cockpit of the boat when they are on deck alone.
Scott rises at 6:30 when it becomes light out and we raise the sails and turn off the motor. Nice...... We sail along nicely and we have a pod of False Orca dolphins join us and swim around the boat and provide entertainment for the crew. The book I'm reading is finally becoming interesting and I grab it now to read what will happen and not so much out of obligation to finish it. I really must work on my commitment level as I believe it is too high for what I'm doing with my life currently.
By late afternoon the winds have built to 20-25 knots and the seas are very confused which means we have swell and waves coming from two different directions. Scott is again fighting feeling the effects though Dave and I don't seem prone to sea sickness. We listen into the VHF radio and get the latest weather forecast. Oh surprise, they have now issued a small craft advisory and a dangerous sea condition warning and the wind is to increase to 30-35 knots. The good news, me ever being the optimist, is that we aren't considered to be small craft and the forecast for further down the coast calls for only NW swells which means the ride will smooth out.
The confused seas and wind have the ride above the deck so that you do not want to leave the cockpit even if you were wearing the safety line holding you to the boat. Waves, though not breaking on the boat, do break near it and the wind at 30+ knots blows the water straight at you. We are all wearing our full foul weather gear topside and I've placed anti skid under the cushions so they don't slide off as the boat pitches around on the waves. Quick note, the anti skid which is that rubber like shelf liner you buy in rolls is the bomb! Things all ride securely with that under it. I have had a metal basket of veggies and fruit on the counter with a little square of that under it and it hasn't moved a bit. My extra roll has now been consumed with cutting pieces to place under anything that dares move.
The ride below deck is vastly different. You can lay on your bed and read and it doesn't feel all that unpleasant. You can still feel the rolling of the boat but it is smooth and natural. To me it almost feels like a dance with the swaying to the motion and response of the boat to its partner the sea. Walking around and going to the bathroom of course of difficult. When going to the bathroom and pulling up your three layers of pants you must find a secure spot to place your head after binding to a 90 degree angle at your waist and place your feet shoulder width apart giving you a secure 3 point hold. Cooking is reduced to heating water and with luck pouring it into a Cup Of Soup. You can only do one at a time so you can hold it while pouring (all the anti skid has been used) and then hand it up to the person in the cockpit.
The night comes and the sound of breaking waves all around you is eerie and a bit unnerving if you weren't so confident of the boat's ability. But off shift sleep comes and the bruises start to appear from the spots on the elbows and knees that get hit as you get tossed about.