After the Gale
02 July 2014
We just passed the 50th parallel, but it has not come easily. Our passage thus far has seen unseasonable weather - and an onslaught of lows traveling across the pacific. The North Pacific high has waxed and waned - allowing these festering lows to migrate into our path and several days ago we found ourselves on the wrong side of one and riding out a gale for a couple days. 30-knots of sustained wind and 4 meter seas begin to take their toll on a boat and crew after a while. The boat is washed repetitively with sea water, and it eventually finds it's way into places through small deck leaks we never had. The cacophony of riot is astounding. Rigging strains with shock load forces as the boat lurches and bounds through the seaway. Bulkheads creak incessantly and drips of seawater appear on the settee cushions and the forward bunk. We are wet. It's impossible to sleep as my ears lock into every sound for clues of something going wrong. I think about contingencies..if something happens, what will I need to do quickly? What about this? What about that? If we hit something, or something hits us, how will we stop the water? Will we have time? If we lose the rig, how will I rig an antenna for the HF radio? What if one of us gets badly injured, or worse, falls overboard? We're over a thousand miles from anywhere and there's nobody else out here. We are essentially alone on the planet. I've thought about these things before, but in a gale, the loop plays over and over and it's stressful. Kiri, our cat, is not impressed and she climbs onto our chest peering into our eyes as if to say "can you please make this stop? " We took some evasive action by veering north to let the low sweep over us faster and it did. Things have been much better since yesterday, though we are seemingly trapped in the center of the low in dense fog as it moves along with us. But our weather guru tells us things will be improving as this dissipates and there's nothing concerning in the near forecast. We've now sailed over 3000 miles and have 750 miles to go. With any luck we'll make Kodiak in 6 days. Looks like we'll miss 4th of July, but it will sure be nice to dry out, see Piper and maybe even stroll on up to the Kodiak Island Brewery...not necessarily in that order.