So close and yet...
07 July 2011 | Somewhere out in the Big Pond
What a last couple of days it has been! But not in the way you might think. This time instead of having too much wind and sea we had too LILTTLE wind! That’s right. We found ourselves staring at our fuel gauge wondering how much we really had in the tank and just how far it would take us and, more importantly, when the weather might change.
We found ourselves on Tues. and Wed. with a consistent 7k – hardly enough to give a fully-burdened, liveaboard boat like Time Warp any traction through the water. I mean, let’s face it – at 3k you just aren’t gonna cross the Pacific Ocean in any record-setting time!! Plus I had committed to racing on J’s boat (Bodacious) at Whidbey Island Race Week and the pressure of possibly missing that while camped out in the middle of a big pond was most annoying. The problem was further exacerbated when the ship’s computer had the hiccups which effectively cut us off from getting weather forecasts or emails from Will advising us on where to go.
And so it was that Jim and I found ourselves discussing our options and strategies for best managing the dwindling petrochemical resource that might help us escape the high pressure that had camped on us. It was a fairly agonizing 48 hours, full of twenty minute bursts to the next wind puff before shutting the engine down.
Finally last night, in a fit of frustration, I furled the jib, pointed the boat towards the barn, and gave the engine half throttle in a vain attempt appease my growing anxiousness and to also conserve fuel. Well, God answers prayers. Because after motoring half the night we found ourselves motoring this morning into a 15k easterly! Now an easterly in this neck of the woods is about as common as bats out in the middle of the ocean. (More on that later.) We have been expecting a westerly or NWesterly all along.
So for now we are hanging onto a thin, easterly thread as we scamper towards Cape Flattery and the entrance to the Straits of Juan de Fuca at 7k and only 800 nm away! How long this breeze will last is anyone’s guess, but we’ll take it.
As for the birds, at night our stern light has attracted these small, black birds that move like bats with their random, jerky flight patterns. Jim called them bat birds, to which I figure we must be sailing on a bat boat in the middle of a bat ocean! But let’s not go any further with that one, shall we?!! They are pretty vocal little guys and other than getting close to the stern light, they stay pretty much away from the boat. That is, except for the one that got a little too close to the jib in the middle of a luff. The jib bitch-slapped the poor little bugger right down onto the deck. I found him on the deck back by the cockpit in the middle of the night a few nights ago. He was shaking the cobwebs out of his head and wasn’t looking too perky. But I guess he must’ve gotten it all together cuz he was gone again an hour later.
Other marine life has been pretty much non-existent. No whales yet, unfortunately. But this morning a huge pod of small dolphins swam with us for awhile. This pod covered a good three acres of water, there were so many of them. Some of them would jump out of the water during the surface breathing. It was a fun albeit brief source of enjoyment.