SV Accomplice Blog week 20 5/3/20 to 10/3/20
Sat 14 Mar 2020 21:15
And we are off, over the line with full sails, low speed but sailing. The forecast that day was light winds and it was.
Josh left the boat that morning for a short shared taxi ride to the airport at the top of the island. We wished him luck in getting a job.
Not long after the start the wind died, we hung on to the sails as long as we could but had to eventually resort to starting the engine, always a sad moment on this boat. Some of the fleet crossed the line then directly fired up their engines and motored on their chosen route. Within a short period of time the fleet had spread out and we shuffled along at the rear. Our view was that it was a bit early to start burning diesel given that it was going to be at least a 3 week passage and the weather hereon in was unknown.
Then it rained.......and it hasn’t stopped since! This whole week has been one of chasing wind, losing wind, flogging sails, starting the engine and getting soaked! It has been frustrating to say the least. Then having a swell in the mix from a far off weather system that wants to roll you from side to side....get the picture?
These are the doldrums and unfortunately we were in then., period. We altered our course to make more of a southerly route, hoping to breakout and into promised wind. As we did so the doldrums decided to head south with us moving another hundred and twenty mile south. So everyday has been hoping that the next will be better. Every break in the sky gave us hope that things were changing and clearer weather and wind were on their way, but only turned out to be wishful thinking. At every potential break in the sky I would mention “that’s the best sky I have seen on this passage” but Janet and Matthew soon ignored me and thought that I was actually jinxing the weather!
A couple of days ago it got to the stage where in view of no wind and within only a few days we had used half of our diesel supply, we decided to drop the mainsail and just lay ahull. Basically do nothing and drift with the current which was actually taking us in the right direction. Good plan but given the rolly swell it was not a very comfortable choice, but we were running out of choices.
It was whilst drifting this morning that Matthew decided that he would go into the sea and have a swim and inspect the bottom of the boat. No sooner had he entered the water there was a yelp from him and he quickly exited to water and got back on board. He had been stung by a jelly fish. He had a nasty welt across his side and his face took a minor sting. He suddenly complained of a numbness in his arms, chest pain and palpitations. He took to the salon sofa and thankfully the symptoms were short lived and he recovered by the evening. These were anxious moments monitoring him, he didn’t look good and the symptoms he presented were very worrying. Janet was hoping to administer a suppository for the pain but it was declined by Matthew, strangely as he was in quite some pain! Seriously, we both independently, had mentally worked out how we were going to administer CPR should the worse happen.....we are in the middle of the ocean with help probably days away, you have to go into that mode of thought.
Soon after the high drama of the jelly fish the wind started to fill in, and Janet, temporary first mate, and I hoisted the sails. We were thankfully moving now in vaguely the right direction, it didn’t matter though we were moving and not wallowing around at the mercy of the sea. We were still however in the middle of low level drizzling cloud, but you can’t have everything can you.
Fishing has been a disappointment...the fish we are getting are still too big they either bite through the line or just fight back and swim off with the lure, line and reel! So far the war on fish has turned in their favour.
We have been leaving our spinnaker pole out rigged to swoop off down wind when the moment arises....pull on the Genoa sheet and we will be racing along, sorry I am revelling now. From the sky though our spinnaker pole must look like a perch and it certainly did to a passing red footed booby who took up residence there for two days. He or she would rest there during the night bobbing up and down, go fishing in the morning and return to the perch, preen him or herself and rest. At least the pole has been used if not for sailing!
Life on board carries on whatever the weather. In these conditions it is damp, hot and airless below in the cabins. Routines are followed, watch keeping through the night, drying clothes and towels out, baking bread, blue berry muffins, reading, sleeping and repeat. All the time bracing yourself as the boat moves around continuously.
The conditions haven’t been particularly great for Janet who is suffering with intense hot flushes every half an hour. It is a concern as she then feels light headed and fears fainting.
So we are off again, a breeze hits us........err not for long, once again our hopes are dashed. Now torrential rain, we decide to just motor south and hope that we get out of the doldrums. Whoever is upstairs, listen hard....we have had enough now, we want to play a different game!
Andrew, Matthew and Janet
Pacific Ocean on passage to Hiva Oa.