Easy couple of days. 12:52.58N 118:58.09W

Alex Belmont
Mon 14 May 2012 02:54
We're really in the NE trades now. The ride has been kind of rocking and
rolling as we have been sailing very deep angles. On the 11th, I jibed the
main over the starboard, leaving the jib poled to port, and hoisted the
staysail sheeted flat amidship. We tend to wander 5-10 degrees to either
side of dead-down-wind as the waves knock our stern about, but it is
generally an easy point of sail for the boat and crew. Shortly after going
wing-and-wing, I tucked the second reef into the main, which Moondance
seemed pleased about. Wendy (the windvane) was also very happy to have a bit
less work to do. We may have lost a little speed, but it doesn't seem like
much. Water has been rushing past the hull day and night. We seem to be
doing 4.5-5 kts through the water, but it's hard to say as the little
paddle-wheel on our knotmeter's sensor is usually slowed by algae. The GPS
says our speed over ground is generally around 4.5kts. For most of the 12th
we were stuck around 3-3.5kts - must have had some current holding us back
as we were still rushing along through the water.

It's good to finally see some steady progress after our slow start. We
should have another week of this before getting into the ITCZ. I've been
working to stay a bit south of the rhumb line for Hiva Oa, aiming to hit the
doldrums just a bit west of 125W. That should give us a good margin to reach
west until we see a good gap on the GRIB files we download regularly. It
will be a bit of a balancing act between crossing before we get too far west
and crossing where the ITCZ will be fairly narrow. Not going to worry too
much about it now. We are on a fine course and still have some time before
we get too close to the convergence zone.

Still no fish. Well, no fish for us, but I did see a nice yellowfin swimming
along next to the boat this morning. I rushed to put in a second line with a
lure I've had decent luck catching tuna on in the past, but by the time it
was set up the fish was gone. Apparently there are more interesting things
for a tuna to do than keep the company of such a little sailboat. Perhaps
the fish caught the scent of a rotted half melon skin I saw shortly
afterward. I don't know if we are a short way behind another boat or if that
bit of melon made it here on its own. It looked like a honeydew. Mmmmm.

We're doing well on food. Need to start working on the grapefruit before
they start to turn. Still plenty of cabbage, potatoes, onions, limes,
garlic, etc. Actually a few too many onions. They still look good - except
for the ones that bruised at the bottom of the sack - but the smell forced
us to move them out to the cockpit early in the passage. Not too big a deal,
but they do take up leg room in the cockpit that I'd rather be able to put
my feet in while lounging about. We tried to dry a few by mincing and
leaving them in a bowl in the sun. It seemed to be working, but by the
fourth day they were still a bit wet and starting to smell rotten. The ones
in the bag have plenty of life left in them though. I think we'll give up on
drying onions and stick to fresh. Too bad, onion flakes would have been a
nice little addition to leftovers, snacks, soups, snacks - just about
anything really.

I've been baking bread the past couple of days. We had been waiting to start
filling our bellies with bread until more of the fresh stuff was gone. The
first day's loaves were OK, but nothing special. Yesterday's were pretty
good - I used of bit of honey, integral flour, wheat bran and oats. This was
served up with a big pot of hummus (or maybe just mashed garbanzo beans -
good, whatever you call it).

Before leaving La Paz, I found a great deal on a used Force10 (a really
high-end, expensive brand) cooker with two burners and an oven. It is a
really nice addition to the galley. Moondance came with an old alcohol
cooker, which worked fine but didn't get as hot as the new propane unit and
was not nearly as fuel efficient. The stove-top doesn't simmer as well as I
might like, but it's not bad, and it does put out a lot of heat when you
need it. Also, you can actually control the temperature of the oven with
plenty of settings between cold and burn-your-food. It looks shiny and
pretty too. Needless to say, I am quite pleased.

Alright,I think that's enough ramblings and scattered thoughts for today.
Check back soon for more bits of wisdom (ha!) from the high seas.

Salut tout le monde! J'espere que vous allez tous bien :D
De notre cote vous pouvez etre certain que c'est la belle vie! On a du
soleil presque tout les jours et depuis quelques jours le vent dans les
fesses! C'est-a-dire qu'on a pas beaucoup de changements a faire sur les
voiles et je dois vous dire... Ca me facilite la vie! On a toujours pas
attrapes de poissons mais attendez que la pleine lune arrive on va se les
prendres ces gros thons jaunes, les mahis et plus encore... Ce matin j'ai
trouvee, non pas une (1), non pas deux (2), mais TROIS (3) pieuvres a bord!
Oui oui! J'ai donc pris la plus grosse et l'ai mise a l'hamecon... Toujours
en esperant que ca mord. Dure a croire qu'avec tout les poissons volants
qu'on voit et les cigognes la bouche pleine et tout ces eaux qui nous
entourent, mais toujours pas de poissons pour nous.

Avec ca, je vous dis bon dimanche et une belle semaine de printemps a tous,
de mon cote, je continue sur mes vagues et je divague. A mi-chemin a
l'equateur, les reves sont fous! Bisous xox

Hey guys! I trust you are all well :D
On our side, rest assured, life is beautiful! Sun almost everyday, following
winds, no fish but maybe with the few squids we find on deck they will
finally bite! Hard to believe that with all the fish in the sea, none of
them are interested in our lures... Anyways, have a nice week everyone. I'll
just keep dreaming and living the life! Halfway to the equator, can you
believe it?