Rain... and a helicopter!??? 5:51.35N 125:08.39W

Alex Belmont
Tue 22 May 2012 22:36
Sorry for the rather long silence. No need to worry though. Team Moondance is alive and well. We have had a few challenging days. A big low dropped on us, stealing all our wind and bringing lots of heavy rain and nasty squalls. never too muc hwind, but ugly skies, no sun, and lots of water dumping on us. So much for the original plan of staying just a bit north of the ITCZ until we saw a good gap to shoot for. When this low hit it seemed like as good a time as any to do whatever we could to get south. That turned out to be harder than it sounds. We have been making very slow progress, and often end up getting dragged north by the swell and current when the wind shuts down completely (which has been pretty often). The NE trades seemed to be pretty weak for us so far this year, so I'm not too bothered by our change of plan for our route. It is somewhat unconventional though. The last GRIB we got (saturday) showed this low dissipating, the ITCZ moving into its place, and shifting south over the next couple of days. We are in a good SE breeze now, so hopefully we can ride it down in front of the convergence zone. Otherwise, the ITCZ looks like it will move south over us and bring a few days (most likely more) of light and variable wind as well as more squalls. Blegh. We'll see what happens with that.

Big news: Yesterday we were visited by a helicopter! We were down below, waiting for the cockpit to dry out after a squall when we heard a loud and unexpected noise that definitely was not coming from Moondance. We look out the hatch and are shocked to see a bright orange helicopter coming our way. They circled four times before flying back to the south where they came from. We checked the AIS and found the Ventuari on a course to pass well south of us. I guess they were bored and wanted to check out what was drifting so slowly across their radar screens. Ships you expect, but it was quite a shock to see a little helicopter this far out from land.