Heading South

Sun 6 Apr 2014 20:44
05:01.7S 93:54.4W

We have been continuing to make more South than West, trying to dodge that ITCZ. Happily a very helpful man called Karsten in Panama is checking the satellite pictures and weather maps and keeping us, and a few other boats who are also making the crossing, informed via radio email.

Our second night was tiring and frustrating: hardly any wind and a swell on the beam meant the sails were flapping and banging and the boat rolling horribly. We were taking sails down to stop them being damaged, then figuring there was enough wind to put them up and then finding there wasn't after all... It gets hard when you are both tired at the same time. If you alternate exhaustion it's fine, one just spells the other, but when the one on watch is dragging themselves through the last hour and the one off watch is feeling like they only just closed their eyes it's not easy...

But the second night at sea is always the hardest and we had some lovely sailing yesterday morning and afternoon. It changed from one extreme to the other: we've a reef in the main and mizzen and we've swapped the jib for the staysail as the wind's over 20 knots so we bowled along. It even rained briefly; the whole ocean around us turned slate grey, except for our weak shadow where the sun forced it's way through the clouds, that was still deep ocean blue alongside us. Then the rain came, just fine and light, refreshing and cool, drying on the hot deck almost as soon as it fell. The night passed in much the same way, going nicely with 20 knots of wind and occasional showers. We woke up to flying fish on deck again and loads of them around the boat. Some of them are amazing flyers, darting back and forth, going up as much as 10 feet into the air. I can't believe it's just a desperate need to escape a predator that makes them do that, these chaps are flying for the pleasure of it I'm sure - they're Jonathan Livingston flying fish.

It feel a bit strange heading so much further South than the direction we want to go. I looked on the chart. If we carry on going this way there's nothing until one gets to the Antarctic, over 3,000 miles away, and when we do turn more West the Marquesas are still 2,950 miles away... there's an awful lot of Ocean out there. A green turtle passed by, looking at us just as much as we were looking at him. He even turned as we went past him, his head up out of the water, until he was facing back towards us as we left him behind. It occurred to me that in an ocean this big he may not have seen a sail boat before.


Day 3: Peanut butter, banana and honey on toast; Boiled eggs with green beans and tomatoes in vinaigrette with anchovies and potato salad (Phil had celery in his, personally I can't see the point) followed by a banana yoghurt smoothie (not that we have any bananas to eat up!); sweet garlic chicken with stir fried veg and noodles.

Day 4: Granola, banana (again) and yoghurt; Onion soup and rolls followed by banana muffins; banana... no just kidding you, I'm only serving bananas two out of every three meals - enough is enough! Actually, not sure what we'll have tonight, so you'll have to wait for the next thrilling instalment...

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