Banana day

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Mon 20 May 2013 03:55
According to Jim Cornells pilot book World Routes there is a part of the Southern Pacific just below us with a bad reputation.
It stretches from 3S to 8S and 93W to 108W. This part of the ocean is reported to offer squalls, confused seas and very strong winds.
Funny enough the Grib files (small datafiles that can be downloaded via email and the extracted in a software that shows weather forecast in a certain area) do not show anything other than a little bit stronger winds.But when we communicate over the shortwave radio every morning we can hear reports from this area that gives you no reason to go there. To make things clear I have marked this area in the plotter and on the paper chart and I call it "Hells Hole". This is a very good way of keeping us alert and avoid going an easier route downwards (wich is also natural on the way to Marquesas) and finally end up in it.
So we try to stay on 2degrees South and move westward until we have passed "Hells Hole", then we can start "descending towards 9degrees South. The first 24 hours we have made about 150nM and that feels good if we look at what happened this morning. By 4 when I came on my watch the wind started to decrease and we lost momentum, the swell started to rock us around. I kept the boat going in 3-4 knots until Ellinor came up. A quick breakfast and then we hoisted the Genacker (like a spinnacker but assimetric). Ours is about 120 square meters so it started to do the job when we finally got the trimming right. We sailed with it til late afternoon and kept a good speed of  7 knots in 5m/s. Then the wind speed got up and we could take it down for the night and still keep a good speed.
It is never funny to sail with such a big sail at night, you have to keep constant watch for squalls (on the radar) and be prepared to work on deck with this huge sail in pitch darkness. Such a big sail can offer enormous stress on the rig and if it breaks you have a lot of cloth to take care of. Felice actually reported being caught in a squall the other day (in Hells Hole) with their spinnacker and it ripped theirs apart leaving one meter of sail up in the mast top. It had to come down so Jo hoisted his wife Maria to the very top of the mast in open sea and she had to take it down (she is light he is strong was his explanation). To be on top of a mast in moving seas is hysterical, you fly from side to side exponentially compared to the movement on deck.
So that was it about sailing.
Now the bananas:
This morning we started with home made yougurth blended with bananas, a sort of smoothie but with serial and stuff.
Then if anybody wanted a snack during the day, a banana was offered.
Ellinor made a banana bread wich tastes...banana.
As an evening meal we got something new, banana, yes, but not the regular, we have food bananas on board, they can be fried and boiled like potato and I must say they taste delicious.
Tomorrow we will find new ways to eat banana, for sure.
And for those that are not Swedish, statistics say that Swedes eat most bananas per capita in the world. Just so you know. But on Salsa we eat more than the Swedes right now.
But our kids hope we will run out of them soon.
Ellinor finds the start of this passage being very comfortable, and I must say it is seldom I sit and feel movements of happiness when we are on passage, but this time I do. I feel a lot of responsibility for the technical part of safety etc and that can take some joy away. But now... touch wood, Im just fixing small things like reading lights etc. But I know any challenge can jump on us any moment.
By the way, another boat reported this morning their autopilot gave up, they have no spare system and have to hand steer the rest of the way.
The kids have been quarelling quite a bit these days, but that usually happens when they have been with firends and are suddenly left with each other. Andreas gets really angry when Erika picks up a book and wants to read.(wich happens often).
Th sun has been shining all day, but the wind is cool so the temperature is about 23-25 degrees wich is very pleasant also thinking about that we are just by the Equator.
Fishing has not given any results so far and since we left Isabela we have not seen one boat of any kind.