W&W 31:09S 156:54E

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Wed 10 Jun 2015 13:07
Another night has started and tonight it is pitch black, raining and a hellish wind between 10 to 25 knots, like a flash it goes up and down.
The waves which I have no idea how big they are, just offload tons of water on deck. Im sitting dressed like it was a Swedish winter day with long johns etc.
But not miserable, I just had a cup of warm green tea and in the cockpit you are very well sheltered from the bad bad weather.
It was expected, all day we have been motoring and I was looking forward to more wind, and here we got it, thank you!
280nM to go to Newcastle. ETA is according to our speed now 2 pm the 12th. The day after tomorrow. But unfortunally we will need longer time to get there, the wind will start dropping tomorrow night and that leaves us again stranded and we have to motor the last bit.
Well we take a second at the time and nobody is really suffering on board.
Another day of school, lunch started off with a carrot to chew on, then a bean/onion salad as an entré, a bowl of tomato soup as the secondo, and as the main course lasagne. No desert. Sounds impressive? Well it was left overs from the fridge, none being enough to feed us all. The only invention was that I made a tomatosauce to a soup.
Dinner; Nachos heated in the oven with Salsa and grinded cheese, served with Guacamole on the side. Sounds great too! Well we are trying to use all our inventories and the guacamole was canned- not to bad for being so, but a blind test? Naaaa.
As we are in harsh weather it inpires some writing about hard weather again.
To be on a passage is all about weather and water=W&W. You could say the landscape shifts and I guess that nowhere else other than in a desert is weather so visible, from the horizon all the way to us, 360 degrees. The landscape is shifting with the highs and the lows in the weather system.
A high pressure system is like a mountain, invisible to the eye but visible in effect, as the air rushes down the slope we have the wind, the steeper the mountain the faster it falls. Then comes the coriolis effect, the world is turning as the wind falls and it becomes a circular effect, the highs going clockwise on the northern hemisphere and opposite on the southern. The lows are the valleys, the holes in the atmosphere, the same there, the deeper and steeper the faster the winds will run down. and of course you will have air falling down from the highs to the lows.
The waves that occurs from the Fetch, remember? The length of water that can be affected by the wind, they are a result of all this energy, all this wind pushing the water creating waves that grow with the strength of the wind. But the waves are mostly just a nuisance for the chef on board a small sailboat.Dangerous is when they start to crash, or become so high that a boat is sliding down steep slopes and she looses control.
But crashing waves is the most fearsome for anybody but surfers. When you see surfers you know that coastline is a problem to boats, kayaks etc.
Crashing waves give up all their energy and you do not want to be under them. So as a sailor you check the depths, let's say you have a swell  at about 4 meters, it might be a nice rolling swell that does not present any danger. But when that swell is pressed up by a depth going from say 2000 meters to 50 meters you are in for a lot of water that has to go somewhere, and it will pile up, getting steep and crash.
The other factor you have to look for is the tidal stream or any current. When it moves against the waves it can become more than exciting.
So as you enter a channel or shallow waters you need to be aware, and the problem is that when you see the back of the waves it is hard to see if they crash.
Especially when going through openings in reefs you can be in trouble if your timing is wrong. With waves crashing against the opening you would wait til the tide is slack before going in, when it goes out you can actually have standing waves, beautyful when you are standing ashore...
Before we left for this trip I was wondering how I would deal with high waves. I had seen pictures and films with small boats on the ocean with mountains of water behind them. I guess it creates the same feeling as when you are facing a height, standing there with your toes in the air, looking down 300 meters, no fence, you feel how it ticles.
And sure enough the way to deal with the waves is the same as when you are climbing the mountain, you just dont look down, you look up.
I ignore the waves, I know that sitting in the cockpit looking at these freekish mountains of water will not make me feel better so I just look forward (PRESUMING THEY ARE COMING FROM AFT)..
I check them somtimes just to see the state they are in, like you would look down as you climb to get a reality check...
The polynesian navigators had a very interesting way of dealing with this liquid landscape. As they navigated without compass they had to know stars and how to use the movement of the sea to know where they where heading. But they also has a way to bring order to the sensations, so instead of trying to keep a moving boat in mind as you are trying to keep islands, waves and currents at the same time, you just sunk down to a state where the boat was the fixed thing in the ocean, everything else was moving, even the islands.
After reading this in a research paper about 20 years ago, at least before the GPS, I tried it in the Stockholm archipellago, to pretend that my boat was fixed and everything else was moving, and suddenly it was much easier to keep track of the islands surrounding me. And in the Stockholm archipellao we have lots and lots of islands (about 25.000!).
So as we are into the 6th day at sea, we just see the boat as being our fixed place and the rest is moving, hopefully the Astralian continent is up to speed now...