Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 2: Heeled over to port

We've sailed on a close reach since leaving the Cabo fuel dock (water dock for us) yesterday morning (Tuesday the 14th). Our heading hasn't varied by more than 20 degrees. The first five hours or so we moved under the code zero in very light airs. Since retiring that sail, we've continued on with a single-reefed main and our jib. Right now the water is a translucent indigo-purple, pierced by rays of sunlight that disappear someplace way down.

All is well aboard. Unencumbered by even the very loose structure of school that normally happens aboard Del Viento, the girls are filling their hours with their own diversions, at times together, at times apart. I've been messing about in the galley keeping the crew fed: snacks like apples and cheese, entrees like a green-sauced enchilada casserole (goodbye fresh cilantro), and treats like banana-walnut bread (goodbye fresh bananas). Windy's been reading and playing with the HF radio and training her critical eye anyplace on the boat where she might find a better way to secure something or eliminate chafe.

We ceremoniously tossed the prop and shaft of our new-to-us water generator off the stern yesterday afternoon. The pulpit-mounted DC motor began spinning and I ran down to confirm that electricity was indeed flowing into our batteries. The contraption is so simple, yet amazing--another piece of this giant, capable, machine that is our floating home. I sat in the cockpit for a while watching it make power. In the pitch dark of my night watch, unable to see any part of the tow line trailing behind us, I'd regularly place my hand on the generator, reassured by the slight vibration and its warm case.

The rest of the boat is working well too, though not perfectly. So far, our casualty list is three-long: a busted hanging fruit basket (since repaired with zip ties), a boom-mounted and riveted-on strap eye to which the aftermost lazy jack lines were secured (can't repair underway, but secured the lines elsewhere), and a loose connection in the starboard bow nav light fixture (impetus to finish wiring the masthead nav lights). Minor things, but at this rate, we'll have 36 problems by the time we drop the hook in the Marquesas.

Something surprising happened last night. Beginning about midnight we passed through a bit of a shipping lane off the Baja tip, maybe 50 miles offshore. We have an AIS receiver so I was aware of the traffic, but instead of just being aware of the dozen or so ships moving along from 10 to 20 knots, just minding our course and keeping tabs, for three separate behemoths I had to take evasive action to avoid collision. From an hour away, I waited and hoped the AIS would change its mind about the closest point of approach it had already dutifully calculated. Instead, in each case, that number only ranged from zero nautical miles to no more than a few hundredths of a mile. And in each case, when we were about 7 miles apart, I'd douse our headsail to slow us and change our course such that we'd come no more than about 1.5 miles from the intersecting path. This may not sound close to you, but it was enough to keep me feeling very awake for about three hours or so.

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1 comment:

  1. Reading along from the RV world...I'm not sure we're cut out to be cruisers but it's interesting to compare/contrast!


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