Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 17: Earning It

Before 1947, when Chuck Yeager flew a plane faster than the speed of sound, that threshold in the sky was called the sound barrier. Several lives and planes were lost trying to break through that wall in the sky. As I understand it, there is a drag coefficient that increases exponentially as a plane approaches the speed of sound, but that once you "break through" it's smooth sailing, so to speak.

Boy, does that ever sound like the "equator barrier" we have to break through to get to the southern hemisphere and the trade winds that are calling like Sirens. First we faced doldrums and squalls in the Monsoon Trough, and then in the ITCZ, and then the Equatorial Counter Current. (The last one was a doozy; why didn't anyone warn me of Equatorial Counter Current?)

Imagine trying to get to French Polynesia. You're halfway there, 1,300 miles away. It's still southwest of you. Imagine for days and days you've had every sail plan up and down and back up and down again, just trying to make miles. It's no fun. Imagine today the winds blowing directly from the southwest. So you tack and sail due south. All looks good on the magnetic compass, but then you see that your true heading is 25 degrees east of south. Yikes! Reticent to give up any of the westerly miles you've made, you tack over to 260 degrees, just south of due west. But in these seas and light airs, that isn't tenable, even with the motor going. You point, point, point and finally get her sailing at about 280, just north of west. You're slowly giving up your southerly progress and your speed over ground is almost zero (yes, the Equatorial Counter Current). Obviously, you were better off on the other tack-even given the easterly component--because that one at least helped you get south, out of this ocean river and closer to the elusive southern trades. So you tack again, only to realize that the wind has now dropped several knots and you really need the motor to assist, to keep both course and momentum in the large, steep, colliding chop of these confused seas. Of course, you only carry 50 gallons of fuel and you've already used a bunch motoring south through the doldrums, so you keep the RPMs low, just what is required, nothing more.

Down below, you study your new track on the iPad. The easterly component hurts, but you take comfort that you are moving south--though only at 1.9 knots. You check the fuel tank gauge and feel a tad anxious. How long will this go on?

You pull out the blender and the vacuum, taking advantage of the power that the engine is providing. You've finished your smoothie and vacuumed half the sole when you realize the motion has changed and you dart back to the cockpit.

After messing about with things for 20 minutes, you face the fact that the motor sailing isn't working out as well as it seemed when you went below. It would be nice if you could increase power, but you really can't. You shut down the motor and raise the code zero. You're pointing and the wind is light, but these conditions otherwise do not resemble any in which you've flown this sail in the past. An hour later, during which time you raised the code zero, unfurled it, furled it, dropped it, and stowed it, you realize the winds are just too light to sail upon these seas.

Maybe they're just enough to heave to?


Ahh, that's a bit better. You go below and check the iPad. You're moving three-quarters of a knot heading E-NE-back to Mexico.


Why did you want to leave Mexico?

My friend, Behan on Totem, says that longer passages remind her of her pregnancies. She said they, "begin with discomfort and a new reality, transition to a spectacular adventure with a natural high, and eventually become something I'm just ready to put behind me." That seems like a good analogy, but during which trimester does an expecting mother face the Monsoon Trough, the ITCZ, and the Equatorial Counter Current?

Behan also said that, "Just as the pain of childbirth is quickly forgotten, any tough days on a passage are quickly lost to memory."

I sure hope so. We're on track to log the longest passage in recorded history.


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Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 14: Hot and Motoring

We're 5 degrees above the equator heading due south. This isn't a heading for the Marquesas, but a heading on the shortest path out of the area of unsettled weather we need to cross to get to the southern trade winds. Today it's 94 degrees Fahrenheit in the cabin with blue sky overhead and dark-bottomed cumulonimbus clouds in every direction to the horizon. Many of these seem perched on black smears that indicate heavy rainfall beneath. There is hardly a breath of wind and we've been motoring slowly (about 3.5 knots, to conserve fuel) the past 24 hours on still-lumpy seas.

Though we'd rather be sailing, it's not all bad. Between sleep we've been cooking (Windy made yogurt and black beans this morning, I made plantains and a cabbage salad this afternoon) and reading (Windy's cracking up over Lost on Planet China by J. Maartn Troost and reading aloud the interesting passages--even suggesting we consider moving to Hong Kong), and writing comic books (this is how the girls spend a lot of their time).

Yesterday afternoon, though the seas were less settled than now, we stopped Del Viento and Windy and I took turns jumping in to bathe. It was heaven. The water temperature and color were both magnificent. We rinsed off with a bit of fresh water from the deck wash and now we both feel like new people.

It kind of feels like ground hog day out here, again and again. We don't leave the boat. We have no social plans with others that differentiate one day from the rest. We have nothing but landfall to look forward to. Sure, we read different books and eat different foods and have different conversations and see different sunsets and read different emails, but all in a very small environment. I looked forward to this passage for just this reason, to see how this astronaut-like existence would feel. It's not unpleasant. None of us are climbing the walls and tempers aren't rising or anything. If I had to use only one word to describe these days, it would be peaceful.


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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day 13: The Good, the Bad, the Dead

The Good: Lots of good to report. Spirits aboard remain high. It's body cleaning day--Windy is washing the girls' hair as I type. We've been smelling pretty ripe. I plan to go on deck later and take a proper salt water shower. We're looking forward to a Thai peanut curry dish tonight, with brown rice and fake meat. Found some additional frozen bananas at the bottom of the freezer, so chocolate-banana smoothies are still on the menu. Windy was looking for something in the nether reaches of the forward hanging locker and came across the long-lost bag of 6 pounds of non-spaghetti pasta (I don't know if she found what she was looking for in the process, but that's how it goes).

The Bad: The first reefing line broke sometime during Windy's watch early this morning. It's a pretty heavy line (7/16"), so I was surprised. It broke right where it does a 180 degree bend through the reefing clew. There was no sign of chafe, but it's a high-stress point and the line is probably pretty old. Fortunately, it broke only a foot away from where the bitter end attaches to the boom, so it was easy to pull in the slack and reattach. I fear my computer is on its last legs. It's doing weird things, like the previous one did just before the mother board gave up the ghost. Before writing this post, I finished backing up everything to an external hard drive. This computer isn't even two years old, but it is a cheapo. We've not seen the sun or stars for the past few days, nothing but overcast skies in this gloomy ITCZ. It will be a thrill to emerge from the far side of this. And we've been moving pretty slow in lighter airs. It will be this time tomorrow before we're at the halfway point of this passage (in terms of distance).

The Dead: Daily we meet the foggy gaze of one or more unfortunate fish on deck. Eleanor noted that it's natural selection in reverse. Most of the flying fish we've seen on this trip don't soar more than 2 or 3 feet above water. But these super-able flyers who successfully rise to the level of our deck, die.


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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day 12: Encounter

About 9:00 a.m. this morning, Eleanor bolted up from the settee pointing out the companionway, "A plane!" Windy figured Eleanor was over reacting to a commercial airliner passing overhead, but dutifully turned to take a look. She heard it at the same time she caught sight of a red fuselage very low and close. She and the girls raced up the stairs into the cockpit.

Windy said a small red and white helicopter finished a tight turn around Del Viento and then hovered off the port beam so close that if it wasn't for the roar of the rotor blades, she felt she could have called out to the two guys in the cockpit and had a conversation. As it was, they were trying to communicate. Windy picked up the cockpit VHF remote and motioned to speak. They shook their heads and the pilot made a thumbs-up gesture and then shrugged as if to ask if everything was okay. Windy gave a thumbs up and then the pilot and co-pilot waved and banked away-quickly disappearing over the horizon.

"Why didn't you wake me?!" I asked when I heard the story upon rising at 11:30 a.m.

"There was no time, it all happened very fast."

"Was it military? Was their writing on the side?"

She said it definitely wasn't military-shiny red with white accents and a swooping logo that was a bit like the stylized kangaroo on the side of every Quantas jet. There was no writing except for the registration numbers and she didn't note which letter they began with. She said it was a small helicopter.

We're literally 1,000 miles from anything. Helicopters don't have very impressive ranges. It had to have come off a boat nearby. I didn't see anything on the AIS until about noon, when a ship named Salt Lake City passed north of us, heading north, about 9 miles away.

There is not much to see out here, so that was pretty exciting, even for someone who slept through the event. We also saw dolphins today, which is a first for this passage. The only other living things we see consistently out here are boobies (mostly white ones) and tropic birds (the ones with the distinctive long tail feather trailing behind) and flying fish. The flying fish have been unusual for their size, smaller than we've ever seen, some only an inch long. The largest has been about 8 inches long and I'd say the median length is probably 3-4 inches.

That's all. We're deep into squall territory, getting hit left and right. We batten down, sometimes we heave to, and listen to the torrential rain pound the cabin top as one passes overhead. Our progress is a bit slower now because we're constantly reefed to some extent, but so far we haven't seen the winds die completely. The seas are still big and confused, so between squalls we're always wanting more wind to keep the sails filled.

I think tomorrow or so we'll reach our halfway point.


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 10: Boisterous!

Given our goal to cross this area of squalls and flat calms as quickly as possible to reach the southern trades, a several-hundred-mile-wide ITCZ* is not our friend. We're approaching the edge of it now (at least where it is currently) and we're still 600 miles north of the equator.

And speaking of now, we are movin' and not groovin' in steep 8- to 9-foot swells coming from two directions. For the past 16 hours, sustained winds have been blowing in the low 20s from our aft quarter. We're headed SSW at 6 knots under a fully-reefed main. We're alternately getting pounded on the side and rolling deeply from gunnel to gunnel (and if you've seen our high freeboard, this is unusual for us) and surfing down following seas. We aren't very comfortable. The only thing that would be worse is entering the ITCZ, losing these northern trades, and being left to wallow in these seas with no wind to fill our sails.

Otherwise, all is good aboard. Eleanor continues to impress with her attention to dish duty, despite the motion. Frances, who normally exhibits a bit of mal de mer, has remained her perky, hungry self, seemingly cured. Del Viento is still holding up well. Recent casualties include the cockpit-mounted inclinometer (smashed by a line wrapped erroneously around the mainsheet traveler car) and two fender whips (which I had to cut after they got tangled up in the water generator tow line).

* inter-tropical convergence zone--a varying area near the equator where the prevailing winds of the northern and southern hemispheres converge, producing unsettled weather

Produce exhausted at Day 10:


Produce remaining at Day 10:

Sweet Potatoes


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 9: At the End of Our Rope

So you'll recall a couple days ago we had to take down our jib for repair. At the time, we were scooting downwind in big swells and the motion was nice. As for all foredeck activities, Windy had us talk things through ahead of time--about how we would accomplish the job, anticipating problems and aligning our thinking. Then we got started.

I was at the bow, wrangling the sail down and Windy was at the mast, slowly releasing the halyard.

"Faster!" I called back to her. The sail dropped and then froze. I tugged at it and then turned. Windy was still at the mast, but hanging on for dear life to the bitter end of the halyard, which she'd grabbed as it whizzed by her.

If you don't sail, it's hard for me to relate how absurd this is.

"What in the world?" Windy asked.

"I have no idea."

I kept looking up, then looking at Windy. I wanted to see a problem--maybe a big knotted bunch of line she'd allowed to whiz past, maybe she wasn't holding the halyard at all, maybe…? I couldn't make sense of the situation.
Finally, I ran back to the cockpit and grabbed a line we could tie onto the end of this one, so we could at least drop this partly-lowered sail and figure out what the heck was going on.

"Did you cut this halyard?" Windy asked.

"Of course not." Seriously? She's asking me if I cut our halyard?

"I just have this faint memory of you telling me you'd trimmed it, that there was too much line."

"No, no way."

But a tiny bell was rung. Her memory did not sound as foreign as I wanted it to. I thought back to the last time I'd lowered this sail. It was January, when I'd spent all the time on the phone with the Profurl people, determining which model furling system we had so they could send me the correct lower bearings. Windy was up north and she brought the bearings back down with her. When she got back, I replaced the bearings, did some other maintenance, re-hoisted the sail, decided that this halyard was way too long…

I'd gotten out the hot knife and cleaned things up, ship shape.

Uhg. It's still unbelievable to me. If anyone happens to come visit us in French Polynesia, please bring a spare halyard. I used our previous spare for the second spinnaker halyard I rigged just before we left.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 8: Southern Cross

I saw it at 2:00 a.m. last night, for the first time. I was in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt in the cockpit. A sliver of a moon had just set. We rolled gently in following seas. It was unmistakable, right there, due south of our heading and about 10 degrees above the horizon. That was it! I got really excited. I found the CSNY song on the iPod and listened closely, I got a bit emotional.

Only then did it occur to me that I wasn't sure this was the Southern Cross. I glanced at our latitude-still 14 degrees above the equator-and isn't that constellation a southern hemisphere thing? I opened up the Starwalk app to see what I was looking at.

Crux--commonly known as the Southern Cross!

I listened again to that song I've heard a billion times before on classic rock stations. I knew it was about boats and sailing, but never noticed it's about the exact passage we are on:

"Got out of town on a boat, going to southern islands
Sailing a reach 'fore following seas
She was making for the trades on the outside
And the downhill run to Papeete
Off the wind on this heading lie the Marquesas
We got 80 feet of waterline, nicely making way…"

It was all sublime. I woke Windy to share the experience with her and to start her watch.

Stay tuned; tomorrow I'll share what may be the dumbest thing I or anyone else has ever done aboard a cruising sailboat. Dumber than what's been recounted in two of my favorite such stories I can't link to now: Bumfuzzle motoring for hours before realizing they were in neutral and Galactic persistently confusing forward and reverse while leaving a marina. I've topped both of them, hands down.


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Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 7: Our Days

The days pass swiftly out here, surprisingly. Here's a glimpse of how they tend to go by.

About 1 hour after sunset, Windy and the girls are ready for bed and all pile into either the v-berth or Frances's aft stateroom berth. Windy reads aloud for about 20 minutes and then it's lights out for them. The only light below is a red light in the main cabin. I can see its glow from where I sit in the cockpit.

I hang out in the cockpit by myself for the next 5-7 hours. Mostly I just recline with the iPod, listening to music or This American Life podcasts. But I also go below to use the head or check our course on the iPad or grab a snack. Around 3:00 a.m., I wake Windy.

"Is it time?" she always asks.


She heads straight for the stove to prepare coffee for herself and I strip down and climb into the warm spot she's left.
I don't know much about what happens over the next few hours, but when I wake around 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., Windy and the girls have eaten breakfast and are playing a card game or doing schoolwork or something.

I'll make myself a snack and then look for something to do, maybe put away the dishes Eleanor washed and left to dry or fix something broken, such as Frances's fan. Around noon I'll make a lunch for everyone.

Windy is in bed reading herself to sleep very soon after she takes her last bite. The girls and I hang until she wakes a couple hours later. An hour or so after she rises, I'll crash and take an afternoon nap. When I get up, it's time to start making dinner. When dinner is over, Windy gets on the radio to check in and check email and send this blog post. Eleanor does the dishes. One or more of us watch the sunset. We all clean up. Then Windy rallies the girls into bed for reading time and I climb up into the cockpit with the iPod.

Today was the exception to that schedule. We noticed a strip of UV cloth coming off the bottom of our jib and wrestled the thing down, brought it below, dug out the sewing machine, broke all three needles for that machine trying to go through too many layers of cloth, and then spent 3 hours hand stitching 8 linear feet before raising the sail again. Windy had half a nap, I had none--the night is beginning. We have plenty of Coca-Cola and coffee aboard.


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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 5: Litterbugs

I'm among the first generation raised on the televised PSAs of the 1970s.

Smokey Bear made it clear I was not to play with matches. An owl taught me to give a hoot and not pollute. And then there was the crying Indian. He stood on a hilltop overlooking a freeway and the smog-choked basin of refuse it passed through. Akin to the Catholic guilt of original sin, he inflicted me with the knowledge that I was born a guilty member of a culture whose every action soiled our beautiful planet.

The consequence is good. It's easier for me to punch myself in the face than to toss trash from a car window, for example.

Except that here we are now, a floating island 500 miles off the Mexican coast and slowly sailing farther into the Pacific. Our destination is a group of small islands that don't want our trash. What to do?

We're cleaning and saving the plastic waste we make, and stomping the aluminum cans in hopes they'll be of value to someone somewhere. Banana peels and apple cores go over the side easily, a flick of the wrist. But the other things, the things I would never throw out of a car window to save my life, these things aren't easy to dump onto this pretty landscape, despite it being the right thing to do.

As far as my eye can see is the clearest, prettiest water I've ever seen. On this bright, sunny day, this vista is unspoiled and pure-except for the bag of spent toilet paper I just emptied over the side, except for the empty steel can of artichoke hearts, it's paper label still showing as it disappears into the deep.

It's a reminder that none of the waste we make disappears, it all has to go somewhere. The best solution is to try and make less. I grew up with the crying Indian, my girls are growing up with parents who are leaving a 3.000-mile wake of refuse.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 4: Big Zero

So I made smug comments in a post before we left, about how we aren't the hyper-organized cruisers who rely on an i-app of some kind to catalog our stores. I think my point was that we're too laid back for that fussiness. Well, Mr. Laid Back spent much of today looking for 7 pounds of pasta shells that are aboard, somewhere. I've been upside down with a flashlight in my mouth peering into the deepest corners of Del Viento. I've unpacked and re-packed more than you can imagine would even fit aboard. I can't find them.

But, I'm keeping track. To date I've not yet spent more time looking for things than I'd have spent keeping a detailed accounting of where things are-so I'm still ahead.

I'd hoped this would be an all-sail passage, but the wind died around midnight last night and never came back to life. I fired up the motor and we continued on, slowly. About 10 hours later, late this morning, I shut the beast off and unfurled and poled-out the code zero to use as a downwind sail. That was good for about 10 minutes, at which point the wind clocked around to the beam and I doused the pole. We've glided along on a beam reach since, under just this light-air sail.

We enjoyed a big salad for dinner. It was supposed to be a pasta salad.


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 3: Quoting the Greats

So we're keepin' on, movin' on. I just said to Windy that when we're all below, eating or whatever, it's easy to forget that we're moving, easy to imagine we're at anchor and to attribute the easy motion to wind and passing pangas.

The wind that keeps us moving has been light and variable the past 24 hours. I rolled up the jib this morning and hauled the code zero back up. We mostly move along between 3 and 4 knots, but we'll get 10 minute periods every once and a while where the wind just ceases and we bang and rattle for that time before it freshens again. The seas are mellow; we just move up and down big ocean swells.

For weeks before we left, the girls hatched a plan to buy a whole mess of jelly beans, to organize them in some fashion, and to then count out the passage days by eating them systematically. Unfortunately for them, they couldn't source the necessary beans anyplace. Of course, this left their need to mark the passage days unfulfilled.

Frances made a calendar and has carefully marked off each day since we left La Paz. Eleanor found famous quotes online, handwrote her favorite 30 onto strips of paper, and stuffed them into a ditty bag. We didn't know about any of this until our first morning after leaving La Paz when she announced her plan. "Every day one of us will reach in and pull out a quote and read it aloud. I'll tape them onto my wall so we have a record of the days." It's been great. Each quote has prompted interesting conversation, either about the author or the content.

Windy tossed a rotting cantaloupe overboard this afternoon. She said she's going to start checking every piece of produce daily. The pears and tomatoes all ripened quickly; they're now at the top of our menu. Even though this is only our third day out of Cabo, we bought all our perishables in La Paz, 6 days ago.

The days out here are wonderfully pleasant. The nights are still cold since Cabo; I'll sit in the cockpit with my foul weather jacket on and a fleece blanket on my lap. I think in the next few days it's going to start getting hot and sticky.

We're all really enjoying this, just hanging out together-cooking, talking, teaching-or each just doing our own thing.


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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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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day X--Start and Stop

Under clear blue skies and in the heat of the tropics, we are sailing blissfully along in the storied tradewinds, on our way to the islands of the South Pacific. Flying fish are soaring over our deck, bananas are hanging in the rigging, and life is good.

I felt like Donald Crowhurst writing that paragraph. The fact is, we've made only 50 miles since leaving La Paz two days ago. Del Viento and her crew are sitting at anchor in a place called Bahia de Los Muertos (the Bay of the Dead). Here's how things have gone.

We motored out of Marina de La Paz at about dusk on Friday evening, waving goodbye to friends. Two hours later, we dropped the hook in a nearby anchorage, ate some soup that we were given, stowed the last of the perishables, and hit the sack. This was a planned stop as Windy still had some computer work to do and we still needed to stop and take on about 150 liters of diesel.

Early afternoon the following day, after a good night's sleep and Windy's work completed, we raised anchor and ducked into the outlying Marina Costa Baja for some fuel. Then we got underway.

For the rest of that day and early into the evening, we motored very slowly on flat seas, whistling for wind. When five knots piped up around 7:00 p.m., we raised the main and glided downwind into the Cerralvo Channel at 2.5 knots. All was well aboard.

Windy and the girls retired and the wind built steadily. When I first saw it peak at 20 knots apparent, I woke Windy to help me reef. She never got back to sleep. We reefed again an hour later, when it was clear the wind would stay pegged in the mid-20s. The seas were building. At 3:00 a.m., neither of us had slept and the apparent wind was now holding steady in the high twenties and gusting to 35 knots. We kept moving along at 7 knots under only our fully-reefed main.

At 5:30 a.m. we heeded the Sirens of Bahia de Los Muertos . We slept like logs until mid-day, today.

The good news is that this un-forecast storm is passed, the girls rolled from cabin side to lee cloth and slept soundly, and the only casualty from all the rolling action was some fruit that escaped its' hanging basket and suffered bruises.

The bad news is that Windy just realized that our water gauges were not accurate and we failed to take on about half the water in a 50-gallon tank. So when we leave here, we're headed straight to San Jose del Cabo at the tip of the Baja peninsula. But only for some water—then we'll be underway for sure, next stop French Polynesia.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Radio test

This is a radio test for the blog.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Bon Voyage
By Michael

Last night at the dock in Marina de La Paz,
our friend Christian on deck with Windy,
playing with our storm trysail. Christian
and his wife, Norma, of Mana Kai have
been a huge help to us these past few
days. Among other things, thanks to
them, we did our Mexico checkout in La Paz
 in 3 hours and spent only 350 pesos.
And we're off, today!

I can't tell you--well, I probably can, but I don't have the time to--just how busy we've been the past couple weeks. Getting ready for this passage has been a real stressor, but why? Why didn't we get everything ready over the past year and then spend the past couple weeks hanging out with the friends we've made and hopping out to the islands for fun? I wish I could tell you--it just somehow doesn't work that way.

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time this past year, and especially since October, working with Behan Gifford and Sara Johnson on our book, Voyaging With Kids, A Guide to Family Life Afloat that L&L Pardey books is publishing this fall. We got a peek at the cover recently and only last night did I finish reviewing the edits back from the editor. I look forward to a respite from this project, but also saddened to see my close collaboration with Behan and Sara come to an end. After all we've been through via email, we can literally finish each other's sentences.

So there hasn't been a lot of time for us to be excited about what's coming, but the last few hours Windy and I have been trading glances--Can you believe what we're about to do? The girls, on the other hand, have found time to be excited and I see them looking at pics of the South Pacific islands and making plans for the long passage.

Finally, the anchor is off the bow and stowed, the dingy is on the bow and stowed, and our lockers are filled like never before. As soon as I finish this post, we are off to buy fruits and veggies and then we are gone. We plan to spend tonight at a nearby anchorage (on our secondary anchor and rode) and then leave from there in the morning (11th), direct to the Marquesas.

Barring any technical problems, I plan to post here daily during our passage. Also barring any technical problems, everyone should be able to view our progress on a map I embedded on the Farkwar page of this blog (look at the list of pages under the banner up top).

That's all. Time to buy some veggies.


Coming soon...
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