Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Alone in the Pacific

We had more flying fish land on the deck during the night, but they were quite big and I could hear them flapping wildly and basically I couldn't listen to them die so I had to rescue them with the result that there were none for breakfast. We did have the dorado to eat though and that's been polished off so the line will go back out soon.

The seascape has been different today; smaller waves and an altogether choppier sea. No 2 days are alike it seems. Once again, we have not laid eyes on another vessel and we both decided that this is the most solitary situation we have ever been in - experiencing no evidence of another human being for 9 days (except each other, of course!) This must be what Big Brother feels like (sort of)! In fact we are thinking of converting the stern heads into a Diary Room for an outlet when cabin fever strikes, though fortunately, the occasion has not arisen as yet! A fellow sailor with whom we did a Panama canal transit, Mike, has been on this passage now for 40 days and he is single-handed. He should make landfall by day 44! I'd love to be able to see his face when he arrives.

Within our little sailing pod, we are still up front (we were the first to leave) but we have Zefferin hot on our heels. Their daily runs are up in the 170s and 180s! Despite this, we are very pleased with our performance so far. Kika is maintaining her speed while keeping us relatively comfortable which is ideal.

Our conditions have changed a little since yesterday; as I said, the sea isn't as big, though the interval between waves has shortened, so it's quite choppy and confused - not as comfortable as it was. Also, the wind is less consistent in direction and speed. On my first watch, I saw as little as 4 and as much as 24 knots of wind. As you can imagine, this makes for high maintenance sailing involving little adjustments to the sails and wind-vane. It's strange how in certain conditions, we can be hurtling along at 7.5 knots and the boat is so comfortable it feels like 4, and conversely 4 can feel like 7.5. We've definitely had a touch of the latter through the night. It could, of course, be something to do with my rather arbitrary setting of the sails. For me, I'm finding it hard to get past the 'too much wind, less sail, too little wind, more sail' stage and into the more subtle realms of fine tuning the canvas. My excuse is it's hard to see on a moonless night. There is also the added concern that the radar detector is picking up another vessel and although we can't see it, we have to be vigilant as it's there somewhere.

Well, dawn is breaking now (it's 6am) and we're finally sailing comfortably at 6 knots. Time to put the kettle on. More tomorrow.

Position @ 19:25 UTC: S05° 48' W108° 25'
Daily distance run: 149
Distance to go: 1818
Cumulative distance: 1040
Engine hours:0
Wind: ESE 10-15knots
Weather: moderate sea, 30%cloud cover, 1011 millibars

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