Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 7- Tradewinds push us as Tao rouses flying fish

Time: 2200 Zulu (noon Hawaii time)
Position: 07-deg 05-min N 159-deg 45-min W
Wind: ENE 17 Seas: E 3-7-ft
Avg. Course: 192 T
Avg. Speed: 4.8-knots
Rig: 80% jib
24-hr distance traveled: 115-nm
Distance to Fanning Island: 198-nm

Trade Winds are a glorious thing, they just go and go and go, and we are enjoying their consistent 15-20-knots immensely. There is a diurnal pattern that we've noticed. Winds seem to pick up just after sunset and sunrise with lulls in late night and late afternoons. Day 7 started with pulling the mains'l down at noon in the solid nearly 20-knot breeze. After treating ourselves to sandwiches with the last of our deli turkey and a Coke, we prepped the cockpit for a shower. It feels wonderful to be clean! Unfortunately the Coke made it difficult for Shawn to sleep during her off watch and she got out of the bunk to make dinner with an upset stomach, choosing one of the easier but most rewarding dinners to prepare- chicken pesto pasta. Chris had a busy Radio hour checking in on the PacSea, talking to his dad, and then catching up with our friends on Midnight Blue (KF7OHO)who spent 3-months at Fanning Island, and are currently underway from Oahu back to California. We were treated to one of those sunsets that keep getting better and better as we enjoyed our nightly meal together.

Night watches were mellow and passed quickly, Shawn nursing her still upset stomach, and Chris had his most relaxing night watch of the trip thus far. Though we could have carried mains'l through the night, Chris raised it to triple-reefed as the sun came up. As the afternoon carried on, winds freshened a bit and Shawn, feeling better now, chose to bring the main down for a mellower ride. Our current calculations put us reaching our waypoint just off Fanning on Saturday. We will try to be there around day break as it is important to time it well to make the entrance through the pass to the atoll at slack tide. To do this, we need to continue moving, but not at breakneck speeds, as we don't want to get there to early near unknown land in dark hours.

There has been a constant barrage of flying fish throughout this passage. Very frequently we get to watch huge schools of them performing their synchronized swim-flying. Hundreds of silvery forms, in groups of all approximately the same size, glide from wave to wave as a multitude of birds circle above. We found a quite large one on deck yesterday and wished that Griz were here to enjoy it. We are missing Grizzly immensely, but are happy to know that she is instead enjoying a palatial non-moving house with her Gramum in Ithaca. We have several pictures of her hung around the boat (including one of her on her kitty shelf hung on the kitty shelf itself) that are helping us to feel like she's here. And though we miss her snuggly love, we do not miss cleaning her litter box while underway. Enjoyable thus far, this passage has felt both quick yet each day long. Through our individual ups and downs, current focus is shifting to prepare for upcoming landfall.

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