Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pacific Ocean Passage Day 5 - Wonderful!

It continues to be mainly warm and sunny. The sky is blue with a few puffy clouds and the sea is a gorgeous sapphire blue. It was a grey, cloud covered morning yesterday, but the breeze was still warm and pockets of blue sky peeked out between the clouds.

We haven't seen much sea life, although three days ago a few dolphins swam along with us for about an hour before sunset. The first couple of days we saw some birds, but nothing again until this afternoon when a solitary gull circle the boat about five times. The nearest islands are about 580 nautical miles and Baja is about 670 nautical miles away so it has some way to go. A small flying fish landed on the deck a few days ago and a larger one startled Malcolm during his night watch when it flew into the cockpit!

It took a few days to adjust to the new sleep patterns, so the first few days were spent relaxing as we sailed merrily along. We split daylight into two shifts. Malcolm is on watch from 6 am until noon during which time I sleep the first couple of hours. I am on watch from noon until 6 pm and Malcolm watches the sunset from 6-9 pm. I am on watch from 9-midnight, Malcolm has midnight to 3 am and I was seeing the sunrise on my 3-6 am watch but the further West we sail the later the sunrise. So far this schedule has worked for us.

Our days are slowly starting to follow a typical pattern. Yesterday, I woke about 9 am, we had breakfast, and did a few little projects. Then at noon, Malcolm took a nap while I read and practiced French. Then we had lunch, followed by reviewing the weather, and discussing our route based on projected wind speeds and directions depicted on the weather information we receive via our Iridium Go satellite connection. Then we enjoyed the afternoon.

The other day we set up a shampoo station in the sunshine in the cockpit. Yes, Aveda rosemary and mint shampoo lathers well in salt water and rinses clean in fresh water. Thanks to the Commodore of the Bluewater Cruising Assoc for the shampoo. What a treat!

We haven't tried our hand at fishing yet. Whatever we catch out here will be big so it will be a lot of work to bring it aboard, kill, clean and fillet... Also, the freezer is still full and we don't want to waste a big fish. We hear of other sailors' fishing successes during the daily Pacific Puddle Jump radio network. Our friends from Kelowna, BC, Dave and Rose on Aussie Rules, caught a 7' Marlin!

We are sailing faster than we anticipated and are pleased with the mileage we are covering so far. Our average speed is 6.4 knots per hour with a maximum speed of 10 knots during a gust or surfing down a small swell. In the last five days we have sailed 755 nautical miles. Only about 2035 more to go! Initially we sailed WSW, to stay north of an area of low wind, and had steady winds on the beam. Today, after four days, we gybed (turned)! We are now heading SW and the wind is on the aft quarter. After another 800 nautical miles or so we will turn again and point directly for the Marquesas. Hopefully we can avoid too much time in the ITCZ, also known as the doldrums.

We've been sending daily position reports to YOTREPS, which are used for the map on the blog. There can be able bit of delay getting that updated. Our current position, as of 22:45 UTC (Greenwich Mean Time) on March 26, is: 19°01N 121°17W.
Dina and Malcolm