Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pacific Ocean Passage Day 11 - Still enjoying it!

We would like to say we are halfway, but we are not always sailing a straight line. We are often sailing more westerly to avoid small areas of little or no wind that are south of us. Soon we will be aiming straight for the Marquesas - either Nuka Hiva or Hiva Oa, we haven't decided which island yet.

It has been much warmer. It is usually 27-28° during the day and 26° at night. We have had a few grey days with rain clouds all around. There has been lightening in the distance, so we have scrambled to put our satellite connection, the Iridium Go, the phone, tablet, and handheld GPS and VHF in the oven - our own Faraday Box - to protect them in case of a lightening strike. We have gone through a couple of rain squalls, but no storms or lightening. During one downpour, Malcolm sat in the cockpit and washed his hair using the water pouring off the bimini.

We have had wonderful downwind sailing. Until yesterday, our average speed was almost 7 knots per hour. Our maximum recorded speed has been a surprising 14 knots! We must have surfed down a swell. Most days we have sailed about 160 nautical miles. However, we did have a "slow" day yesterday. We have been looking forward to a slow day thinking we could take a swim (not at the same time), put on the new genoa sheets we have been carrying around for months (a year?), put up the hammock, etc. Unfortunately, although the wind was light yesterday, we were still sailing at 4-5 knots. That is too fast to swim off the boat. The headsail was fully in use so the new lines are still new and, with the wind behind us, the boom was swung way out so we couldn't attach the hammock to it. We are still waiting for a slow day.

The other night, the moon was out, I was watching the lightening off in the distance and looking at the phosphorescent in the water when I realised there were dolphins all around! Way out here! We have also seen birds occasionally, mainly brown and blue-footed boobies. One morning we found the two brown-footed boobies that had been flying around the boat the previous day. They were sitting on the solar panels! No wonder our electricity input dropped! We had the wind generator going and were surprised the birds had settled right next to it! One raised it's head to look at me and it's beak was hit by a blade of the generator. It merely shook it's head and looked away! They proceeded to fly around, fish and return to the solar panels throughout the day. At one point there were three hitching a ride. Then later... one came down on the back deck with a thud. It's head had met the wind generator blade. We think it's death was quick. We are not sure if it was an accident or if one of the
others pushed it... Malcolm gave it a burial at sea, washed the blood off the deck and scared the other two birds away.

A daily task is to collect the dead flying fish from around the deck. They come in all sizes, from 1/2" to 6" and have beautiful, large wings.

We are getting into the thick of the infamous Internet Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). It is a band of latitude we must cross from the NE trade winds to reach the SE trade winds. It is known for sudden and intense squalls with high winds and a deluge of rain, or no wind at all. We haven't motored yet and hopefully we can cross the ITCZ with minimal motoring.