Saturday, March 22, 2008

Off like a herd of turtles!

Its 2 in the morning on a Saturday night, four days out and I am on watch. We are loping along between 4 and 5 knots with a fairly steady breeze off our starboard quarter under all canvas. The rising moon is full and glistens on the ocean leaving a path of silver behind us.
After a rather boisterous first night out with huge seas and strong winds throwing us off the coast of Mexico, followed by a full day of complete calm where only the occasional ripple appeared on the surface of the water as a zephyr of wind passed over. We drifted like this for the entire day, having decided to save the fuel for when we might really need it. A red footed booby spent the day preening on the life ring and a beautiful shimmering blue Dorado circled us as if to report back to Neptune
who was passing this way!
We are gradually settling into the rhythm of life at sea. The watch schedule has been set so we both know when we are on duty and when we can grab that precious sleep. The log is maintained on the even hours. Regular contact is made through various maritime radio nets and with our friends on 'Tarun' who are about 90 nm west of us on the same heading. Routine chores are carried out.
The infamous HAM radio guru Don Anderson of 'Summer Passage' out of Oxnard, CA tells us we will find the stronger NE trade winds once we reach 112 degrees of longitude, about 240 nm west of our current location. We shall see!
1538 nm till the first waypoint at 8 degrees N and 128 degrees W. This is the recommended course en route to the Marquesas. Make westing as much as possible N of the equator using the NE trades and then drop due S where the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone or doldrums should be narrower, then take a bearing direct to the Marquesas.
It is a beautiful clear night sky with the Southern Cross visible above the horizon off the port beam.

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