South Pacific – Day #12
4.6.18 @ 1700 Zulu Day #12 Latitude: 10°43 N Longitude: 124° 13 W Covered Distance Last 24 Hours: 152 NM!!! Distance to the Marquesas: 1504 NM Distance from Punta de Mita, Mexico: 1379 NM Weather: 100% Cloud Cover Winds: NNE 22 Knots Sea State: NNE 6’ – 8’ Barometer: 1014.5 Crew’s Mood: Sore but happy!
Boat bites! You can always tell a serious cruiser as they typically walk around with the evidence of boat bites in the form of bruises, cuts and even on occasion, broken bones. For example, two days ago I awoke and made my way to the cockpit . I just sit down and start to settle in when Dan says, “I wasn’t going to tell you but the spinnaker pole came down and hit me on the head.”
“What? Are you bleeding?” I demand to know.
He calmly responds, “Yes, a little, but it’s nothing.”
Fortunately It turns out that it’s not a large cut, maybe an inch or so, but it isn’t a surface scratch either. No, no stitches will be required but we must tend to it. It’s a shame too, I’ve been wanting to practice my suture technique on something more than a pig leg. LOL
After a brief stint with the onboard medic, me, we ascend to the lido deck to continue our morning. Of course I won’t rest until I discuss the, “I wasn’t going to tell you” comment. You see, out here in the middle of the ocean it is critical that we communicate these types of details. If I don’t know he’s hurt, that could be a big problem. As I begin to chastise him he tells me, “It was just a fleeting thought. I just didn’t want you to fret none and the way I saw it, by not waking you up I got two and a half hours of peace.” Being the sweet southern gal I am, I am going to save you from the words I used to reply to that comment. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure “fleeting” thoughts such as this will be nonexistent in the future.
This evening I received my own boat bite in the galley preparing dinner. I’m pouring a cup of lemonade for Dan when a large swell hits at the wrong angle throwing me across the galley and into the solid wood companionway stairs. I hit my right butt cheek squarely on the sciatic nerve as hot dog buns are flying like space debris and lemonade, in slow motion, is splashing from the sink to my face to the floor. A chorus of expletives involuntarily exits my mouth like I’m some rapper from the hood. Dan flies to the top of the stairs to find me and the galley in total disarray. Oh yes, this will leave a mark.
Since we departed on this journey twelve days ago we’ve both received our share of boat bites. Dazzler is beautiful and we love her but you have to watch her. She’s got teeth that will get ya if you’re not paying attention and honestly, even if you are!
Other than a few minor injuries it’s been picture perfect over the past two days. Flying fish are everywhere so we drop two hand lines in the water with the hopes of catching a tasty treat. BBQ pork sandwiches and Mac & Cheese were on last night’s menu but we would have gladly substituted some grilled Wahoo, Tuna or Dorado. Unfortunately it was not to be. Today it’s been a bit too rough for fishing. Well not so much for fishing but for the catching and cleaning that would ensue if we hooked something. Using an ultra sharp filet knife when the boat is dancing on 6+ foot swells at 6 – 7 knots is just a large boat bite waiting to happen so we err on the side of caution as Dazzler is not going to run out of good food anytime soon.
Yes, it appears the trade winds are upon and with this comes a whole new way of sailing. We’re in 13 – 20 knot winds and the swells are reaching upwards of eight to ten feet. It sounds worse than it is as they are long rollers so you just kind of drift up and down on them. Once you get used to the rhythm it’s a piece of cake, unless, of course, you’re in the galley.
Today we were making excellent time with an average speed of 5.9 knots reaching upwards of 7.5 knots for short periods of time. We’ve had to try out some new sail configurations to stay on course. We flew the spinnaker across the bow yesterday which worked very well until the winds picked up later in the day. So, we did our usual nightly routine using the jib and the main in a wing on wing configuration which is what we’ve kept up today and tonight. It’s allowing us to stay on the downwind course we need to maintain.
Tonight as I stand watch we are literally flying through the sea with an average speed of 6.7 knots! The giant rollers are pushing us along and I see us hit almost 9 knots as we surf down the back side of them. Yes, we are definitely on our way now. We are getting much closer to the ITCZ and expect to enter it within the next two to three days. We’ve been studying the weather and it looks like somewhere around 8° N 126-127° W is the ideal spot to drop in. It is the narrowest spot with the fewest storms..at least at the moment. Hitting the ITCZ at the right spot can be critical as it can determine the total distance we travel in the area, the number of storms we endure and where we make landfall in French Polynesia. One sailor on SV Intrepid didn’t get South quick enough and was forced to forgo Hiva Oa and will be making landfall further north in Nuka Hiva on Saturday. He’s lucky he didn’t miss the Marquesas all together. That would be very disappointing for us so we are being extra cautious to hit this just right.
I’m ready to get through the ITCZ. The thought of storms and the doldrums is not pleasant. We are prepared to motor for a few days if need be so as to get through quickly and efficiently. I’m just ready to have that part of this journey on the back side.
But for tonight I’m focusing on the moment. The winds are 13 – 15 knots. The sails are full, we’re making great time and the phosphorescence is literally lighting up the sea as Dazzler makes her majestic plunges into the trough of the giant swells. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend four hours in the middle of the night.
Hold it. Stop everything! I’m sitting here writing this article in the dark with the only light being the glow of my iPad and the phosphorescence on the ocean when I hear a loud smack in the cockpit. “What the hell is that?” I grab the headlamp and start looking around when all of the sudden…”Good God in heaven! That stench! Where is that lil bastard? It’s a flying fish. It has to be. Where the hell is it?” This sends me off on a fish hunt.
It’s not on the starboard deck or aft or on the port. I can’t see it in the cockpit but I can smell that oily, nasty creature. “Oh please tell me it didn’t land down below.” I spend about five minutes searching before I resign myself to the fact that it probably flipped off the deck. I sit down but only for a moment. The stench is still too strong. It has to be here somewhere so I start tearing apart the cockpit and finally I hear it flopping below me. “There you are you lil SOB! It’s time for you to go. Oh but wait…I must get your photo for our followers first.” After all, a gal’s got to have her priorities straight. How many of my landlubber friends have ever seen one of these close up? If only I could capture the stink so you’d have the full experience.
Okay, photo taken, fish overboard and I’m back to finish up here. This was definitely a first for me. Just thanking our Lord in heaven that thing didn’t smack me in the face or something. I surely don’t want to be on deck in the middle of the night trying to de-stink myself. Well as Dan would remind me… “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen out here.”
Stay safe out there and remember a boat’s bite is far worse than her bark!
Until next time…
P.S. Here’s a little extra info requested by one of our followers… As of 0222 local time…Air Temp 82.5°, Sea Temp 85.1°, Course 208°T, Current Speed is 7.1 Knots…and now you have the rest of the story, Jim!