Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dark Days

Imagine this. You have been at sea for 22 days and the last week has been full of constant rain, irregular weak wind coming from all directions, your clothes are wet, your bed is damp and you have to sit outside for 12 hours a day on watch only to see more black clouds on their way. Welcome to Ustupu north of the equator. We have been experiencing really miserable squally weather and when it's so wet and swelly outside, the only options we have are to sit outside in the rain on hard wet fiberglass or lay in bed with wrinkly skin. We have tried to make the best of it, but it has gotten to us and our moods are reflecting the weather: we are grumpy and seemingly depressed for the first time in our lives!

Squalls are generated by the action of unstable air which then displaces large amounts of cold air downward and can result in heavy rain, strong winds and lightening. Luckily for us, the only thing the big grey monsters have been dishing out is rain and the strong wind. Squalls look like massive grey clouds that seem to have an uncanny ability to hit you when you are just starting to dry out.
Luckily for us, the weather seems to be improving and the wind is becoming steady. We are 375 miles way from Hilo and we really hope to arrive Thursday or Friday morning. After a shower, a bento box and a shaky walk on land, these wet miserable days will seem like a distant memory.

Monday, October 15, 2012

After 2 weeks at sea...

So we have been out here for 2 weeks. Time flies and doesn't fly by at the same time. It's a different world out here.

We are experiencing our 3rd day with minimal winds and are drifting at a speed of about 2 miles an hour. That's not very fast. At this rate, we'll have no cookies left by the time we arrive in Hawaii. That would be a real nautical disaster! One good thing about the very mild conditions is that we are catching up on our sleep and the swells are small so the motion of the ocean is pretty relaxing. On the other hand, it is hard to see our extremely slow progress and the lack of wind is turning the boat into an inferno. It is so hot we are constantly throwing buckets of salt water over our heads to cool off.

We have been having the big sailing debate: should we just turn on the engine and motor closer to Hawaii until the wind picks up or should we keep waiting for the wind while slowly drifting aimlessly in the Pacific. So far, we have decided to stick to our guns and wait for the wind. One of the things we have right now is a lot of time and we would much rather arrive in Hawaii having used the power of the wind than the power of dirty stinky diesel. We shall see whether another few days of sweating out socks off will change our minds...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday the 12, October, 2012

Day 14:

We have passed the half way point of our passage as well as the equator.  For the equatorial crossing we drank French Champagne and had a 3 course meal (borscht, cheese/salmon/spinach stuffed pasta shells and chocolate mousse) compliments of Sylvie, the chef.  Getting to the half way point in a passage is much like taking a long dump; you have somehow convinced yourself that you're done, but then you realize there's still a long way to go.  Sylvie says this is the most poetic statement I've ever made.

Today I caught a dorado. Catching fish on board is generally the most exciting part of our days.  Here's what happens: we're both lying in the cockpit lazily reading, snoozing, or having some variation of a previous conversation when you hear a loud bzzzzzzz of the fishing reel and look up to see a half bent fishing rod.  I grab the rod and start frantically barking orders to Sylvie "get the gaff, no the net, where did you go? gaff it, gaff it!  And then there's a flapping fish on our deck and Sylvie disappears to avoid the death and blood that ensues.  I bonk it to death over the head and stab it in the brains, gut it and then behead it.  By the time it gets to Sylvie it's just two beautiful fillets of fish.  Sylvie then prepares dishes like fish burgers, fish risotto, fried fish, seafood chowder, cheviche and sometimes sushi.  I love fishing and Sylvie loves eating fish but sometimes we both wish we could skip the in between part.

The wind has died today and it's very hot.  My elbow is itchy and there are some new interesting spots on it, maybe it will rain.

Dan, Sylvie & Ustupu

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Get that bag of peanuts!

We are on our way to the Northern Hemisphere! We left Tahiti 3 days ago sporting our baguette spare tires around the mid riff and already remembering French Polynesia as a dream. We are slowly gaining our sea legs, but the going is rough. We have become accustomed to the serene island life and with it, a very slow lazy pace.

The wind has been strong and steady which is great, but the waves- oh the waves! The sea it hitting us from all directions and constantly flooding the cockpit after slapping us in the face. I literally had to dive for a bag of peanuts that was floating away as the sea was exiting. Paprika flavored peanuts- I love those! Luckily, we haven't lost anything yet, and all the peanuts are dry and accounted for.

The good news: we have already gone 300 miles. The other news: we have 2,200 to go.