A Night and a Day in the Doldrums

Day 17 (I said 18 in today’s video log. I’m losing count.)
Noon Position: 8 56.53N 122 31.87W 

Course/Speed: S 2

Wind: ESE 5

Sail: Main and big genoa out

Bar: 1017

Sea: SE, long and low rollers

Sky: Sunny, open, thunderheads to windward

Cabin Temp: 86

Water Temp: 83 
Miles last 24-hours: 115

Miles since departure: 2096

Variable wind makes for a busy night, and our steady wind went variable after midnight. 

I sat with Monte in the wee hours, taking the tiller when he dozed, which is his want in winds under 4 knots. Then I too gave up. I dropped the slatting main, left the big genoa flying, handed all back to Monte to do what he could, and hit the sack at 4am. 

At 8am I came on deck to find the big genoa had pricked some wind from the NE and Monte had us on course at 3 knots and 6 miles to the good. THAT is a first. 

At 2am, I found a storm petrel had flown in through the open main mast hatch above my bunk. Pinned, spread eagle, to the forepeak bulkhead like a crucifix. Returned, open palm, to the night. 

Daylight showed us on course for some towering squall cells. By 10:30 were flat becalmed and by noon were under a most lovely, drenching downpour. Everyone got a bath, not a shower. I found the font! It’s the aft end of the cradle cover, which catches rain by gallons and can be turned on like a spigot.

In the afternoon, laundry. 

Then, flying out of a thunderhead, a snowy egret (or similar). It circled Mo thrice and took off for the south. That makes two land birds we’ve seen this leg, the other being some sort of swallow. How, when Panama is over 2000 miles to the east? It is common for land birds to become lost at sea. But to have traveled such distance–and to be lost still!

I too am of the land and must admit today to feeling far, far away–and at the same time, still approaching the very cusp of the beginning of this enterprise. The doldrums are the first gate, but once opened deliver us only to the SE trades, which we will ride for a month, and only then will begin the true challenge of the Figure 8.

Dinner: a fry up of zucchini, bell peppers, canned salmon over mashed potatoes. Breakfast: coffee, two danishes (too hot for else). Lunch: Crackers and cheese and a bell pepper spread. In the afternoon, a cookie with black coffee. 

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