September 20, 2019
Days at Sea: 289
Days Since Departure: 355
Noon Position: 54 54N 166 48W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SxE 7
Wind(t/tws): NW 15
Sea(t/ft): NW 2
Sky/10ths Cover: Squalls and cumulus, rain in the squalls, 8
Bar(mb): 1007, steady
On-deck Temp(f): 56
Cabin Temp(f): 65
Water Temp(f): 49
Relative Humidity(%): 61
Magnetic Variation: 8.7
Sail: Main and big genoa out full. Broad reaching.
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 150
Miles since departure: 36,787
First, the sky is squally. Before and after the squalls, cottony cumulus fail to obscure a backdrop of pale blue. In the squalls all is dark and gray and the wind freshens and there is a heavy rain.
Squalls we had in the Arctic, but they were rare, cold and arid; their cloud was snow white and diffuse, without obvious border. If they rained at all it was a dry-mouthed rain and their hail was vanishingly light.
These squalls now are torrential, a downward facing river; these are squalls of the open ocean.
Second, we’ve returned to the world of the albatross. The fulmars we first encountered off Greenland are again with us. So too are the chocolate brown petrels so numerous in the southern ocean. But to my surprise, today we have seen several Moli.
You may not know that the name of my companion these last months is what the native Hawaiian calls the Laysan Albatross. This bird is endemic to the North Pacific; it roosts on the island of Kauai and has a range (I had forgotten) well up into the Bering.
I have seen two today, big birds, gray of back, long of wing, short of tail and with that grace of flight I shall now forever associate with the loop Mo and I made of that vast southern sea. There such birds were the common flier, often around the boat in number.
So, two open ocean sightings–squalls and albatross. Thus this day I mark as our return to my home waters of the Pacific–this though I can see the heave of the Aleutians coming out of cloud to the south.