At the Top of the High

May 19, 2019

Day 226

Noon Position: 32 04N  61 57W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NWxN 2.5

Wind(t/tws): W 4

Sea(t/ft): NW 3, a steep chop

Sky: Clear

10ths Cloud Cover: 0

Bar(mb): 1024+

Cabin Temp(f): 88

Water Temp(f): 73

Relative Humidity(%): 48

Sail: #1 genoa and main, close reaching on starboard.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 99

Miles since departure: 30,205

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

Leg North Miles: 7,277

Leg North Days: 60

Avg. Miles/Day: 121

I let Mo ghost along the remainder of daylight hours and then motored all night to the NNW. There was still a slight breeze at sundown, but even before the horizon lost all color, the water went smooth. In the dark of night and under a full moon, it was like undulating grease.

At dusk, a Great Shearwater trailed Mo, swooping in close to the transom and then landing feet and head first. She’d keep her head underwater for some time searching the turbulence of Mo’s wake for prey, then bob on the water till almost out of sight. Then in she’d come again for another try. This lasted until she could no longer see. I never saw a catch.

A light wind from the west came up before dawn, a clear indication that we’d made it to the top of the High, and by 10am, I’d turned off the engine. However, this wind was accompanied by a chop from the north. The result is that our speed most of the day has been two knots. Mo just can’t get up a head of steam–spends most of her time going up and down rather than forward.

When I began preparing what was to be the first cooked dinner aboard Mo in many weeks, I found the propane tank to be empty. I left San Francisco with four twenty-pound (barbecue style) tanks and have now used two. The first lasted one hundred and sixteen days and the second, one hundred and eight. I did a fair bit of baking on tank two but have cooked no dinners since the cabin warmed up, which may account for the usage numbers being so close.

We’re seeing more plastic now. A few large items and even some “micro” plastics are visible in the calms. Early in the morning we passed an upside-down running shoe. This brought back macabre memories of the fields of plastic we passed in Murre in 2012 while headed north out of Hawaii. This was a year after the tsunami that hit the eastern coast of Japan. Then, it was said, the shoes you saw in the water had feet in them when they left the shore.

Don’t get the wrong impression from the photos. Plastic items are still widely dispersed and are far less numerous than a) sargassum weed or b) jellies, which are everywhere.

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