Back to Grayish

Day 139/17

Noon Position: 38 12S 166 30W

Course/Speed: NE7

Wind: SSW 20-25

Bar: 1024, steady

Sea: SW6, lumpy, but fun to watch

Sky: Cloud, squally, some rain

Cabin Temperature: 67

Water Temperature: 64

Sail: working jib, two reefs; main, two reefs, broad reach

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 150

Miles this leg: 2,198

Avg. Miles this leg: 129

Miles since departure: 19,441

“Monte, doesn’t the wild god of the world know that we are sick of gray skies?” I ask.

“He does,” says Monte. “I have told him for you.”

“And what does he say for himself? Cloud we have today in abundance. And now the seat cushions are all wet.”

“He says nothing. The wild gods, they do not talk to sailors, even ancient ones like me.”

“Then what do you suggest?”

“Senior, you must recall that without a little trouble your adventure is but a holiday.”

Cloud to one side–cloud that came in squalls at midnight, covering the stars and blowing its rain into the open pilot house, soaking the seat cushions as the skipper slept–yes, that cloud to one side, the wind it brought has been excellent. All day it has been blowing 20 – 25 from the southwest and now the south. And Mo punches right along with double reefs, shouldering her way through a frothing and ebullient sea.

In the morning I played with sail trim. In a bit, out a bit. Up and then reef. We’re sailing fast, a good steady seven knots; ten when we surf. But how much faster can we go without pulling a muscle? Finally satisfied, I spent the afternoon like a cat, gazing out the window and napping.

The birds now are brown petrels, swooping just beyond Mo’s transom. I’ve not been able to work up a better identification than “brown petrel” because the bird presents no other distinctive features. It is lithe, petite, long of wing, a soaring bird with small head and small beak–like most–but above all, it is brown.

Albatrosses: only two today. One an old and tatty black browed and one an immature wanderer. Prions: one.

You may have noticed that I’ve put a bit of east in our course. This is because we are entering the territory of a roaming high pressure system (read, no wind), a system we have to go through our around in order to reach the SE trades. Current forecasts suggest that right above us a wind hole is developing but that if Mo and I can skinny east a bit, we might just sneak around its margins. We shall see. Calms love nothing better than company, which is why we are sailing ever so quietly.

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