Noon Position: 29 56S 154 27W
Bar: 1024, steady
Sky: Alternating between puffy cumulus and squall clouds
Cabin Temperature: 75
Water Temperature: 71
Sail: Working jib and main, full, close hauled
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 128
Miles this leg: 3,077
Avg. Miles this leg: 123
Miles since departure: 20,321
You have to love blue to be a sailor, and I must admit an inexplicable, unreasonable irresistible adoration for the ocean colors in the middle latitudes. Depending on the day and the angle of the sun, the surface we pass through, this seemingly infinite plane, will radiate, even vibrate with the deepest indigos and sapphires. Those colors, considered precious and rare on land, are the entirety of what is out here. They move and shade with the rolling of the sea and their very intensity suggests depth and vastness. All this below an azure sky.
We crossed into the 20s of south latitude at noon and are approaching the tropics, which will be entered at 23 26 south and continue until 23 26 north. In this area, called the Torrid Zone, the sun is directly overhead at least once per year.
In order to ensure we are ready for the eventual entry into this zone, our locality is making tropical overtures. For one, the temperature began the day and has ended the day above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It is difficult to understand such warmth given where we’ve just come from.
And we are back in the domain of the flying fish, an animal we have not seen since November of last year. I found a small fry in the scuppers this morning. Christened Lazy Eye just before he was gifted to the sea, this fryer was not nearly as clever as his expression in the photo suggests, due mainly to his being dead at the time. Almost immediately thereafter I spotted a flying fish hunter, a Tropic Bird, circling Mo’s mast. These birds are so called because their range is roughly 30N to 30S.
This is also the first windy day during which I have not seen a single southern Albatross.
And finally, in preparation for warmer climes, I removed the stainless steel dorade vent covers. Everyone agrees it is high time we have some fresh air below.
All afternoon, Gray Noddies played around the boat. They are thought of as a “sedentary” bird; they don’t range far from home. And sure enough, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, where they roost, are approaching, are now fewer than 500 miles north.
Wind has been fickle, cycling between 15 and 8 knots and between east and northeast. Mo is close hauled and doing her best to push north at a respectable pace. I spent the morning fine tuning sails, but there is only so much speed one can get from such wind in a three foot chop.
Still, northing is being made, so we are all happy aboard.