Counting Down the Miles

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August 6
Cape Flattery to Kauai
Day 15

Noon PST position: 23.57.34N by 156.36.99W
Miles since last noon: 158
Total miles of passage: 2365 / 190 to Kauai
Avg. Miles per Day: 158
Course: SW
Speed: 6 and 7 knots
Wind: ENE 15 to 20
Sky: Tropical Cumulus in afternoon; next morning numerous squalls
Waves: ENE 5-7
Bar: 1014
Air Temperature: 81 degrees
Sea Temperature: 78 degrees

A fast afternoon yesterday as the sky cleared and the wind settled in at 20 plus from its usual ENE. Hour after hour we ticked off 7 nautical miles toward the goal.

As I’ve now come to expect, a planetary-sized wall of cloud approached as the sun set, and by dark we were in pea soup again. I reduced sail by half when I began my sleep cycle at 11pm in anticipation of variable winds and squally weather overnight.

Instead wind eased to sub 15 and stayed pretty consistent; by 2am we were back to just a small tuck in the twins and around 6 knots of boat speed.

This morning, however, has been tiring.

Low-Formerly-Known-As-Howard continues his slow approach, and so unsettled, wet, variable-wind weather becomes more and more dominant. Today’s episode included squall after squall in rapid succession; literally, five minutes of fast wind from the NE as the squall arrived, 15 minutes of zero viz, rain and light winds as it passed over followed by 15 minutes of an open sky and winds plus 20 knots. Rinse and repeat.

All this kept me in the cockpit trimming sail from first light until the sun rose high enough to burn off the small-fry squalls and even out the day; i.e. about noon. Now we’re getting a big squall every hour or two.

I had wanted one more 160 mile day before we end this passage, but the squalls won and I’ll have to settle for a solid 158.

This puts us at 190 miles to Hanalie Bay, and likely an evening approach tomorrow. I’ve given up on a “cruise ship” arrival–views of the Na Pali Coast at sunset, etc.; unsettled, wet weather is due to peak as we get close, but I would like to get in before dark. As all this Howard nonsense meets the land, it’s sure to kick up something unexpected, which I’d like to be able to see.

Eight flying fish dead on deck this morning. Could someone please send a memo to the International Council of Flying Fish saying that the big black hulk that looks like an upside down Killer Whale enroute Hawaii is *only dangerous if you run away.*

New birds: Sooty Terns, a three-some headed NE (dark above, light below, swallow tail, swooping, off-the-water flight) and then what I think were two all-dark juveniles who played at mast top for a few minutes. Then there’s a brown-above-and-light-below petrel I’ve not been able to identify. He drifts at wave-top, moving about softly, privately, and with none of that demonic power and rocket speed of the Gadfly.

One Tropic Bird today. Quite miffed was he that I’d tossed the unfortunate flying fish overboard.

No Boobies yet. No Noddies. No Layson’s Albatross. No Blackfooted Albatross for a week. Where is everybody?

Aha, just now a squall with enough rain that I stripped down and got a cooling soak. Nearly a proper shower.

Now to post this and begin thinking about dinner.

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First light saw the ragged cloud at the top of this post and ten minutes later, a clearer view like this. The rest of the day has been that variable and wet.


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Surprising how much time a solo sailor running before the wind spends looking backwards. Looking at the windvane (his vital crewmember) to see how he’s doing. Looking at the approaching sky to see if there’s anything to worry about. Why look forward? That’s where you’ve already been.


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No time to cook lunch today. Eat Ravs cold from the can. This is my quick/comfort food. Never had them hot. Are they tasty that way?


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Glasses: what people wear who are committed to never seeing the world clearly again.


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