Light and Variable is How it Starts

June 19, 2018

Day 171/1

Noon Position: 23 26N 158 42W

Course/Speed: N5

Wind: S8

Bar: 1016, steady

Sea: N2 (chop)

Sky: Overcast/Squalls and drizzle

Cabin Temperature: 84

Water Temperature: 80

Sail: Asymmetrical Spinnaker and main, running dead downwind

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 121

Miles this leg: 121

Avg. Miles this leg: 121

Miles since departure: 25,525

The haul home has started with motoring overnight in winds NE to W at 2 – 4 knots. Not a very romantic beginning nor very hopeful.

At 5am I came on deck to find Mo had trapped a visitor in the cockpit well, a Tropic Bird. My initial attempts to help him back into the air were greeted with a sharp beak jab to the hand. Ouch. A towel thrown over him did no better. The bird would shake it off before I could attack. Finally I used Monte’s air vane as a ramp. Obligingly the bird climbed aboard; I lifted him up and off he took. Not even a squawk of thanks. Left me with the usual gratuity: poop.

With daybreak came wind enough dispense with the engine, but it has clocked the compass throughout the day, NE to S to W and back to NE as I type. I’ve cycled through every sail, except the storm jib, and by now am tuckered out by the constant change and by my second day job…debris hunter.

Early in the day, we passed through slicks whose surfaces were covered in a yellow dust. I’ve presumed this to be volcanic in origin, but have no idea specifically. Later in the day saw a suspended goo in the first two or three feet of the water column. Miles of it. Something between scum and snot. I retrieved a net full and a close inspection didn’t narrow the range. It was slimy and yellow or clear and not much else. It had no scent. I declined to taste it. Sorry. I take my job seriously, but I do have my limits.

We’ve also seen plastics on the order of a specimen every 20 minutes or so. Usually sightings are bunched together. Usually the item is small (postage stamp to post card sized) is white and unrecognizable. Once I saw a small water strainer, a bleach-type bottle and what appeared to be a table leg, all within yards of each other.

Late in the afternoon, I retrieved a barnacle encrusted fish float with two crabs calling it home. None to pleased to see me they were. I took some photos and gave it back to the sea.

Now wind is in the high teens from the ENE and Mo makes a handy 7.5 knots close reaching to the NNE. But who knows how long it will last. Squall clouds ahead.

Rain off an on. Cabin is closed up and hot as a sauna.

2 Comments on “Light and Variable is How it Starts

  1. I thanks the side of the plastic in the walter would break my heart. Didn’t see that in my sea days. Wonder how close to the wind Mo will sail? How many degrees between port and starboard close haul tacks?

  2. That was supposed to read “I think the sight of…”. had my Hawaiian keyboard on- not that I can speak Hawaiian mind you!
    by the way, the bird was a beauty – was it a petrel? tern?

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