Sailing upon the Big Blue Marble


Sept 12
Hanalei Bay to San Francisco
Day 2

Noon PST position: 27.05.77N by 159.30.04W
Miles since last noon: 133
Total miles of passage: 302
Avg. Miles per Day: 151
Course: NNE to NW
Sail: Close hauled on starboard; all working sail; then added large genoa just before noon.
Speed: 5 – 7
Wind: ENE to 20; then NE10+
Sky: Mostly clear; rare, small cumulus
Waves: E1, NE4, then long slow NW6
Bar: 1014
Air Temperature: 85 degrees
Sea Temperature: 78 degrees

If it weren’t for the writing of this log, I’d still be sitting on the weather rail behind the main sheet winch admiring the day.

Soft, warm wind at my back, Mo’s gentle gallop over waves like low hills rolling down from the northwest; the sound from the bow much like that of a pulsing waterfall. And then, the view. Mo and her bright yellow decks gliding effortlessly over a big blue marble, undulating glass under a pale blue sky.

Maybe Talavera is right; maybe “the Western Ocean is infinite and unnavigable.” But if infinity is made up of days like this, it is almost a thing to be wished for.

I say effortlessly where Mo is concerned, but not her crew. For me it’s been a day of sail changes and sail tweaks and trying to claw as much northing as possible into our increasingly north wind. That there is barely any sea running helps.

For two days I’ve been working slowly east in hopes of catching up to the tale end of a low that may just be grazing 35N by 155W later in the week. But I’ve been lazy at night. As winds have eased and shifted in the wee hours, I’ve chosen to sleep rather than tune the violin, which is what orchestrating sail, rudder and wind vane on even the smallest upwind coarse changes can feel like. Let groggy head sleep; who gives a fig about five miles of westing?

But I give a fig, once awake. Two nights of laziness and one day of a northing wind means Mo and I are now west of Hanalei. I’d not usually care except that as far out as the GRIBS can see, between 30 and 35N and west of 160W is a glob of still air which I suspect will be the end of our joy and the beginning of trouble. If the passage to Hawaii is a sleigh ride, this trip home is an uphill slog. If I could just catch up to that low.

I’m not eating much yet and am certainly not cooking. Too hot. Yesterday’s intake included a carrot and a banana and a nutrition shake for breakfast. Lunch was an avocado and bread with peanut butter and jam; dinner, a can of lentils, eaten from the can, and two beers for desert. Much the same so far today.

This will change soon, however. The bread has betrayed me by going moldy with surprising quickness, even when kept in absolute dark. I bought two loaves less than 10 days ago and am already tossing half of each slice overboard. Avocados and bananas are all going ripe at once, which is their want. They’ll be gone within two days. Then it’s on to the more hardy bell peppers and zucchini, the apples and oranges, and then the hardier still canned and dry foods.

We’ve left the boobies behind and are back to the zone of tropic birds and arctic terns, of which two pair each today. The younger, drab colored tern dove (unsuccessfully) on the lure I’ve been trailing astern since departure. Adult birds always give the lure a look, but only the juveniles are fooled enough to go in. So far the hook has caught no flyers (ever may it be so); sadly, it’s also caught no swimmers since the scrawny, no-eyed Wahoo. I suspect that it’s not fooling anyone; refusing to drag any way but upside down, it looks like a super-speedy flying fish, long dead.


Leave a Reply