Last evening we entered a broken line of rain squalls at whose border winds increased abruptly from 10 to 20 knots. Once inside the squalls, the sky stayed low and the wind strong. I doubted it would last—these were only squalls, after all–and so held onto our big sails, only relenting just before dark, exchanging them for a reefed #2 and a single reef in the main. On these Mo charged into the night.
At 8pm, I went off watch and to my bunk and the wind stayed steady. Overnight the sky became fast moving cumulus under an ivory moon whose light sparkled cream on a greasy sea. Winds decreased as the cloud dispersed but only slightly, and by dawn we still had 15 knots on a racing sea.
The day slowly killed our winds. By noon, 9 knots from the NNE. It is evening. Again we motor.
Only in hindsight did it occur that our line of squalls was a weak front. Would that we had another now.
You will notice from the tracker that we are motoring into a High. You may be forgiven the thought that a sailor who points his vessel at a High should not be surprised by a diminishing wind. Yes, yes of course. But sailors are optimists and for them there is always hope.
Or, more reasonably. I am pointing us through this blob of calm and aiming us for a southerly current of air to the NW two days hence. Why not follow the current we were in to the SW, you ask? Zoom out a few days and see where it goes. A slow track to another windless region. Why not keep a course that swoops down near Kauai? Because there is High pressure down there too and many more miles of slow days. High pressure is breading like rabbits this year.
My course will take us to good wind in two days. The course does have a whopping flaw, however. We are too far east of Homer and are in serious jeopardy of ending up in Ketchikan.
Two tropic birds, then three together. Then we passed closely to a tropic bird seated on the water, so close I could count feathers, could see into its dark eyes as it looked straight into mine. It never flushed, watching as we passed as one might watch unmovingly an elephant passing through his living room. At such times I have wished to stop and have a conversation with my avian friend; I have yet to find the sea bird that shares these sentiments .
Later, a school of Dorado investigated Monte’s water paddle, a giant silver lure without a hook, what a find! Later still, while watching the ocean pass from the bow, I spied our first halobates skipping on the water top. Halobates, or Ocean Striders, are the only known ocean insect. Sadly, they are far too small for a photo from the deck.